Checklist to evaluate an MSP for your business

More and more businesses are discovering the advantages of working with a managed service provider or MSP. From 2014 to 2019, the MSP market almost doubled in value from $107 billion to $193 billion, and it is projected to reach $296 billion by 2023.

Working with an MSP allows businesses to minimize IT issues and downtime, access high-level technological expertise, and enjoy more comprehensive IT support, as well as free their staff up to focus on broader projects.

In order to release the full benefit of these advantages, you need to choose the right MSP. The following checklist will help you find the perfect MSP for your business.

1. Do they deliver fast service and response times?

The first thing you need to know about your potential managed service provider is how fast their service and response times are. This is critical because IT issues can cost businesses literally millions of dollars. In 2019, the average cost of server downtime for the majority of enterprise businesses was at least $400,000 per hour. For 15 percent of businesses, server downtime costs them over $5 million per hour. You need to know how quickly your MSP will respond to issues or act to resolve problems – they must have a large enough base of experienced staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Do they provide onsite support?

Most companies will find that onsite support is highly desirable, if not essential. Some MSPs offer onsite support as part of their services. Having onsite support available means that your managed service provider will send an IT professional to your business to implement IT projects and to check periodically that everything is working well. Ask your potential service provider if they provide this service. Using a local MSP usually gives you the most comprehensive and responsive onsite support.

3. Do they offer cybersecurity and compliance support?

Cybersecurity and compliance are both major areas of concern for modern businesses. Top-level cybersecurity is necessary to protect companies from cyber-attacks, malware, data breaches, and other risks that can cost businesses millions of dollars. Compliance is equally important, and businesses need to keep on top of ever-evolving government regulations to ensure they comply with the law. One of the advantages of working with a managed service provider is that this can give you access to the high-level cybersecurity and compliance expertise that you lack in-house, so be sure to check the level of support the MSP offers in both these areas.

4. Do they have partnerships with hardware vendors?

Managed service providers can also work with hardware vendors on your behalf, saving you significant time and hassle. Additionally, your MSP may be able to secure advantageous deals or access better technology – that is, if they have partnerships with the right vendors. This, in turn, can allow your business to be more effective and to operate more efficiently. Ask your potential MSP if they have partnerships with hardware vendors and what benefits they can offer you in this area.

5. Do they provide strategic plans for the future?

An expert managed service provider should be able to assist with strategic IT planning to help your business adapt as it grows and scales, or simply as its needs change over time. If required, your provider should be able to act as a virtual chief information officer or CIO for your company, assisting with budget planning, disaster recovery planning, business continuity, and other IT strategies for your business. You, therefore, need to know not only whether the MSP provides this service but also whether they have the skills and expertise to carry this out in a forward-thinking way that will support your company’s future success. You should also confirm that the MSP will be able to scale or adapt their services over time as your needs change.

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