How to Choose the Right MSP?

Nowadays, most companies manage IT services by hiring external providers. These hardware and software experts can perform various tasks for your business, ranging from cybersecurity to system management. By partnering up with MSPs, you can avoid overspending, get customized solutions, and reduce micromanagement.

Although everyone understands that MSPs are a great way to increase efficiency and save money, finding the right provider is much harder than you might think. Not only should you find adaptable veterans who can perform various tasks for your business, but you also need to make sure they understand your industry.

Because of that, we’ve decided to help you by listing the 10 most important factors you need to consider when hiring a managed services provider. By going through this list, you can find a perfect partner for your IT needs.

1.    Determine What You Need

One of the main reasons why companies are dissatisfied with their MSPs is because they didn’t create a good action plan from the get-go. As every business has its unique IT needs, you need to define requirements before looking for a partner.

A good way to start is by analyzing your software, hardware, and other system you’re using. Detect the biggest challenges for your business and shortlist service providers who can tackle these challenges. You also need to think about the direction you’re heading in and how an MSP can help you get there. Lastly, consider all regulatory restrictions that might affect IT processes.

2.    Go Through Their Portfolio

Like with any other outsourcing, you need to make sure that a provider has enough experience to tackle the task. Keep in mind that most companies provide an umbrella of services, but they probably don’t have the same expertise in performing all these tasks. Because of that, you need to assess the external company’s general workflow as well as approach to individual tasks.

Ask them to give you a list of all their previous customers and start calling them one by one. For example, if you need cloud solution services, ask a client if the provider helped them with this task and what kind of results they’ve got.  

3.    Assess Provider’s Experience

Besides analyzing track records, you also need to learn more about their past experiences. In IT, things tend to go awry more often than not, which is why you need a partner who can quickly adjust to any newfound situation.

First off, you need to see if they have any industry experience, as this will help them meet your unique demands. You also need to see how many years they’ve been in the business. MSPs that have been around for a while tend to have well-established workflow and contingency plans. Lastly, you can learn a lot about the company based on past clients’ profiles.

4.    Inquire About Scalability

It is a common practice for clients to start slow, hire an MSP for one or two services, and scale from there. If you’re looking to work on a higher level or slowly increase your demands over time, make sure to find an IT company that has the staff and other resources to accommodate your needs.

5.    Learn About Response Times

If you wish to work with an IT company, the first thing you need to learn is how quickly this provider can address issues. Waiting for a few days for an MSP to assess security threats and react to them is a recipe for disaster and the last thing you need. Besides response times, you should also analyze their resolution times.

6.    Analyze Their Security Practices

Cybersecurity might be the most commonly outsourced service and companies’ biggest cause for concern. That being said, there’s a good chance that you’re also looking for these services.

When hiring providers, look for MSPs that utilize robust, comprehensive security measures. Among others, they need to have a workflow that includes an intrusion detection system, data encryption against hackers, and vulnerability assessments.

7.    Analyze Contract Terms

Nowadays, many MSPs use contracts to legally seal the deal with their clients. Your task is to go through these contracts with your lawyer and figure out everything it entails. You should specifically focus on MSP’s obligations and liabilities. After that, you also need to examine the pricing structure and how much work you get for that money.

Among other things, these contracts also specify response time, list performance metrics that are tracked, and provide uptime guarantees. Like with any other contract, you need to think of termination clauses and penalties you’ll incur if you break up the partnership.

8.    Disaster Recovery Plans

A big part of managed services is disaster recovery plans. With these plans, providers ensure your company’s operations can continue onward as if nothing happened despite any catastrophe that might’ve befallen your IT systems.

Disaster recovery plans have to be comprehensive and encompass various eventualities. A provider needs to implement measures for off-site data storage, testing and training, data backup, and redundancy. That way, they can react quickly and efficiently to any disaster that might’ve affected their clients.

9.    Analyze Reviews

Most MSP providers don’t get that many Google reviews. These brands usually work with a limited number of clients, which is why it’s sometimes hard to uncover what people think of them. Nevertheless, you need to perform due diligence before engaging them in negotiations.

Besides checking Google reviews, you should also go through all major IT directories. Pay attention to all comments, as they often have hidden gems that will provide better insights into the company’s performance.  

10.                    Customer Support

You need an MSP that is responsive, disciplined, and detailed. They need to provide regular reports, helping you track their progress and scheduled tasks. A good MSP will also have around-the-click customer support or at least a person responsible for all your inquiries.

Even if you’re in different time zones, they should have someone to pick up the phone no matter when you’re calling. Ideally, you should have a direct line of communication with their management.

By following these tricks, you will find an ideal MSP for your business. Most importantly, give yourself some time interviewing these companies and checking their backgrounds so you don’t miss out on some great offers.