A service provider (SP) is a company that provides organizations with consulting, legal, real estate, education, communications, storage, processing, and many other services. Although the term service provider can refer to organizational sub-units, it is more generally used to refer to third party or outsourced suppliers, including telecommunications service providers (TSPs), application service providers (ASPs), storage service providers (SSPs), and Internet service providers (ISPs). A more traditional term is service bureau (esp. 1960s to 1980s).
IT professionals sometimes differentiate between service providers by categorizing them as type I, II, or III. The three service types are recognized by the IT industry although specifically defined by ITIL and the US Telecommunications Act of 1996
- Type I: internal service provider
- Type II: shared service provider
- Type III: external service provider
Type III SPs provide IT services to external customers and subsequently can be referred to as external service providers (ESPs) which range from a full IT organization/service outsource via managed services or MSPs (managed service providers) to limited product feature delivery via ASPs (application service providers).
Types of service providers
- Application service provider (ASP)
- Network service provider (NSP)
- Internet service provider (ISP)
- Managed service provider (MSP)
- Storage service provider (SSP)
- Telecommunications service provider (TSP)
- SAML service provider
- Master managed service provider (MMSP)
- Managed Internet service provider (MISP)
- Online service provider
- Payment service provider (PSP)
- Stuart Rance and Ashley Hanna (30 May 2007). "Glossary of Terms, Definitions and Acronyms" (PDF). ITIL - IT Service Management. Office of Government Commerce. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- Staff (2011). "External Service Provider (ITILv3)". Knowledge Transfer. Knowledge Transfer. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- Barry J. (23 January 2012). "IT Policies - Policy on Use of External Services". The University of Chicago. The University of Chicago. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- Hall, Mark (7 February 2000). "Service Providers Give Users More IT Options". Computerworld: 40.
- "Mapping the xSP world". CIO: S8–S10. 15 September 2001.
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