As a small business, you might not have the luxury of having a top technical team to handle all your IT demands. Hiring an internal team to fulfill your IT needs can also be quite expensive. On the other hand, maintaining a budget to buy software or invest in upgrades is a significant concern as you grapple with tight resources.

Managed Service Provider

Well, this explains why smaller businesses are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to meet their needs and keep their wallets in check. So, are you looking to hire an MSP for your business? We have created this guide to help you pick the right partner.

What is a managed service provider?

Before we go further, let us first try to understand what a Managed service provider is all about:

Well, an MSP is an organization or company that manages technological products and services for other businesses. In essence, managed services involve outsourcing some or all of your IT needs to a provider company. The goal is to help your company get a hand in managing data security, system stability, and tech complexity. 

Benefits of working with a managed service provider

There are many advantages of outsourcing for small businesses. Below are some business benefits of outsourcing to a managed service provider: 

  • Eliminates IT worries
  • Saves you money
  • You can get access to cutting edge technology
  • Enhances productivity; it allows employees to focus on core competencies
  • Protecting your business against cyberattacks
  • Quick recovery in case of a crisis

Factors to consider when selecting an MSP

Location and hours of services

Imagine a situation where you encounter IT troubles at 7 in the morning, then try reaching out to your MSP, and you are told business hours begin at 8 am? Frustrating right? To avoid this, you need to work with a service provider that has a solid after or before working hours plan. You need one that can support your business 24/7/365 days.

Ask your provider what support you will get in case of emergencies? It is also crucial to consider an MSP located nearby or in a similar time zone. Think about those problems that might need to be handled in person. You don’t have 4 hours to waste waiting for the provider, while there is one that is in your zone.

What are their Credentials?

As a business, there are places you have gone and didn’t get the chance because you were considered a newbie. Well, we can all agree that there is something about the experience, efficiency, and effectiveness. You do not want to go into business with an MSP that is also learning the ropes. It is best to outsource your IT support to a proven company with a good track record helping similar businesses. So, ask about the years of experience, who they worked with, what resources are available, and their retention rate. These questions will give you a clue of the breadth, quality, and responsiveness of their service plans. 

Relationship with Partners

Now, the core business of any MSP is to provide tech solutions. Sadly, that might not be enough. You want a company that will take the time to understand your business and develop a strategy that meets those needs. An MSP is pretty much your tech army and your business consultant. A good partner will draw a strategic account management plan for your business. They will conduct regular consultative meetings and reviews to monitor progress and address your ever-changing business needs. 

New features! Are they Evolving?

The right MSP is one that is continuously innovating and learning. You want to work with a company that is constantly looking for new solutions that will benefit you. Keep in mind that technology is evolving fast!

Ask for the new features that they are currently developing. Find out if they go for industry insights and their technical contact with other major cloud provider organizations. 

Digital Security Measures and Solutions

If you take a quick look at the cost of cybersecurity on your small business, you might want to take time on this. In essence, any business that cares about staying in business must put security at its top priority. Think about it; you are looking to outsource some of the most vital functions of your business, it is only fair that you care about how it is going to be handled.

 Ask these questions:

  • What cloud do they run on?
  • What SaaS platforms or partners do they use? Why do they use those providers?
  • What cybersecurity measures do they have in place?
  • What happens if you have remote workers?

Final thoughts

The other key factor that you should consider is your MSP’s crisis response. In particular, find out more about emergency response, SLAs and disaster recovery options. By asking this, and all the other tough (but fair) questions discussed above, you will know what to expect and which MSP is indeed the right fit for your business! 

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