Did you know that 77% of SMBs expect to outsource at least half of their cybersecurity needs in five years – and 78% are planning to invest more in cybersecurity in the next 12 months? More and more companies are turning to managed service providers (MSPs) for their IT and communications services, because it is more effective and efficient than managing these mission-critical services in-house.
Working with an MSP frees up time for your IT staff to take on high-value, strategic projects. You won’t have to worry about not getting any help when there’s an IT problem outside of regular business hours, since many MSPs (TPx included) offer 24/7 support. Best of all, there’s no more headaches about how to hire – and keep – expensive IT staff. Outsourcing IT simply makes sense for SMBs.
But making the decision to hire an MSP is only part of the journey – now you have to figure out which MSP is right for you. Your MSP is there to support your people, your operations, and ultimately your business. If you make the wrong choice, it can have company-wide effects. While cost is certainly a factor in your decision-making, it should not be the main factor. Remember the old saying: you get what you pay for.
Take a minute to watch this brief overview of important factors to consider when selecting an MSP, then check out a written summary below.
1. Is the provider genuinely interested in your business?
Remember, you’re not just outsourcing some basic IT functions to a third party – you’re engaging an ally to become a part of your business team. As such, you should expect that provider to treat your mission-critical functions as if its own business processes were at stake – and that requires that the company has a firm grasp on what your challenges, goals, and problems are. If the representative doesn’t ask smart, relevant questions about your company’s strategic needs, it may be time to walk away.
2. Does the provider have experience in your industry, or with businesses of similar size?
It’s important that an MSP knows the lay of the land when it comes to the unique needs of a certain kind of company. A large enterprise in the financial services space will have radically different needs from a small retail business. These two polar opposites (and every model of company in-between) will also have very different reasons for engaging an MSP in the first place, with different kinds of risk profiles and different kinds of resources to integrate with.
3. Is the provider customer-centric?
Make sure to enquire about customer testimonials and references. It’s important to not just take a company’s word for its capabilities and successes. Unfortunately, there’s no Angie’s List for MSP options (yet), so you’ll have to do a bit of additional due diligence.
4. Does the provider have the resources to serve you effectively?
All other things being equal, your decision may boil down to the depth of staff that an MSP has at your disposal. Dedicated resources in terms of technical staff and customer service (and the ability to tap into personalized, enthusiastic representatives when needed) can make all the difference when it comes to making the most out of your MSP investment.
5. Are the provider’s technicians certified and experienced?
Make sure you find out all you can about the team that will be responsible for keeping your mission-critical infrastructure (and therefore your business) up and running. Remember, certifications only tell part of the story. Learn how many years of experience the team collectively has, whether they work in a dedicated operations center, and if the model is team-based or if a single individual will be at your disposal. Also, make sure to ask if the vendor provides their employees with opportunities to gain specialized skills and ongoing training.
6. Is the provider always available to help?
Round-the-clock, 24/7/365 support is essential to creating an effective relationship with any MSP. One of the key reasons to turn to an MSP in the first place is to gain peace of mind by tapping into expertise you may not have in-house. For peace of mind, there needs to be trust, which means you need to know that you can always reach someone for questions. That staff should always be around in case of an incident or trouble of any kind, be it big or trivial.
7. Does the provider’s pricing fit your needs?
While cost is rarely the best way to make technology decisions, it’s nonetheless a key parameter to consider within the light of these other areas. Does the MSP provide a good value for your trust and investment? Does the vendor provide a model (per seat, per pool, usage-based, fixed, or flexible) that fits your financial needs? These are important questions to answer when working up your final score card for the MSPs that you’re evaluating.
If you’re looking for a reliable managed service provider that checks off all the items on this list, consider TPx. Visit tpx.com to schedule a free consultation or contact your TPx representative to learn more.