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How To Pick Your IT Managed Services Provider

If you’re a small business growing fast, chances are you need a strong IT support but can’t really afford to build a team in-house. That’s what Managed IT Service Providers are for.   

For a recurring fee (usually monthly), you get a dedicated team of experts to handle your IT issues, give you full-time support and secure your data.  

But how to pick the right MSP for your business?  

What does a managed IT service provider do?

The 5 qualities of a good MSP

  1. Technical expertise
  2. Availability & Adaptability
  3. Support & Communication
  4. Security & Strategic Planning
  5. Work Culture

Prepare your questions

 

What does a managed IT service provider do? 


A managed IT service provider (known as MSP) provides IT services to businesses that don’t have an in-house IT department 

So, while you and your team can focus on growing your business, your MSP can help with the following: 

  • Help Desk 
  • IT Support & Maintenance 
  • Data Security & Compliance 
  • User & Account Management 
  • Incident Management 
  • Governance 
  • Reporting 

Let’s dive into the 5 qualities you should be looking for in your future MSP. 

The 5 qualities of a good MSP 

1. Technical Expertise 

Of course, the first quality most organisations are looking for in an MSP is their technical expertise. However, this part can be quite overwhelming; after all, you’re looking to hire experts because you’re not, so how can you assess your MSP’s level of expertise? 

There are a certain number of qualifications/certifications you can and should expect from IT experts. Look for significant partnerships the provider may have, such as Microsoft, Google, Apple… all the big names you may be familiar to and software you might already be using in your business.  

2. Availability & Adaptability 

Technology never sleeps. While you log off at the end of a working day, your computer network never shuts off. So, what if an issue occurs while you’re soundly asleep? 

You should expect your MSP to be available at all times and be ready to jump in in case an issue arises. 

While availability is important, you should look for a provider that is also adaptable. They should be able to adapt to your business goals and be flexible as your business grows. This includes being proactive and adapt their offerings to the latest services and technology.  

3. Support & Communication 

This one is a no-brainer. When choosing your MSP, you’ll want to make sure that they’re able to provide ongoing support to you and your team. That means that they need to be reachable, whether it’s a dedicated email address or phone number.  

Consider these 3 things when it comes to IT support: 

  • On-Site technical support – should the hardware be the culprit and need assistance 
  • Cybersecurity support – you want to make sure your MSP protects your data 
  • Compliance support – there are a lot of regulations around IT, especially around data privacy. Compliance becomes even more complicated if you’re trading overseas (read about GDPR if you have European customers). Your MSP needs to be knowledgeable and knows best practices in order to save you from getting fines for non-compliance. 

Make sure to discuss this with your potential MSP when interviewing them. 

4. Security & Strategic Planning 

Some say that what can make or break an MSP is the reliability of their online backups and data recovery processes. You’ll want to confirm with them that in case of a data breach, they’re able to recover all your data and have the right processes in place to back up your data regularly.  

You should also have a conversation with your potential MSP about their disaster recovery planning. Should your business suffer from a natural disaster or a theft, your Managed Services Provider is here to make sure you’re prepared and covered.

5. Work Culture 

This last one may be subjective, but just like you wouldn’t hire an employee who doesn’t share your values, you should look for an MSP with a company culture that is similar to yours. 

 What principles and values are important for you and your business? What are the ones you absolutely want your business partners to share? And what are the ones you can be more flexible about? 

Prepare your questions 

We put together this list of questions to help you kick start the interview process in your quest for your future MSP.  

  • Do you have any references? 
  • Are your experts certified? 
  • Are you capable to adapt to a growing and scaling business? 
  • Do you provide support around the clock? 
  • In case of data breach, can you guarantee a total recovery of my data? 
  • What’s your billing structure? 
  • What are your business’ core values? 

 

Every business is different and have different goals, but this article should get you started in your search for your next Managed Services Provider. Having an MSP takes all the technology-related stress away and will allow you to focus on scaling your business. Outsourcing your IT management will eventually save you time and money and give you peace of mind that your computer network is in good hands.