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How to Choose a Managed IT Services Provider: 7 Qualifying Questions to Ask


In an increasingly sophisticated IT environment, managing complex systems, vendors and processes can be a struggle for your business. As the world becomes more advanced, outsourcing your IT to a managed service provider becomes even more important.

Here is some of the data regarding the MSP industry and its growth:

  • 39% of small to medium-sized businesses use managed services (Sherweb, 2018)
  • 44% of businesses say they could lose at least $10,000 in an hour of downtime (Continuum, 2019)
  • 60%+ businesses use cloud-based services (Continuum, 2019)
  • 25% of businesses are increasing IT spend because of a cyber breach (Spice Works)

While it’s essential to outsource to an MSP, it’s also important to choose the right one and make sure they facilitate your company’s innovation and growth.

So how can you make sure that they are up to the task and willing to grow with your business?

Here’s a quick guide on what questions to ask your IT MSP and ensure you select the right one.

7 Qualifying Questions to Ask an MSP Before Selecting One

how to choose a Managed Service Provider

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1) Do They Offer Multi-Vendor Support?

The IT environment you encounter today is an ever-changing blend of traditional IT elements such as hardware, software, and network products – and the hybrid cloud environment.

Therefore, your MSP should – at the very least – have proven experience with working in a multi-vendor hybrid environment.

More importantly, they should be able to use their pre-existing relationships with leading vendors in your industry and ensure greater visibility into defining product evolution paths and emerging technologies.

2) Do they specialize in Cybersecurity?

One industry secret is that a lot of managed service providers don’t offer or specialize in cybersecurity. It poses a real problem, as the threat of cyber attacks continues to grow as well as the financial damage. The results of a ConnectWise survey show that MSPs’ lack of focus on cybersecurity resulted in 80% of their clients getting hacked.

Hackers are targeting MSPs and their clients because of weak, and unpatched networks. It’s extremely important to ask if your MSP specializes in cybersecurity and can protect your business from cyber threats.

3) Do They Align With Your Industry Needs?

The MSP you select should know the ins and outs of your industry. MSPs that specialize in your industry are able to make sure their IT strategies match your business environment, and that your entire IT infrastructure follows regulatory compliances.

Here are examples of industry specializations:

4) Does the MSP Have Strong Reviews and Referrals?

Moreover, a service provider’s market experience is a reliable predictor of your potential relationship – so tap into annual reports, financial statements as well as references from friends and colleagues in your industry.

Assess the size of their client pool, as well as the annual retention rate. These are revealing factors to the quality of the services. If there are any issues, you should seek out another partner, because it can result in:

  • Low-quality services
  • Technical IT issues
  • Higher costs

5) Questions To Ask A Potential MSP: Are they flexible?

Your business environment is constantly changing, and your potential MSP must offer flexibility for the time you need to scale up or down. Your MSP will ideally change your pricing based on key changing factors, such as user count.

Not only should an MSP be flexible to user accounts, it should also offer à la carte services so you can choose the solutions you need for your business. A good question to consider asking is whether or not the MSP offers specific services such as online data backup, cyber security, IT support or remote monitoring, just to name a few.

The more the MSP is able to offer you at the outset, the more equipped they will be to properly address your needs.



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6) Is the MSP Forward-Thinking?

Before choosing an MSP, you should determine if they are keeping up with industry developments and providing advice and emerging solutions that can benefit your business. It is very important for an MSP to specialize in various industries, as each one has different regulations they must comply with.

For example, in order to work with clients in the healthcare industry, an MSP must be HIPAA compliant, while the financial services industry requires SSAE 16 and SEC compliance. Some MSPs may even be ISO 9001 compliant. Generally, the more certifications an MSP has, the easier it will be for them to serve specific clients.

7) Does the MSP Plan for the Future?

The real test of an MSP’s worth comes from its disaster recovery response, it’s important to ask about an MSP’s disaster recovery response when assessing providers.

Great service providers include disaster recovery or – at the very least – an SLA (Strong Service-Level Agreement) for emergency response. Four out of five MSPs said that clients with BCDR solutions recovered from attacks within 24 hours.

Your MSP should provide you with an emergency contact number for your Account Manager so that you can reach them quickly in the event of a crisis.

Managed Services Selection Criteria: Key Takeaway

The ideal managed services partner scales with your business, facilitating your growth and success in this cutting-edge IT environment.

Your provider should be able to offer you a suite of features and services, including cloud, basic, and advanced managed services. You should be able to openly discuss your needs with your provider and determine which services best fit into your plans.

Ultimately, your MSP should enable you to act on innovation trends, increase productivity and accelerate value creation.

Power Consulting is a managed services provider in New York that provides our clients with 24/7 dependable infrastructure monitoring and data security. Mitigate data losses and system failures with our leading IT services and solutions.

Ready to partner with us? We can reduce your IT issues by 55%  in three months!

Contact us today to get started.