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how to choose a managed services provider

Your Guide to Navigating the MSP Landscape: How to Choose a Managed Services Provider

Businesses are increasingly reliant on technology but managing IT infrastructure is not everyone’s cup of tea. Sadly, those who don’t make IT management a priority could incur huge financial losses from network downtimes or data breaches. It’s clear that outsourcing makes sense, but knowing how to choose a managed services provider can be daunting.

First, though, let’s review what managed services are and why you need them for your business.

 

What Are Managed Services?

Simply put, managed services is the outsourcing of IT support, infrastructure management, cybersecurity and any other IT related services by a business to a trusted provider. It’s how more than 60% of businesses are expected to manage their growing technology tools by the year 2025.

These services are delivered by managed services providers (MSP).

 

Why Are Managed Services Important to Businesses?

“Businesses gain multiple benefits by leveraging the services and support of a managed service provider. From lowering maintenance costs, to finding the right technology solutions for their needs – and so much in between – businesses are doing, and achieving more, with outsourced IT support.” notes Karen Novotny, the CEO of California Computer Options, a leading managed services provider in Southern California “Through using a managed service provider we have found our business partners can get the services of a 5-6 person IT team for a portion of the cost of hiring a single IT person in house. This really enables them to focus on their core business while still getting the support a larger company has.”

Now, let’s explore how to choose the perfect MSP for your business.

 

6 Questions to Ask During Your MSP Discovery Phase

Finding the right MSP for your business requires careful consideration. Before narrowing down your options, be sure to understand exactly what you’re looking for in a managed services partner.

 

1. What is in Your Current Technology Stack? What Are You Missing?

It’s vital to fully understand your business operations, including its technology requirements. Assess your IT infrastructure to identify areas that could benefit from professional MSP assistance. This could include anything from IT support to cybersecurity measures, or perhaps improving your data backup and recovery process.

 

2. What Are Your Future Business Goals? Do You Plan to Scale?

Your business isn’t static – it’s going to grow and evolve. As such, your MSP must be able to adapt to your changing needs. Your chosen MSP should be ready to support your growth and tech adoption.

 

3. What Do You Need From an MSP Partner?

Your MSP needs are derived from your business and technology goals. With a clear understanding of what you need, you can look for MSPs that offer those specific services. Remember, your ideal MSP is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but a provider tailored to your unique needs.

 

4. What is Your Budget?

Consider your financial capacity. While MSP services can save you money in the long run, you must ensure the cost fits into your budget. Balance the cost of the service with the value it provides to your business.

 

5. Where Does Your IT Department Lack Skills?

It’s equally important to acknowledge your internal IT limitations. Identify areas where your in-house team lacks skills or resources. A good MSP will complement your existing IT team, providing expertise and support where you need it most.

 

6. How Strong is Your Security Posture?

In an age where cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, it’s crucial to understand your cybersecurity needs. Analyze your business’s vulnerability to attacks and identify areas that need reinforcement.

An ideal MSP should provide robust cybersecurity solutions and disaster recovery plans tailored to your business’s specific risk profile, helping to safeguard your valuable data and digital assets.

 

For tips on how to choose managed security services and how to safeguard your business, read our blog:

 

Managed Services Vendor Selection Criteria

Once you know what your IT needs are, you’re ready to narrow down your MSP selection process. Be sure to explore several providers and consider their expertise and service offerings in relation to your business and support needs.

For instance, if you’re a small business owner who doesn’t want the hassle of long-term, bloated contracts, look for vendors that have a la carte service offerings and risk-free trial periods.

 

MSP Qualifying Questions Checklist

When reviewing potential providers, use the following checklist to help you isolate qualified candidates that you’d like to speak with.

 

Vendor Expertise Does the MSP have experience in your specific industry?
Service Offerings Do they provide the specific services that your business needs?
Cybersecurity Solutions Does the MSP offer robust and tailored cyber security services?
Scalability Can they scale their services in line with your business growth? Can they support a remote work force?
Customer Service Reviews and References What do their previous customers say about their service?
Pricing Does the cost of their service fit within your budget?
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) Do they have clear SLAs that align with your expectations?
Compliance Do they comply with the relevant industry regulations?
Support Do they provide round-the-clock support and guaranteed response times?
Innovation Do they stay current with the latest technology trends?

 

Questions to Ask an MSP Candidate

To ensure you hire the right MSP for your business, ask your candidates the following questions:

  • What experience do you have with businesses in my industry?
  • How fast does your team resolve support tickets?
  • How will your team identify and stop potential cyber threats?
  • How much downtime is considered normal for your technicians?
  • Can you provide references from other clients?
  • What does your pricing structure look like?
  • Could you explain your Service Level Agreement?
  • How do you ensure your clients stay compliant with industry regulations?

 

Remember, the bottom line here is to find a provider that understands and caters to your specific business needs and goals. Ask further, more business specific and technical questions to qualify the MSP and ensure they understand your needs.

 

Ready for an MSP Provider That Can Handle All Your Questions? Talk to CCO.

 

Trusted Managed IT Services Near You

 

Don’t feel you need to navigate the MSP landscape alone. At CCO, we’re ready to answer your questions and tailor our services to fit your unique needs. Contact us today to take your business to new heights.