When it comes to technology in your business, it’s safe to say that you’re probably in the category of when you want to address your vital IT needs, you want to do so without increasing your overhead costs. It’s that simple really and that’s where an IT provider comes into play. But by now, you’ve probably had hundreds of managed service providers knocking at your doors, promising you the moon and the stars in exchange for your business.
Working with an MSP is making an agreement to partner with a technology provider to grow your business, all while taking advantage of the technology resources at your disposal. It’s not something to be taken lightly.
So how do you pick the MSP that’s right for you?
Here are four things to consider when choosing your next technology provider.
- The history of the MSP: Every IT business has their own history. Some came from an IT hardware solutions background and are transforming into an MSP in order to fit the growing trend of managed services. Others have begun simple computer repair shops and evolved into MSPs over time. No matter where their roots lie, it is important that you have a clear understanding of the caliber and pedigree that your IT provider has. Do they have solid track record of client retention and referrals? Do they knowledgeable consultants who continually educate themselves on the business and their client’s industries? Do they understand what it takes to keep your business up and running for a budgetable price?
- The technical setup: A respectable MSP should have a clear source for dealing with technical issues. Be it outsourced technology repair or its own network operations center (NOC) a proper MSP will be able to handle all of your IT problems from backend data security and security patch updates to network monitoring and helpdesk support. An MSP should be able to deliver on all of these support features with very little to no effort. In addition, these support options should most likely be included into one flat, monthly fee.
- Vendor relationships: Any MSP worth a grain of salt will have their own working relationship with IT and business vendors in order to provide you with the highest quality of service. They should have direct access to hardware and software solutions like firewalls, UTMs, cloud services, etc. In addition, they should be able to interact with your current vendors in order to get you the best pricing for those services.
- The one size fits all approach: IT is not one size fits all. A technology setup that works in one business doesn’t necessarily work in another and MSPs should know that. Your technology services provider should take the time to develop a custom IT infrastructure that solves your specific business challenges and suits your budget. For example, if they are offering you 24/7 support for an extra fee and your business is only open 8-5pm, then this solution doesn’t really mesh well with your business model.
Don’t be afraid to put a potential MSP through the ringer when determining if they are the right match for you. If they’ve done their job properly, you should be able to see that they are the best fit for you, without having any objections or hesitancy. As a business owner, you need an MSP that is not only going to meet your needs but also be proactive and respond quickly to your shifting IT needs.