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Service Providers: Glossary

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ASP ( application service provider ) - a company that offers individuals or enterprises access over the Internet to applications and related services that would otherwise have to be located in their own personal or enterprise computers. Sometimes referred to as "apps-on-tap," ASP services are expected to become an important alternative for smaller companies with low budgets for information technology and for larger companies as a form of outsourcing.

FSP ( full-service provider ) - an application service provider that offers a wide range of Web-based information technology services to other companies. These services include planning and creation of a Web presence, providing needed software applications, and hosting and maintaining the site. The FSP aims to consolidate and streamline a customer's Internet operations and to offer a single point of contact for an array of services.

BSP ( business service provider ) - a company that rents third-party software application packages to their customers. A BSP is similar to an application service provider (ASP) in that it provides a cost-effective way to procure applications via networks. A BSP differs from an ASP in that it tailors a software package to its customer's needs and offers back-office solutions by outsourcing most (if not all) business processes, such as payroll and bookkeeping.

MSP ( management service provider ) - a company that manages information technology services for other companies. For example, a company could hire an MSP to configure and administer its business computers and related systems on a continuing basis, saving the company the need to hire, train, and pay its own administrators.

SSP ( storage service provider ) - a company that provides computer storage space and related management to other companies. In addition to the storage itself, SSPs typically offer periodic backup and archiving and some offer the ability to consolidate data from multiple company locations so that all locations can share the data effectively. Customers may be billed a monthly rate and for each managed terabyte of storage.

VSP ( virtual storage portal ) - a software application with a Web browser interface that lets a customer see how much storage is being used, predict future needs, grant access to storage administrators, view performance, and otherwise manage the storage that they have rented from StorageNetworks.com.

ASPIC ( Application Service Provider Industry Consortium ) - a non-profit, international advocacy group comprised of some 700 companies in nearly 30 countries. The ASPIC was formed in May, 1999 to promote and help create an understanding of the application service provider (ASP) industry by sponsoring research, establishing guidelines to promote best practices, and conveying the benefits of the ASP computing model.

ISP ( Internet service provider ) - a company that provides individuals and other companies access to the Internet and other related services such as Web site building and virtual hosting. Among the largest national and regional ISPs are AT&T WorldNet, IBM Global Network, MCI, Netcom, UUNet, and PSINet.

NSP ( network service provider ) - a company that provides backbone services to an Internet service provider (ISP), the company that most Web users use for access to the Internet. Typically, an ISP connects at a point called an Internet Exchange (IX) to a regional ISP that in turn connects to an NSP backbone. In the U.S., major NSPs include MCI, Sprint, UUNET, AGIS, and BBN.

OSP ( online service provider ) - term used to distinguish Internet access providers that have their own online independent content, such as America Online (AOL), from Internet service providers (ISPs) that simply connect the user directly with the Internet.

WSP ( wireless service provider ) - a company that offers transmission services to users of wireless devices (handheld computers and telephones) through radio frequency (radio frequency) signals rather than through end-to-end wire communication. Generally, a WSP offers either cellular telephone telephone service, personal communication service (personal communications services) service, or both. The term also seems applicable to satellite television and Internet access providers.

WASP ( wireless application service provider ) - part of a growing industry sector resulting from the convergence of two trends: wireless communications and the outsourcing of services. A WASP performs the same service for wireless clients as a regular application service provider (ASP) does for wired clients: it provides Web-based access to applications and services that would otherwise have to be stored locally. The main difference with WASP is that it enables customers to access the service from a variety of wireless devices, such as the smartphone and the personal digital assistant (PDA).

This was last updated in June 2006

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