When it comes to running their company, one thing business owners often overlook is IT management. This is because they mistakenly assume they can handle IT on their own. But in reality, they’re better off outsourcing their IT requirements to a managed IT services provider (MSP).
What is an MSP?
An MSP is a company that offers comprehensive IT support and management for businesses. They can typically provide everything from 24/7 help desk support to network monitoring to data backup and disaster recovery services. They also offer other IT services, such as cybersecurity and cloud computing.
Unlike traditional IT services providers, MSPs proactively manage their clients' IT systems for a flat monthly rate.
What should you look for in an MSP?
With so many MSPs out there, you may have difficulty choosing the one that’s best equipped to handle your business's unique needs. To help you pick the right MSP, consider the following criteria:
- Expertise – The MSP should not only be able to handle basic software installation, maintenance, and upgrades, but they must also have vast knowledge in other complex IT areas, such as cloud technology, security, and cross-platform integration. This will enable them to keep pace with your business’s changing IT requirements.
- Experience – Check whether the MSP has experience in supporting businesses of the same size and industry as yours. This tells you that they're familiar with supporting the technologies you use.
- Service level agreement (SLA) – Make sure the MSP offers a competitive SLA. An SLA outlines the terms of their services, including response times, uptime guarantees, and coverage hours.
- Communication – The MSP should communicate clearly and concisely without using technical jargon. They should also be responsive to your questions and concerns.
- Third-party vendor partnerships – Ensure the MSP is partnered with the technology vendors (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce) whose products you use in your IT environment. The higher the partnership level, the more expertise the provider has to offer your business.
- Financial stability – Technology plays a crucial role in the success of your business, so you need an MSP that can be with you in the long run. You can evaluate their stability by taking a look at their annual reports and financial statements. See how many clients they have and check their customer retention numbers.
- Reputation – Read online reviews and testimonials of the MSP’s past and current clients. This will give you a good idea of what it's like to work with the MSP.
- Flexibility – Your business is constantly evolving, so you need an MSP that can change with you. They should be able to scale up or down their services according to your current needs.
Choosing an MSP is a big decision — but it doesn't have to be a difficult one. By keeping these criteria in mind, you can narrow down your choices and find an MSP that's a good fit for your business. To learn more about how an MSP can benefit your company, get in touch with us today.