Glossary of Managed Service Provider Terms

April 9th, 2023
Glossary of Managed Service Provider Terms

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) play a crucial role in the IT industry, helping businesses maintain, monitor, and optimize their IT infrastructure. As a result, it is important to understand the key terms associated with managed services. In this glossary, we provide definitions for many if the most commonly used terms in the MSP realm, alphabetized to help you navigate this complex landscape.

Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)

A combination of data backup and disaster recovery solutions that work together to ensure an organization's critical data is protected and can be quickly restored in the event of a disaster.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

A policy that allows employees to use their personal devices, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets, for work purposes, including accessing company networks and data.

Cloud Computing

The delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet ("the cloud") to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.


The practice of protecting IT systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, theft, damage, or disruption.

Data Center

A facility used to house computer systems and related components, such as telecommunications and storage systems, providing redundant power, cooling, and network connectivity to ensure the continuous operation of IT services.


The process of converting data into a coded format to prevent unauthorized access during storage or transmission.

Endpoint Security

The practice of protecting individual devices, such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets, used to access an organization's network and resources.


A network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.

Help Desk

A centralized resource for providing technical support and assistance to end-users of IT products and services.

Incident Management

The process of identifying, analyzing, and resolving IT incidents to minimize their impact on business operations and restore normal service as quickly as possible.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

A cloud computing model that allows businesses to rent IT infrastructure, such as servers, storage, and networking components, from a service provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)

A set of best practices for IT service management that aims to align IT services with the needs of the business and provide a framework for continual improvement.

Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

A security system that monitors networks or systems for malicious activity or policy violations and sends alerts when such activities are detected.

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

A security system that not only detects malicious activities but also attempts to prevent them from causing harm by blocking or stopping the attack in real-time.

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

A company that remotely manages a client's IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems on a proactive basis, typically under a subscription model.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

A software solution used to manage, monitor, and secure employees' mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, that are used to access company data and networks.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

An authentication method that requires users to provide two or more independent pieces of evidence, such as a password and a one-time code, to verify their identity and gain access to a system, network, or application.

Network Operations Center (NOC)

A centralized location where IT professionals monitor, manage, and maintain the network infrastructure of an organization or service provider.

Patch Management

The process of updating software applications and systems with new versions, bug fixes, and security enhancements to ensure optimal performance and security.

Penetration Testing

A process in which cybersecurity professionals simulate real-world cyberattacks to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an organization's IT infrastructure, helping to strengthen its security posture.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

A cloud computing model that provides a platform for developers to build, deploy, and manage custom applications without the need to maintain the underlying infrastructure.

Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)

The process of remotely monitoring and managing IT systems, such as servers, workstations, and networks, using specialized software and tools.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A contract between a service provider and a customer that specifies the level of service, responsibilities, and expectations for both parties.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

A cloud computing model where software applications are provided over the Internet and accessed by users through a web browser, with the software and associated data being hosted and managed by the service provider.

Single Sign-On (SSO)

An authentication mechanism that allows users to access multiple applications or services with a single set of login credentials, simplifying the login process and reducing the number of passwords that users need to remember.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A secure, encrypted connection between two networks or between an individual user and a network, used to protect private web traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship.

Vulnerability Assessment

The process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing vulnerabilities in a system, network, or application to improve its overall security.

Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A specialized firewall designed to protect web applications from various attacks and security threats by filtering and monitoring HTTP and HTTPS traffic between a web application and the Internet.