Comparing Managed Service Providers – Full Service versus Service Ready

Managed services and compliance as a service: Service SignOne component of selling Layered Tech’s managed services is dealing with the competitive comparison issue, as prospective clients attempt to determine which service provider is the best fit for their IT management needs. The need to compare Layered Tech to our competition is understandable, but the breadth of our available capabilities makes direct comparisons difficult.

The old and overused “Apples to Oranges” comes to mind, but only partially describes the situation. Layered Tech is most often compared to “hosting” companies because we have hosting capabilities, but to say we are simply a hosting company is grossly inaccurate. Layered Tech is a managed services company with hosting capabilities. We provide an entire IT service and security capability. Most competitors, while they claim to offer a total solution are actually providing “service ready” solutions where most of the service is delivered by the client.

Maybe a metaphor using the auto repair industry can help clarify our situation as it relates to comparison shopping.  Traditional hosting providers can be equated to a self-service auto shop where space, lifts, and tools are provided.  You can rent the shop by the hour and fix up your ride.  Layered Tech on the other hand, is a full service location with not only the space, but also expert mechanics ready to maintain and repair a wide range of issues.  The difference between the examples above is stark, but not readily apparent until further research reveals the true nature of the service being offered.

There are a small handful of managed security service providers that take on the specialized tasks for regulatory compliance, yet you will find many others claiming to do so. They all use the same language to describe what they provide, but many simply provide the tools in a “service ready” environment. Since most regulatory requirements include an audit or review component, any service provider that is not doing event review along with data collection will not meet the requirements. They will advertise a fully compliant service offering by assuming the client will spend the time necessary to cover the review they have failed to provide.  Just make sure you understand the gaps and how to fill them before your regulators tell you about them.

When Layered Tech states that a service we provide can meet a requirement, we mean that the service fully meets the requirement and that is demonstrated. The challenge is educating prospective clients on the difference when being compared to providers with less-developed ideas about services.

ed-welsh-75x75About the Author: As Director of Compliance and Security services, Ed Welsh maintains and guides a dedicated team in the delivery of Layered Tech’s compliance and audit services.  Ed’s 16 years in IT security includes network and web application security experience from positions in the Financial Industry, HRBlock, Fishnet Security, and independent contracting.  He holds a CISSP certification and has been successfully implementing PCI compliant hosting solutions for the last 5 years.

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