Due to the significant advantages that MSPs offer, more than 60% of businesses are expected to be dependent on managed service providers by 2025.
Outsourcing your IT services to a managed service provider (MSP) can increase your business’ efficiency, reduce your technology-related risks, and enhance your business adaptability.
However, it can be difficult to figure out how to choose a managed service provider for the first time. Let’s take a look at the best ways to ensure your business ends up choosing the right MSP for you.
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MSPs offer a wide range of services. Every MSP has different benefits to offer and distinct areas of expertise.
When looking for an MSP to manage your IT, every business owner should make sure they keep their eyes open for key factors that indicate the MSP is the right choice for their specific business.
An Outline of Managed Services Selection Criteria
Business owners should base their managed services vendor selection criteria on certain points.
They should consider the MSP’s:
- Experience in their specific field of business
- Services included in their package
- Number of years of operation
- Reviews from previous and current clients
- Level of transparency
- Efficiency in communication
Now that we have an idea of what selection criteria should be considered, let’s dive further into the specific factors that need to be examined when choosing an MSP.
5 Factors to Consider When Looking at How to Choose a Managed Services Provider
Let’s take a look at 5 essential factors to consider when looking for an IT MSP for your business.
1. Relevant Experience and Services
The first and most important fact that needs to be taken into serious consideration, is whether the MSP has relevant experience.
Alongside this, they also need to offer the relevant services. For instance, if you run a business that carries sensitive information of your clients, you will need an MSP that has the right cyber security experience, tools and know-how to offer the highest quality threat detection, security posture, and data protection against cyber threats.
2. Contract Terms
Aside from making sure the MSP has the services and experience your small business needs, business owners also have to ascertain that they clearly read and approve the contract terms.
Vital matters such as whether the MSP offers customized services, network support, proper security operations or both remote and onsite assistance need to be written out clearly in the contract. Whether the contract is offered annually or month-to-month also has to be considered based on what is best for your business expenses.
3. Service Style and Billing Arrangement: Break-Fix Model VS Contracted
If the MSP is transparent with its costs, is another important factor to consider. Do they offer a traditional break-fix model and charge by the hour? Or do they offer the more popular contracted support — and offer a flat fee?
It is vital to keep in mind that a break-fix model of service and billing will end up being more expensive than a contracted regular support system that offers a flat fee.
4. Response Time
Communication is key to establishing a healthy and long-term relationship with an MSP.
If they are quick at responding and clearly explain their services at the beginning, it is likely the MSP will prioritize efficient communication after the contract is signed as well. Keeping this in mind, their incident response time should also be noted so business owners know what to expect when an error occurs with their IT infrastructure.
5. Client Reviews
Business owners should read the reviews posted about the MSP to get an idea of their track record and better understand the quality of the IT outsourcing services the MSP provides.
By keeping these factors in mind, business owners can enhance their chances of hiring the right MSP.
MSP Qualifying Questions
US companies spend over $92 billion annually on training new employees alone. To avoid the heavy costs of hiring and training new IT employees, hiring an MSP offers a more affordable and long-term solution.
However, business owners need to make sure they ask the right questions at the beginning of the MSP hiring process. This will help save time and also help avoid misunderstandings in the long run.
There are certain questions you should ask when choosing an MSSP to ensure your business receives the best managed services available.
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Questions to Ask During MSP Discovery
When business owners first start on their mission to find a good MSSP, they need to ask some basic starter questions to the managed service provider.
Questions to ask an MSP during initial contact, or the discovery phase include:
- How long have you been offering IT MSP services?
- Have you worked with businesses in my niche before?
- Have you offered MSP services to businesses in my area before?
- What exact services do you offer?
- Do you outsource your staff members? If not, do you have enough staff members on board to handle our business needs?
- Will you be conducting a discovery scan of our network to better understand our business and offer more accurate service options?
If they pass your initial screening, you can move on to the more technical questions.
Technical Questions to Qualifying MSP
To ensure your business IT infrastructure is handed to the right managed security service, you will have to ask some technical questions once they pass the initial screening.
These technical questions should be asked to qualifying managed service providers:
- Do you offer co-management options, or are your services all-or-nothing?
- What exact cyber security measures do you use to protect data?
- What hardware and software do you use, and what do you recommend?
- Do you offer service level agreements (SLA) to provide a guarantee of our money?
- How many MSCEs, CCNAs, and CCIEs do you have?
- Do you have security certifications such as CISM or CISSP?
- Do you have VMware certifications?
Final Questions to Ask an IT MSP
There are several final questions to ask an MSP before you go forward with signing any contracts.
The final questions you should be asking an IT MSP include:
- Will our contract be annual or month-to-month?
- Are your services contracted or on a break-fix model?
- Will you only offer remote support, or onsite assistance as well?
- Do you offer network support?
- Do you offer help desk services?
- Are your support services 24/7?
How to Choose Managed Security Services that Meet Your Needs
To make sure your business benefits with an MSP or reliable security service provider MSSP, and sees a clear ROI in the process, you need to make sure you ask all the right questions at the beginning.
Not only do you need to screen the provider with the right questions, but you also need to make sure you consider important factors such as the level of relevant experience they have, their reviews, their response times, as well as their billing arrangements, and contract terms.
An IT MSP with relevant experience, good reviews, fast response times, and a flat-fee contracted billing and service model—as opposed to a break-fix model— will likely provide the most value to your business.
Connect with AT-NET Today for High-Quality Managed IT Services
If you’re looking for a managed service provider who understands the unique position of your business, AT-Net may be the right MSP for you.
At AT-NET we remove the implementation costs of transitioning to an MSP and integrate seamlessly into your company culture. We offer a proactive strategy using a variety of services — from data protection to cloud services — optimizing the efficiency of your business IT processes.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our IT MSP services and how they can enhance your business productivity by keeping your technology running efficiently.
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