Understanding the Differences Between DSP and CSP in the IT Landscape

2 min read
06 October 2023

In today's digital age, the terms "Digital Service Provider" (DSP) and "Cloud Service Provider" (CSP) are often used interchangeably. However, while there are overlaps, they are distinct entities with unique offerings. This article sheds light on the differences between DSPs and CSPs, their roles, and their significance in the IT community.

What is a Digital Service Provider (DSP)?

A DSP is a company that offers a range of online services, which can encompass cloud services, hosting, software development, and more. The primary motivations for companies to collaborate with DSPs include:

  • Gaining a competitive edge through technology.
  • Boosting efficiency and productivity.
  • Enhancing the customer experience.

Types of Digital Services:

  • Cloud Computing Service: Defined as providing access to a scalable and elastic pool of shareable computing resources. This can be further categorized into:
    • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
    • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
    • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Online Marketplace: Websites where businesses or individuals can finalize sales or service agreements with other entities.
  • Online Search Engines: Digital platforms that allow users to perform search queries across all websites.
What is a Cloud Service Provider (CSP)?

A CSP is an IT entity that delivers on-demand, scalable computing resources over the Internet. These resources can range from computing power and data storage to specific applications. The primary models under which these services are offered include:

  • IaaS: Provides access to IT infrastructure components, eliminating the need for in-house resources.
  • PaaS: Offers tools and services to create and deploy applications, incorporating OS, middleware, and runtime environments.
  • SaaS: Delivers ready-to-use applications, with the CSP responsible for all aspects, from development to delivery.

Major Players in the CSP Market:

  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • IBM, Alibaba, Oracle, Red Hat, DigitalOcean, and Rackspace.
Key Differences Between DSP and CSP:
  • Scope: While CSPs specifically offer cloud-based services, DSPs have a broader range of digital services, including but not limited to cloud services.
  • Service Delivery: CSPs focus on delivering scalable computing resources over the Internet, whereas DSPs might also offer online marketplaces and search engines.
  • Regulation: The NIS Directive defines DSPs within a specific scope, limiting them to cloud services, online marketplaces, and search engines.
Benefits for Telcos:

Telecommunication companies can significantly benefit from transitioning into DSPs or CSPs. Telcos can enhance their Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) by offering more solutions. This is crucial given the traditionally low margins in the telecommunications industry.

Challenges and Considerations:

While there are numerous advantages to collaborating with a CSP, organizations must be wary of:

  • Complex contracts and SLAs.
  • Potential vendor lock-in.
  • Shared responsibility for security.
Choosing the Right Provider:

When selecting a CSP or DSP, organizations should consider factors like cost, digital capabilities, trust, openness of the ecosystem, and security practices.


While DSPs and CSPs both play pivotal roles in the IT landscape, understanding their distinct offerings and functionalities is crucial for businesses looking to leverage their services. As the digital transformation wave continues, the significance of both these entities is only set to grow.

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