We recognise that it is a mammoth task to choose a managed services provider (MSP). Your customers trust you with their information, and you do not want to violate that trust by selecting the wrong partner. You are stuck between the proverbial rock and the hard place. On the one hand, you have staff with technical problems you cannot solve, and on the other, a myriad of providers – all seemingly providing the same service.
How long have you been around?
Ask them how long they have been in business. While technology moves fast, a company that has been around for a while will have seen a variety of issues, and some of them over and over again. Not to mention, it will probably be less likely they will disappear into the night if they have already been around for a while.
Who are your customers?
It is not necessary for your MSP to know everything about your company or industry, but if they have other customers that are similar, some of your everyday issues might already be solved. For example, they may know about custom software or even hardware that is unique to your industry; and how it integrates with common services.
How big is your team, who are your technical partners?
The advantage of an MSP versus an in-house IT team is the vast wealth of experience and diversity of thought you can access. They may have multiple layers of escalation with increasing levels of knowledge, or they may be part of a vast global network of industry professionals.
Do you have a “Service Level Agreement” (SLA)?
Make sure you understand what to expect from your relationship. If there is an agreed level of care, how do you ensure it is adhered to? You do not want to have to audit every invoice; establish a reporting structure and format and stick to it. Create internal processes that make it easy for your staff to report on their experiences.
What kind of support do you offer?
In this day and age, remote support should be a given with any MSP. You should also see if the MSP you are considering has on the ground support for your team. Sometimes you need help immediately, or the internet might be down! You don’t want to have to wait for a third-party contractor to get up to speed.