How to Choose a Managed Service Provider That’s Right for You
Partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) can give you the benefit of having full-time IT staff without incurring the huge expenses that come with hiring them. An MSP can also enrich your organization with a wealth of IT knowledge and expertise. However, it is important to partner with an MSP that understands and meets your business’s specific needs.
Picking the wrong MSP can lead to major trouble. You can get locked in a contract with a provider that makes your organization vulnerable to poor performance and even expose it to cyber-attacks, data breaches, and downtime.
You need to choose an MSP that safeguards your organization.
Factors to Consider When Looking for a Managed Service Provider
Bear the following in mind when hiring an MSP to ensure that you extract the maximum value from your partnership.
1. Customer References
An MSP’s reputation plays a pivotal role in providing the most apt real-world analysis of their ongoing performance. You can reach out to MSPs and ask them to provide customer references. It will help you to take an informed decision about whether their services are suitable for you.
As a business owner, you should especially look for reviews from customers with similar size, industry, and requirements as your business. These companies are more likely to be aligned with your situation.
2. Service and Response Times
The MSP you choose should be able to give you an upfront estimate of response times in any situation. This will help you get a good idea of the time it will take to fix potential issues which arise in future.
You should ask MSPs the following questions to find out their guaranteed response time:
- How long does it take for the MSP to respond to customer queries?
- How quickly does the MSP resolve IT issues?
- How long does the MSP take to provide onsite support?
Also, you should make sure that MSPs back their answers with facts and metrics.
The needs of a business change over time. The services you avail today may not necessarily be required after a couple of years. That is why it is imperative to choose an MSP that can provide you with the flexibility to tailor and scale services to the evolving needs of your company.
Further, you should align your business with an MSP with a proven ability to respond to changing market needs, conditions, and demands. The MSP should also be able incorporate the latest technologies to help you add value to your organization.
4. Third-Party Vendor Partnership
Your MSP should have the ability to independently handle technology vendors for your business. This will help you save the time spent on tracking down multiple vendors for service and support.
In short, your MSP should work with a range of IT vendors, and manage those relationships and communications on your behalf. This, in turn, will provide you with a single point of contact for all your IT-related enquiries and issues.
5. Disaster Recovery and Planning
Hiring an MSP with a proactive disaster recovery plan can mitigate data loss and disruption in your business operations.
A disaster recovery plan consists of a set of procedures documented to protect your business’s IT infrastructure from disruptions such as power outages, system failures, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and human errors. With its help, your MSP can help you recover data and reduce downtime through centralized back-up, data replication, and back-up monitoring.
6. Round-the-Clock Monitoring
A business’s computer network needs to be operational 24 hours a day. Therefore, when choosing an MSP, you must make sure they offer round-the-clock support and monitoring.
In other words, a good MSP should be monitoring your business’s systems and resolving any problems through 24-hour help desk and on-site technicians regardless of the time of the day.
7. Technical Expertise
The MSP chosen by you should have extensive technical knowledge and skills to manage your technology investments. You should closely analyze the MSP’s core competencies, qualifications, and experience in managing similar technology environments as yours. You should also find out their technical strengths and areas of weaknesses. It will help you determine if the MSP is a suitable fit for your business or not.
8. Business Values
Choosing an MSP that has similar business values as yours is also important. You need to ask prospective MSPs about their core organizational value, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, and environmental standards achieved. You must keep in mind that cultural compatibility goes a long way towards sustaining a mutually beneficial business relationship for years to come.
9. Regulatory Compliance
The MSP you choose should help your business maintain IT industry and government compliance such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. You can hire a local MSP to stay updated with state-specific regulations. For instance, if your business is based in Houston, you can leverage an IT Support Company in Houston and stay compliant with industry standards.
A reliable MSP will keep your business in sync with the latest compliances and assure you that you are working with a professional partner committed to providing you robust security and safety.
10. Secure IT Environment
The MSP should provide your business with robust overall security. A safe IT environment will ensure that your organization is protected from hackers, viruses, and malware trying to steal your sensitive information such as financial data, intellectual property details, trade secrets, and more.
The MSP you choose should be well-versed in taking critical security steps such as enforcing Multi-Factor Authentication, securing endpoints, and restricting network access to block data intrusions and eliminate them before they enter your business systems.
From increased efficiency and access to advanced technical skills to improved services and reduced technology-related risks, selecting the right MSP can provide you with a lot of benefits. In a nutshell, outsourcing managed IT services the right way can help your business save time and money, and eliminate the stress of maintaining business networks and devices. Following the above-mentioned tips can help you find and partner with the perfect MSP.