Contemporary businesses rely on robust, streamlined information technology environments to stay competitive. After all, even a few minutes of downtime can lead to thousands of dollars in lost revenue and productivity.
With stakes that high, it makes sense that many businesses struggle with the question of how to choose a managed services provider that’s right for them.
It’s not that simple of a question to answer, however. The MSP market is expected to double between 2020 and 2027, spurred on by a shifting economic environment that features many more work-from-home and hybrid setups.
As the market expands, you can expect to see many new managed services providers crop up. That’s adding to an already staggering 40,000 estimated providers operating today.
To exacerbate the issue further, many companies find themselves asking “How do I choose a managed service provider (MSP)?”
To make things easier, we’ve developed a list of managed services selection criteria and qualifying MSP questions that will explain:
- How the right IT partner can produce value for your business
- The types of services they offer
- How to select the appropriate partner for your unique needs
Some examples of common questions to ask an IT MSP when determining the right fit are:
- What services do they offer and can they meet my business’s needs (size, types of services, types of technology, etc.)?
- Can they protect my business?
- Can they meet my industry’s unique requirements?
- Can they provide all the services I need on budget?
Let’s now explore the managed services vendor selection criteria more in-depth.
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How to Choose to a Managed Services Provider: 4 Questions to Ask During MSP Discovery
What Services Does the MSP Offer?
The first and most critical question to ask an MSP is about the services they can offer for your business. This will determine whether or not the MSP’s offerings will align with your unique needs.
For instance, if your business is experiencing network downtime on a regular basis – which can cost as much as $5,600 per minute and is something 78% of businesses face, according to a recent Forrester survey – then you’ll need some form of network management, monitoring, and updating.
If you’re facing a variety of frustrating IT issues that disrupt your teams’ workflows, you’ll need helpdesk services with fast response times. If you’re attempting to migrate your data from onsite servers to a cloud or hybrid setup, that type of project can be managed by an experienced MSP.
Additionally, if you’re looking for all the above or just a general relief of your IT management burden in addition to general technology support, then you’ll want a provider that provides comprehensive solutions and services.
Generally, an experienced MSP will have service offerings that include:
- Fully managed IT (day-to-day IT management, break/fix services, 24/7/365 technical support, etc.)
- Managed cyber security solutions
- Cloud services
- Infrastructure services
- Network services (monitoring, updating, management, etc.)
- IT consulting (vendor management, device lifecycle replacement, technology procurement, IT strategy development, etc.)
The best MSPs will always provide peace of mind by including service level agreements in your contract, so you can rest assured that you’ll be receiving high quality IT support that meets or exceeds your expectations.
How to Choose a Managed Security Services Provider
The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, both in terms of frequency of attacks as well as complexity.
One estimate put the number of cyberattacks at 2,200 per day, or one every 39 seconds. Worse yet, projections have them increasing 15% year over year until 2025. That’s on top of the $6 trillion in global damages they caused in 2021 alone.
In other words, a managed security service provider (MSSP) needs to be able to address both threats in the present and forms of attack that are in development.
When it comes to choosing a good MSSP, a good starting place is by asking if they provide:
- A Security Operations Center (SOC) that can detect, prevent, and eliminate threats
- Disaster recovery and data backup planning to protect your critical and sensitive data in the event of a breach
- Rapid incident response (ideally available 24/7/365)
- Full-time monitoring
- Employee training (breaches and ransomware attacks are often very expensive, with millions in losses for larger enterprises, and many breaches are caused by human error)
- Security support for work-from-home/hybrid setups
When choosing the right MSSP, you’ll want to ensure that they can conduct an assessment of your business’s overall security posture and then recommend the appropriate service and solutions.
With this information, you should be well equipped and have the answers you need on how to choose a managed security services provider.
Can the MSP Meet My Industry Requirements?
Another important factor that influences how to choose a managed services provider is by assessing whether it can respond to your business’s unique industry demands.
Healthcare, for instance, requires specific data security measures in place in order to comply with industry standards. Same applies to the finance industry, maritime, public sector entities, etc.
You’ll need to ask the relevant industry technical questions to your MSP qualifying questions to ensure that they can meet these industry-specific demands.
Based on the response you receive, you may also want to inquire about whether they offer compliance services that can help you meet specific industry regulations while preparing your business for audits.
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Can the MSP Meet My Needs While Remaining on Budget?
Your MSP can offer the best services possible, but that’s of little use to you if they can’t also meet your budgetary requirements.
Fortunately, most MSPs offer a la carte services, which enable you to select only the support you need, ensuring you never end up wasting money on ill-fitting or unnecessary services.
Many MSPs understand the budgetary limitations of smaller businesses, which is why they offer fixed monthly rates that never increase, no matter how much support you require. This makes budget planning easy, simple, and predictable while avoiding unnecessary cost overruns.
Choose a Partner That Meets Your Managed Services Selection Criteria
Now that you know all the right questions to ask an MSP, all you need to do is find the one best suited for your business. As a leading managed service provider (MSP), iTBlueprint has a proven track record of providing trustworthy managed IT services.
Whether you’re in need of cybersecurity services, network and infrastructure support, helpdesk services, cloud services, or fully managed IT, we have you covered.
Backed by an 18-year track record of delivering results for over 180 clients in Vancouver and beyond, we have more than 30 industry certifications and can respond to your IT issues within 2 to 4 hours, on average. This helps your business avoid prolonged IT disruptions to get back to work faster, saving you time and money.
For more information, get in touch with us today for a free consultation and we’ll get you started designing the perfect IT management plan for your business.