Close this search box.

MSP vs. VAR — Why More Businesses Are Choosing the Peace of Mind of MSP Partnerships 

In the alphabet soup of acronyms surrounding the IT industry, two abbreviations — MSP and VAR — are turning up with greater frequency in C-suite discussions surrounding infrastructure management.

Both offer benefits that can improve IT operations, but the two approaches diverge widely in how those services are provided. In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between the two strategies and why businesses are increasingly choosing the MSP route for IT services and support.

MSPs vs. VARs — The Basics

MSP stands for managed service provider and refers to IT providers who offer management of various aspects of IT systems for business customers. The arrangement can cover a host of IT job functions and systems, such as network and infrastructure management, cloud services, cybersecurity, data storage, disaster recovery, and monitoring.

VAR, meanwhile, refers to a value-added reseller, which is a business that creates integrations, products, and features to enhance existing products or services for resale to end-users. The VAR is not the manufacturer of the equipment, but rather serves as an intermediary between manufacturers and equipment customers. VARs are expected to have a thorough knowledge of the product to properly customize, install and test it for the customer, but often their involvement ends there.

The Biggest Difference? MSPs Offer Comprehensive, Ongoing Services & Support

MSPs provide a holistic suite of IT services and support on a continuous basis rather than the more project-based approach of VARs. This comprehensive approach to overseeing infrastructure management, network security, and other services is designed to ensure uninterrupted operations of IT systems and is usually provided on a long-term basis.

Another crucial advantage of MSPs is their proactive approach to management of IT infrastructure. Rather than adopting a reactive stance by addressing issues only after they arise, MSPs prioritize preventive measures to identify potential issues before they escalate. This approach mitigates downtime and ensures seamless operations.

On the flip side, VARs primarily focus on providing hardware and software solutions. They offer customized product recommendations tailored to a company’s needs, but do not typically provide continuous management or support services.

Benefits of the MSP Model

Stronger security, flexibility, and operational efficiency are among the many benefits that make MSPs attractive. Some of these include:

Cost Efficiency. Enterprises of all sizes can leverage the power of cloud computing and other IT services through their MSP without the need to make huge capital investments to purchase their own equipment. In addition, businesses can benefit from various MSP pricing models, including the popular OpEx model — in which customers pay a fixed, recurring (usually monthly) cost for cloud hosting, storage, and other services.

Extending the Internal IT Team. With MSPs, enterprises can leverage the skills and expertise of IT professionals for short- or long-term assistance. This frees up internal teams to focus on strategic objectives and new initiatives to advance business growth and innovation. It also gives businesses access to a team of highly skilled IT professionals without the overhead of hiring and training additional full-time staff.

Enhanced Cybersecurity. The threat of ransomware and other cyberattacks looms large,  making cybersecurity a major business concern. Cyberattacks can prove to be extremely expensive, even business-ending. In fact, in 2023, the average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million, a 15% increase over 3 years, according to IBM. Consequently, most companies want to have the highest level of security possible — a capability known to be offered by quality MSPs. As an essential piece of their business model, MSPs tend to invest heavily in higher-level security systems and staffing levels to keep their customers safe.

Scalability. An MSP’s ability to easily expand a company’s IT services keeps organizations agile and makes accommodating growth easier and faster. Instead of the time and expense to purchase more hardware and train more team members, businesses partnering with MSPs can scale up quickly and only pay for what they use. This flexible approach enables businesses to stay competitive in the continually evolving business landscape.

LightEdge — the MSP for All Organizations

Another factor plays an important role in the growing use of MSPs: peace of mind. A theme heard among IT professionals today is the confidence that comes from having a top-notch MSP partner that provides comprehensive, ongoing IT service and solutions. Business leaders don’t want to worry about downtime, data loss, or disrupted operations, but instead want the security of knowing a highly skilled, deeply experienced MSP is ensuring their mission-critical infrastructure is always protected, available, and performing optimally. 

LightEdge is such an MSP. As a leading provider of secure cloud and colocation for nearly three decades, LightEdge has the IT chops and extensive experience to meet all their customers’ IT infrastructure needs. From hybrid and multi-cloud services, network monitoring, and cybersecurity solutions to industry-leading compliance certifications, disaster-recovery-as-a service, and redundant, multi-layered data backup, LightEdge can handle the full spectrum of IT infrastructure needs.

In addition, LightEdge is a growing, thriving innovator that recently expanded its services through a major acquisition. In April, the company completed its acquisition of Connectria, one of the world’s largest cloud hosting and managed service providers for IBM Power Systems and an AWS Premier Tier partner. The combined company now owns and operates 18 data centers across 12 U.S. markets, managing critical business data for more than 1,700 customers.

If you’d like to learn more about how LightEdge’s MSP services can help drive your business forward, please call us at 1.877.771.3343 or contact us here.  


Share Article