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How To Choose the Right IT Managed Service Provider for Your Business

April 12, 2017 Sarah Challis Articles

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Are you struggling to keep up with changing IT needs in your business? Do you need unbiased advice to implement new technology and keep up with the evolving digital landscape? Or perhaps you’re facing strict compliance regulations?

You’re not alone.

Many businesses, including financial services, law practices, and manufacturing firms are now turning to managed service providers (MSPs) to deal with their IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, and data management. With digital transformation on the agenda for many, there often comes a realization that current systems are inflexible, have minimal scalability, and high management costs.

This is where an MSP can help. MSPs are IT consultants, facilitators and implementers of IT services all rolled into one. An MSP will help your business to operate more efficiently and ensure operational continuity at all times. In addition, you get access to remote support, security monitoring, and data management.

 

What’s the real reason you are searching for an MSP?

Let’s take a quick step back and consider the real reason you might be looking for an MSP. Often, the first question you ask yourself is, should I hire dedicated IT staff or outsource? Although internal staff are vital to keeping the organization running on a day-to-day basis, it can often be difficult for them to step back from operations and take an external view to consider new technology, optimize business workflows with technology advances, or create strategies to improve competitive advantage.

An outsourced MSP will enable your resources to focus on the core aspects of your business and give you the strategic guidance needed to plan and implement new projects, while providing a backup for when there are staffing or organization changes.

The advantages of working with an MSP are:

  • Flexibility - An MSP gives you the freedom and scalability to adapt to changing business conditions and your environment
  • Innovation - MSPs keep up-to-date on the latest technological innovations and can guide you during extensive technological changes
  • Access to specialist expertise and skills - MSPs specialize in infrastructure and applications; therefore, you can use this expertise when needed. It may not be required all the time, just in certain circumstances, such as during an office move
  • Cost reduction - Economies of scale means that most MSPs can access better discounts than you would be able to achieve in-house. Because overheads are shared across clients, real cost-savings can be achieved
  • Reduced risk and less down-time - Part of the MSPs job is to minimize downtime and your Service Level Agreement will address this. You can rest assured that issues are dealt with promptly, therefore minimizing the risk for lost productivity.

9 questions to consider when choosing the best MSP partner for your company

Choosing the right MSP is not a simple task; many factors should be considered, and the process can be time-consuming and exhaustive, with many different companies and various support models to choose from. We’ve compiled a list of the 9 top questions you should consider when evaluating an MSP.

1. Do they ask the right questions?

Do they take the time to understand your business? In particular, your strategy, goals, and objectives? You should feel as though the MSP is taking the time to grasp your business in detail and recommend the best IT plan going forward.

2. Do they have the right skills and expertise?

You should expect the MSP to be experts in their field, not only in the operational aspects, but also in more sophisticated skills, such as change management, cross-platform integration, and cybersecurity. The MSP should also be able to offer staff-specialized skill sets and explain how best practices are communicated internally.

3. Are they focused on customer service?

One of the key areas you need to consider is the level of service that an MSP provides. You will be working with this MSP for a number of years, so it’s important to know that, should problems arise, they will be there to deal with them promptly and with minimum hassle. Is there a team of specialists that can answer questions in a timely manner? Overall, is the MSP customer-service focused?

4. Do they understand your industry?

The right MSP for you will know your industry and the technology that can be used to improve productivity, operations, and workflow to help you become more competitive as an organization. They will also know about new regulations and the requirements you need to adhere to in order to be compliant.

5. Do they stay on top of vendors?

Ask the MSP about how they deal with hardware, software and Internet suppliers, especially when there are issues. They should be able to give you examples of problems that have been resolved, such as compatibility or internet outages.

6. What do their clients say?

It’s important to know that the MSP has a good reputation. They should be able to provide customer reviews or case studies that demonstrate happy clients and repeat business.

7. Do they offer a guarantee?

Even if an MSP says they provide excellent service at a great rate, how do they guarantee that you will be happy with the service? A guarantee for the work reduces your risk and provides you with a safety net.

8. Are they up-to-date on the latest technology?

The reason that MSPs can offer you superior services at competitive prices is that they have leveraged their investment in new technology and spent the time training staff. It’s important to ask about these practices and ongoing training so you know that the company can keep up with your changing demands.

9. Do they have the right security certificates and systems in place?

Ask for certifications that meet the industry standards and attest that you comply with industry standards. Ask about best practice measures when it comes to security, and verify that tried and tested systems are in place.

Get The MSP Checklist now to identify the best partner for your company

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