What to Look For in Managed Service Providers (MSP)

As small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) start to grow, so do their technology needs. The right managed services provider (MSP) can help your growing business with IT services while also saving you time and money. Managed services augment your existing IT staff and serve as a partner to ensure your network, servers and computers are secure and up to speed.

With the rapid changes in technology, it can be hard to know which MSP is best for your business needs. By asking the right questions, however, you can cut through the jargon and fluff.

Questions to Ask Your Potential MSP

You don’t work 24 hours a day, but your computer network needs to — and so does your MSP. When choosing any managed services offering, you must make sure your provider is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your business depends on it. Here are some questions to ask any company you’re considering:

  • What is your uptime goal? Every minute of downtime costs businesses an average of $5,600. Because of this, most MSPs include uptime goals in their service level agreements.

  • What security services do you offer? The Breach Level Index, a global database of public data breaches, estimates that over 13 billion data records have been stolen since 2013. You need an MSP that offers the latest top-tier security services, including monitoring, firewalls, email filtering, anti-malware software and more.

  • What’s your typical response time? During an outage or a cybersecurity event, every second counts. Your MSP must be able to quickly triage issues to avoid data loss and service interruption.

Qualities to Look For in the Right MSP

The IT environment is more complex now than ever before, encompassing a range of on-premise and cloud-based platforms. Between the increasing volume of data that must be stored, protected and backed up and the constant threat of security attacks, managed services have never been more critical. When hiring an MSP, look for these qualities:

  • Flexible service model

  • Shared approach

  • Advanced services

  • Round-the-clock support

  • Proactive maintenance

  • Remote monitoring

  • Backup and disaster recovery

  • Single point of contact for your account

Best-in-class MSPs understand that they’re not just supporting your technology, they are supporting your business.

How the Right MSP Can Help Your Bottom Line

When it comes to delivering IT services, highly qualified MSPs make extensive use of advanced technologies and have well-defined procedures in place. Their help desk and support operations are equipped with the latest monitoring and management tools, enabling them to handle most issues remotely.

They also follow industry best practices, document everything and have repeatable processes that ensure your environment is managed consistently. With the right MSP, you gain a team of well-qualified engineers.

When choosing an MSP, price is one of the last things you should consider. The right MSP isn’t just a technology provider but a strategic business partner. The cost is minimal compared to the benefits.