How to Choose a Managed Services Provider

 

The message is clear: IT services can boost your small or mid-sized business, maximizing productivity, optimizing costs, and providing market intelligence. The tricky part is figuring out which managed services provider (MSP) is the best fit for your business.

Picking the right MSP is a common challenge. There are at least 40,000 MSPs out there, and that number continues to grow.. Picking out the right one can feel overwhelming and full of potential missteps.

Let’s be honest: out of those 40,000+, not all are the right fit for you. Some might not offer what you need, or their services might not quite fit with an SMB such as yours or address the specific tech challenges in your field.

“The right IT partner should feel like a natural extension of your team, they are always aligned with the business and even anticipating the future business needs,” says  Michael Kourkoulakos, CEO of NENS

So, finding the right MSP is crucial. It could be what keeps your doors open and your business thriving, or it could be a missed step with serious consequences.

 

Qualifying Questions to Ask During MSP Discovery

To simplify and speed up your search, we’ve put together a handy list of managed services vendor selection criteria and questions to help you figure out which IT support company is the right fit for your business.

Here’s a quick guide with some essential questions to ask potential MSPs:

  • Does the MSP provide comprehensive managed services?
  • Can the MSP handle the unique needs of your industry?
  • Is the MSP proactively updating its practices to tackle new security challenges?
  • Does the MSP efficiently and quickly fix IT problems when they arise?
  • Do they have the metrics to prove it?

Keep in mind, this list isn’t all-inclusive, but these are essential questions to ask an MSP. Now, let’s dive deeper and explore these criteria for choosing a managed services vendor in more detail.

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How to Choose a Managed Services Provider

Start With the Basics: Does the MSP Offer the Services You Need?

One of the key questions to ask an IT MSP is whether they offer the IT services you’re looking for. What this means is that the provider should take care of all your IT-related tasks, including:

  • Creating IT roadmaps and long-term strategic planning
  • Managing your network
  • Providing cybersecurity solutions and services
  • Offering cybersecurity training
  • Assisting with hardware procurement
  • Supporting cloud-based services
  • Monitoring your systems 24/7, detecting and mitigating threats
  • Provide quick and reliable service to end users
  • Offering Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) services
  • Developing disaster recovery plans and data backup services

Choosing a single provider for all your IT needs simplifies management, as you won’t need to deal with multiple vendors, bills, and points of contact.
 

 

Don’t Have Time to Read the Full Article? Here’s the Abridged Version

Selection Criteria Why It Matters Questions to Ask the MSP
Comprehensive Managed Services Ensures all IT-related tasks are handled efficiently, from network management to strategic planning. Do you offer a full range of IT services?
Industry-Specific Expertise The MSP understands and can navigate the unique challenges and regulations of your industry. Do you have experience working with businesses in my industry?
Quick and Efficient Problem-Solving Minimizes downtime and keeps your business running smoothly. What is your average response time to IT issues?
Customized Plans Gets you the IT support you need without overspending. Can you provide a customized IT support plan that fits my budget?
Proactive Security Measures Protects your business from the ever-increasing threats of cyber attacks. How do you stay updated on and defend against the latest cyber threats?
24/7 Support and Monitoring Ensures that help is available whenever you need it, and potential issues are caught before they escalate. Do you offer around-the-clock monitoring and support?

 

Then Dive Into the Specifics: Can the MSP Meet Your Industry’s Specific Demands?

Another vital factor to consider when selecting a managed services provider is their ability to cater to the unique requirements and demands of your specific industry.Do you want to spend time teaching your MSP what is important to your business?

For example, sectors like healthcare and finance have regulatory and stringent data protection rules that need to be adhered to.

Even if your industry doesn’t have particular IT requirements, it’s beneficial to choose a provider with previous experience in your field. This familiarity can smooth out the onboarding process and enable you to tap into their industry-specific knowledge to improve your operations, from selecting the right technology to streamlining work processes.

Make smarter IT decisions:

 

Essential Managed Services Selection Criteria: How Quickly Do They Resolve Issues?

It’s crucial for your MSP to offer quick response times to your IT issues since the speed of their response can turn a small hiccup into a significant disruption that affects productivity.

Look for an MSP that offers service level agreements (SLAs) or similar commitments, ensuring that your business always has access to top-notch support when needed.

Cost is also a factor when choosing a “right-fit” provider. More often than not, the lowest cost solution is not the “right-fit” solution. A mature MSP is consistently investing in their people, products, and services.

Imagine the negative effect an immature MSP would have on your business. They take longer to answer the phone and solve problems, or worse off don’t have a system of accountability and you are chasing them to solve your issues instead of serving the business. They also don’t invest in understanding your business, lack planning, and can even put your business at risk if they don’t stay ahead of evolving threats.

The opportunity costs are huge. The “right-fit” MSP will be able to tailor a support plan with different coverage levels that will suit your business.

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One More Thing When You’re Choosing an MSP…Do They Offer Managed Security Services?

Every day, we observe up to 2,200 cyber attacks, translating to one attack every 39 seconds—and this frequency is expected to continue growing. And gone are the days when only the largest organizations were targets for cybercriminals. The ease and efficiency with which attacks can be launched has meant SMBs are three times more likely to be attacked.

To effectively combat advanced threats, your IT security team must be equipped to:

  • Educate your employees on the best practices for cybersecurity
  • Detect and neutralize potential threats
  • Patch and secure any vulnerabilities in your network and infrastructure
  • Provide swift and expert incident response
  • Continuously monitor your network for any signs of compromise
  • Offer support around the clock

Choosing the right security services provider can mean the difference between remaining operational or shutting down after a cyber attack.

 

How to Choose a Managed Services Provider

 

Do We Meet All Your Managed Services Selection Criteria?

To make sure your business truly benefits from your IT investments, you need positive responses to all the technical questions for qualifying an MSP.

With our 30+ years of experience in the industry and a 98.5% CSAT score, we know how to deliver value. You will work with a qualified, seasoned IT team that helps businesses like yours thrive.

Reach out to us today, ask your questions and find out if we’re the right managed services partner for your business.

 

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