Selecting the Best MSP for your Business
posted by Richard Delaney, CTO
September 15, 2020
Incorporating and supporting technology in today's business operations can be challenging, to say the least, given the complexity and continually evolving nature of IT. Many companies struggle to keep up — this is why many of them are turning to Managed IT Services providers (MSPs) to handle their IT support and tech needs.
An MSP is an IT company that is composed of professionals from various IT specialty fields. Together the MSP can deliver various IT services (e.g., cloud computing, cybersecurity, networking, backup, and Disaster Recovery) and proactively manage their clients' IT systems under a service subscription model.
Selecting the Best MSP
While there are many MSPs out there, not all of them are created equally and not all are equipped to meet your company’s unique needs. You can only achieve optimum IT support results by selecting the right MSP.
Keep in mind these criteria when choosing an MSP:
- Depth of Skills, Technical Expertise, and Experience – Any potential MSP candidate should have the skills and experience that go far beyond basic software installation, maintenance, and upgrades. Choose an MSP who has been in business for over ten years at the least, as you know that they have weathered a few storms and are still in place. Your potential MSP should also have the ability to supply several references from clients in your industry, have great reviews, and have strong expertise in advanced IT functions. It is essential for your MSP to be able to support common line of business applications such as QuickBooks Enterprise, Microsoft Office, and have technical mastery over Microsoft Office 365, VoIP, collaboration, cybersecurity, and cross-platform integrations so they can keep up with your company’s growth and dynamic IT requirements.
- Financial Stability – With IT being the backbone of your business operations, you need an IT partner who will be there for the long haul. Assess their stability by looking into their annual reports and financial statements. Check how many clients they have and their customer retention numbers. Also, ask the MSP to provide customer references and testimonials.
- Competitive Service Level Agreement (SLA) – An SLA is a contract that dictates the standards that your MSP should be able to meet. It should be able to answer these questions: Do they offer 24/7 support? Can they conduct remote and on-site support? What is their guaranteed response and resolution times? If they fail to meet their committed service levels, are there corresponding rebates or penalties.
- Popular Tech Partnerships – Pick an MSP with an ongoing endorsement from the popular technology vendors (e.g., Microsoft 365, Cisco, Meraki, SentinelOne, VMWare) whose products you already use in your IT environment. What type of partnership does the MSP have with those vendors? The higher the partnership level, the more vendor certifications the provider has, which means they can bring a lot of expertise to your business.
Choosing the MSP is an important process that will impact the operational success of your business. If you want to learn how MSPs can support your business, contact us today.