When your company’s IT becomes a little overwhelming, or you simply want to free your technical resources for more value-added projects, a Managed Service Provider – or MSP - is the perfect choice for your business.
A Managed Service Provider will review your entire IT infrastructure, discover any potential flaws in its security or technical capabilities, and arrive at an all-encompassing solution that’s designed to save money, perfect your IT systems and prepare your business for future growth. From there, they’ll provide ongoing assistance with your technical setup and ensure that the services you employ are continually managed, for optimal efficiency.
Ideally, your MSP won’t only cover a single piece of your IT infrastructure – they’ll cover everything; from your phones to your printers, your servers to your cyber-security, your SaaS solutions to your backups; all will be covered by a single point of contact. For this reason, choosing one MSP for multiple business needs can prove daunting - so what should you prioritise when finding the right one for you?
What are their Accreditations?
The IT industry is ever-evolving and often bewildering, so your perfect MSP needs to be officially partnered with providers such as Microsoft, HP and Dell to deliver the high service standards of each company. They’ll also have to be accredited with the appropriate BSI certificates and ensure their own cyber security GDPR adherence is in line with the government standards – look for accreditations such as Cyber Essentials Plus and the IASME Gold Certificate.
The best MSPs will not only have all the above, they’ll have a long-running string of industry awards under their belt.
Do they have a Staff Development Programme?
It might seem odd to think of your MSP’s staff rather than your own, but the way an MSP manages its staff speaks volumes for the service you can expect from them, now and in the future.
An MSP will want a steady flow of staff through each level of service. They might hire early in the form of apprentices, training them from the ground up to the next levels of service ability. They’ll also want their high-level engineers to stay on as mentors or evolve their learning to encompass yet more specialties. If a provider’s staff aren’t learning or evolving, then neither are the company’s abilities – so ensure that there’s a strong emphasis on recruitment, retention and refinement.
What Does Their Support Entail?
Think of your MSP as an extension of your workforce; you’re paying them for a service that not just any handful of employees could accomplish. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your MSP can run effortlessly alongside your business.
Though the MSP will manage and monitor the day-to-day running of your business IT, they’ll still need to adhere to the rules and policies of your company. If you’ve a specific condition or requirement, you’ll want to make sure your MSP is aware of those expectations – and can meet them.
How Strong are Their Company Relationships?
It’s not just the capabilities of your MSP that you’ll want to consider, it’s their working relationships as well. It’s not uncommon for businesses to meet regularly with their service providers, nor at least for them to make regular contact with queries or requests. Make sure that your MSP is a match for your business culture; after all, would you hire an applicant who didn’t share your company’s values?
Any provider worth their salt will have all-encompassing and long-lasting relationship with their clients, so when you put out a Request for Proposal, don’t be afraid to ask your provider for the details of current clients and how long they’ve maintained that partnership. The best MSPs will form strong and social bonds with theirs.
Does the Glove Fit?
You wouldn’t entrust a small independent provider to manage a multi-national enterprise, nor would you pay through the nose for a wealth of services you don’t need.
An honest MSP won’t oversell on their abilities, nor upsell on their services. They’ll be proportionate to your business, and even more suited to your workflow as a result. You’ll also be confident that you’re paying the right price for the right level of service.
If you find your current setup overwhelming, or simply don’t have enough eyes on your infrastructure at once, an MSP might help cut costs and time – while delivering a service that keeps your IT in peak condition.