How to Choose a Managed IT Services Provider: 7 Qualifying Questions to Ask
With the increasing complexity of IT, it’s often a no-brainer to use a managed IT services provider to help run the day-to-day technical aspects of your business. What can be more difficult is knowing managed service provider (MSP) selection criteria, as finding a good fit can depend on:
- Your business pain points
- The time and effort your own team is willing to put into IT
- The lengths you are ready to go to in your decision process
Choosing the right services provider can help to dramatically increase business efficiency and security, and allow you to focus on your core business, whether it’s your sales team being free to drive growth by closing a deal or upping their closing ratios, or your internal IT staff being able to focus on value-added innovation projects.
The best way to find one that works for your business is knowing which questions to ask an IT MSP. In this article we look at some of the key managed services selection criteria and MSP qualifying questions to ask during discovery.
Don’t Get Sidelined Asking Technical Questions to Qualify an MSP
Instead ask them to assess the impact IT is having on your business…and how they’ll help you grow.
How to Choose a Managed Services Provider: Questions to Ask
- Do They Offer All of the Latest Technologies?
An MSP should be able to offer a wide range of cutting-edge services including cloud, current generation hardware, software, and network products, and the latest backup and disaster recovery services from multiple vendors.
Their capability to do this will largely depend on their relationships with technology vendors and how much knowledge their team has on the latest and greatest solutions.
- Can They Share Reviews and Testimonials?
It’s easier than ever to find reviews and testimonials of a business on the web, and if an MSP has no evidence of positive feedback or a lot of negative feedback, that’s a bad sign. If an MSP is cagey about their reputation, it’s worth investigating why.
You might also consider asking peers in your industry about their experiences with a particular MSP and seeing if they can provide you with a trusted referral.
- What Are Their Service Level Agreements Like?
Good MSPs will be eager to tell you about their service level agreements (SLAs) because they are confident that they can deliver high levels of service. Find out what their SLAs are for response times, system uptime and other key metrics.
You should also make sure an MSP will be assigning a dedicated and experienced account manager to your business, because this is who you will be turning to in IT emergencies.
Learn More About the Role of IT Role in Your Business Plan:
- Do They Work With Companies in Your Industry?
The IT needs of businesses in different industries vary, and some MSPs specialize in serving certain fields by learning exactly what is required from IT in that industry. If an MSP has never worked with a company in a given field, they might have a harder time adjusting.
Find out if your MSP is knowledgeable about your industry and if they have tried-and-tested experience in operating the type of IT environment you have.
- Will They Be Adaptable to Your Evolving Needs?
Businesses must constantly evolve to meet the competitive demands of the market, and good MSPs understand they cannot just ‘set and forget’ your IT infrastructure. They must be ready to help your business adapt, whether it’s scaling up or adding new functionality.
Ask an MSP what their strategy is to keep businesses on the cutting edge of their market, and listen out for case studies of how they have done this for other customers
6. Are They Focused on the Future of IT?
This is one of the most overlooked questions to ask an MSP – and one of the most important. Many businesses are guilty of getting stuck in a rut, and it’s no different for MSPs. You should find out if an MSP is on the ball and passionate about the future of IT, because it will be their job to ensure your business is ready to adapt and remain innovative.
It’s also important to ask about their approach to evolving regulation and compliance. If they keep up to date with the latest certifications, it’s a good sign they are paying attention.
7. Are They Strong on Cybersecurity?
Many managed services providers choose not to focus heavily on cybersecurity, and if you’re not aware of this it can leave your business vulnerable. If for whatever reason you choose an MSP that is not security-focused, it might make sense to also partner with a managed security services provider.
Ask the MSP’s sales team if they are serious about cybersecurity and what they will do to ensure your business data and systems are kept safe from threats and loss.
Got Questions for an MSP? Netsurit’s Got the Answers
Now that you know the big questions to ask a potential MSP, be sure to include Netsurit on your shortlist! We have been providing leading managed IT services to global customers since 1998 and have been named as a Top 501 MSP award winner since 2009.
Unlike most IT companies, our optimization model is built on the ISO20000 framework and we’re trusted to support the dreams of the doers.