How to Go Solution Shopping: Top 5 questions when reviewing an MSP

How to Go Solution Shopping: Top 5 questions when reviewing an MSP

Creating an ideal IT environment, one that simultaneously helps fulfill your core proposition and supports the growth of your business, cannot happen without solid planning.

The fact is, success in this arena isn’t easy, and it’s almost impossible to do alone. The reason: in-house IT teams often fall victim to a vicious cycle that requires spinning from one break-fix issue to another. In becoming laser-focused on such challenges at hand, strategy suffers, and big-picture opportunities are missed—or ignored completely. Such a scenario, while distressingly typical, is also completely understandable.

Now contrast this with engaging an experienced managed services provider (MSP). At its best, an MSP is a skilled multi-tasker capable of handling day-to-day IT tasks while developing and implementing strategies designed specifically for your long-term business success. In an arrangement that approaches a partnership, the right MSP takes the time to learn your business, become familiar with industry trends, and understand the issues facing your company. Thus equipped, it can create a service plan that can help your business achieve significant and sustainable growth.

To attain this ideal state—and to ensure that your choice of MSP is right—you need to ask the right questions. (Including some you ask of yourself.)

Consider the Top 5 questions when choosing an MSP:

  1. What services are important to me?
  2. We’ll take this first one.

    Beyond industry-specific solutions, you need to be safe. These days, at a minimum, you need cybersecurity essentials like antivirus protection, patch management and network infrastructure monitoring that ensures that your entire network—not just endpoint devices – is being managed and maintained. An MSP should be able to provide these services on an ongoing basis using centralized processes that grant visibility and control over your systems.

  3. What is my budget?
  4. This one’s on you, but we can offer some guidance.

    It’s best to select a plan where you pay for what you use—and nothing more. Along these lines, any MSP you’re considering should offer service plans that are flexible, scalable and affordable, and ready to turn on a dime anytime your needs change.

    A good MSP will customize a package that fits your requirements and will inform you from the outset of their various available levels of service or offer services a la carte. Regardless, the winning candidate should possess a wealth of comprehensive solutions that make “extra services” a non-issue.

  5. How are their services delivered?
  6. See for yourself.

    Cutting through the marketing hype and performing an on-site review of your potential providers can give you a better sense of a potential relationship. So, after the sales pitch, make it a point to visit the providers you’re considering. It’s good to get an idea of how their data centers work and what their network operations look like.

  7. Do they offer 24/7/365 support?
  8. You need this.

    To ensure that your needs will be met—without fail—verify candidates’ standard hours and whether or not they offer round-the-clock support for emergencies. In an apples-to-apples comparison, it’s important to keep in mind that many MSPs charge additional fees for after-hours support. (It’s also critical that they know how to manage the applications you use the most, especially those that are industry-specific.)

  9. What are the skills of the MSP’s staff?
  10. Specialized knowledge is a critical requirement. The MSP you select should have a team of technical experts with advanced skills in areas such as security, networking, virtualization, and advanced infrastructure. There should also be staff redundancy to eliminate over-reliance on one specialist.

The right MSP is out there. (In fact, we’re right here.)

A skilled, talented and proactive MSP like Charles IT offers best-practice solutions for enhanced workflow, security awareness, and software stability. (All that, and we can upgrade your hardware too.) If you want your business to run better, backed by a highly skilled team with a process-driven approach to managing your IT systems, call us today.

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