5 Tips for Choosing an IT Managed Service Provider

If you’re considering an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP), you’ve no doubt come across many options that promise you the best managed services on the market.  With all of the possibilities and IT jargon, it is easy to get lost while trying to find the solution that fits your business needs.  To make your search easier and more streamlined, here are some tips for choosing an IT Managed Service Provider.

 

Not sure what an MSP is? Learn more about Managed Service Providers by checking out our blog, What is a Managed Service Provider.

 

Doing the necessary research before you choose your MSP will help you make the right choice the first time and increase your overall satisfaction.  The tips below are topics to discuss internally before choosing an IT Managed Service Provider.

 

Does the Managed Service Provider…

 

  1. …have experience with your industry?

 

This is very important. A Managed Service Provider will be your end-to-end solutions provider, so if they lack knowledge and experience in the space you operate within everyday, there will be a disconnect between expected service and services provided. If your industry has certain requirements, like the legal industry with compliance, it is a must that you have an MSP that understands how important that is to your business.  They should consider your industry requirements during every project, upgrade and communication.

 

When choosing an MSP, ask them:

  • To send you references of customers in your industry
  • To send you bios/resumes on team members that have experience in your industry

 

 

  1. …have designated teams that can both maintain your current solutions and also propel you into future technology solutions?

 

A Managed Service Provider that has enough qualified staff to not only maintain your current structure but also keep you forward thinking is the only way to see your business grow from a technology standpoint.  It’s no secret that an outsourced IT solutions provider, such as an MSP, has more than one client at a time.  If they don’t have enough people on hand to manage your current IT needs, how will they help you grow?

 

When choosing an MSP, ask them:

  • How many full-time employees are there on staff?
  • Are those employees in-house or do they work remotely?

 

  1. …offer a payment method that works for you?

 

Managed Services fee structures vary from provider to provider.  The three most prevalent are alerting and monitoring only, pay per device, and pay per user.  With monitoring and alerting only, the provider either performs software updates and send patches or they forward the alert to an IT representative at your company to handle as you see fit.  This service structure will not fix any issues that arise, but is a solid, less expensive solution if you have a large internal team that can handle your critical IT issues.  With a per device structure customers are charged by the total number of devices supported.  This includes computers, servers, network, home computers, cell phones, laptops, and more.  This sort of payment structure can get expensive.  The third and, typically, most preferred pricing model is the pay per user MSP offering.  Paying per user gives your company flexibility.  All of each user’s devices are covered under the cost of the user themselves.  Each option should be weighed carefully and we recommend making a choice that is going to be the best option both currently and in the future.

 

When choosing an MSP, ask them:

  • What is included in your monthly fee and what would qualify as additional costs?
  • For quotes of both a pay per device and a pay per user option, so you can compare.
  • Is it a month to month contract or are you locked in for a year or longer?

 

  1. …have communication channels in place?

 

Communication between your Managed Service Provider and your company is going to be a key component to a successful relationship.  As a Managed Services client, you are entitled to know as much or as little as you’d like about what’s happening behind the scenes with your technology.  Clients fall into a wide range, varying between just wanting it fixed without the details to wanting to know every step of each process.  Whether you fall at either end of that spectrum or somewhere in the middle, it is important to know your communication options with the Managed Service Provider you choose.

 

When choosing an MSP, ask them:

  • How do we get updates from your team – in-person, over the phone, or through email?
  • How frequent are the updates/meetings?
  • Who’s involved? Will we have one point of contact or will the updates come from a variety of people?

 

  1. …have your trust?

 

In some cases, this is the most important deciding factor when companies choose a Managed Service Provider.  Selecting an MSP should be viewed as entering into a partnership or as if you were hiring an internal person.  If you don’t trust what they’re telling you or if it sounds too good to be true, ask them about it.  The goal is to sleep easy knowing that if your server goes down in the middle of the night, your Managed Services team will be there doing everything they can to fix the problem.  Knowing that they’re going to give 100% effort on every project is the type of trust you should seek in an MSP partner.

 

When choosing an MSP, ask them: 

  • What are your response times?
  • You claim to have 24×7 support, can you give me an example of something that may fall outside of that support model?
  • Can you walk me through the steps your team would take if my server goes down in the middle of the night?

 

No matter what MSP you choose, the goal of managed services is to “get ahead” of any issues that may arise with your hardware, software or network infrastructure.  But getting ahead of issues, or being proactive, means the customer starts to see fewer issues.  As the MSP is working hard in the background to make sure those issues stay few and far between, it’s important to remember the reduced issues are typically a result of exceptional MSP service.

 

Hopefully after reading this blog, you will be equipped with the right tips and questions to guide your MSP selection process.  To learn how Revolution Group’s Managed Services Team can check all of the boxes above, plus more, call us at 614-212-1111 or fill out the form below.