How to pick the right managed IT services provider (MSP)

September 16th, 2020
How to pick the right managed IT services provider (MSP)

You’ve finally decided that hiring a managed IT services provider (MSP) is the right way to go. You’re convinced of its benefits, aware of IT challenges in the future, and certain that MSPs can help you jump over those hurdles. You’ve also allocated enough budget for the monthly service fee. But one question remains: which MSP is right for you?

MSPs vary in industry experience, services, level of commitment, pricing, and flexibility. Consider the following qualities when vetting MSPs:

1. Technical expertise

Your provider should be well-versed in various IT fields such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, IT support, virtualization, and communications technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Find a partner that can customize tools for your business, and not one that only provides out-of-the-box solutions. For example, your MSP should set up software such as Teams and Microsoft Office 365 according to your business’s needs and train your employees on how to use that software. This way, your employees will no longer have to go through a steep learning curve.

Check the websites of the MSPs you’re evaluating to compare their services, partners, prices, and certifications. If you need assistance in cloud migration, look for MSPs that are certified Microsoft Cloud Service Providers.

List down the services you need, and if an MSP cannot provide all of them, eliminate them from your pool of prospective providers. Continue doing so until you find an MSP that matches your goals with the right solutions.

2. Excellent track record

Much like shopping online, choosing an MSP requires you to read client reviews carefully before making a decision. See if an MSP has a consistent history of satisfied clients, especially those that are in the same line of business as your own.

Related reading: How MSPs are supporting clients during the COVID-19 pandemic

Read client testimonials on the MSP’s website — you may even find clients who had to deal with similar problems that your business is facing. Reviews on third-party websites may also give you relevant information about the MSP, such as their performance and service levels with other customers.

3. Curiosity

An effective MSP should be devoted to your business’s success. They should ask questions about your organization’s goals, business model, and current IT setup, among others. This will show their level of commitment and what they will do to help your business grow and succeed.

Beyond being curious about your business, great MSPs prioritize building partnerships that last. They are committed to helping your business grow because your success is in their best interest. They should not only be a company that comes in to fix things. Instead, they should be truly interested in keeping your business running smoothly around the clock.

4. Accessibility

Your business should receive support from your MSP as quickly as possible. As data breaches become more common today, it's critical that they are accessible when a cyber incident befalls your business. In case a problem cannot be solved remotely, your MSP must be able to visit you on-site to resolve your issues.

For instance, if your computers suddenly become unusable because of a hardware issue, an effective MSP will visit your office quickly to fix the problem and have your business up and running again.

5. Cloud-ready

Businesses of all sizes are adopting cloud services to improve their operations without the need to spend a fortune on a physical IT infrastructure. In fact, according to the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud report, 93% of enterprises currently have a multi-cloud strategy. This percentage is expected to rise rapidly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the MSP you choose should be cloud-ready.

Being cloud-ready also means having off-site storage and sufficient measures for disaster recovery and business continuity. It's a cheaper alternative to putting up a secondary data center for your backup on-site, which can be costly and may necessitate additional space. MSPs should also help you migrate your documents to the cloud with ease. Not only is this more sustainable, it also ensures smooth recovery in case of any disaster.

Fidelis is a reliable MSP that provides businesses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland with a proactive approach to IT infrastructure management. We will monitor your systems, protect your data from breaches, and fix all problems before they cause downtime. To learn more about how Fidelis can help your company grow, download our FREE eBook and contact us today.

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