Questions To Ask When Hiring A Managed Service Provider

Choosing the right managed services provider (MSP) is important. The correct choice can help your business save costs and avoid technological pitfalls. The wrong one, on the other hand, can result in the wastage of your funds and expose your enterprise network to a myriad of risks.

The global managed IT services market size surpassed approximately 200 billion U.S dollars in 2020. Revenue from the managed IT services market is expected to grow to more than 300 billion U.S dollars by 2025.

You should hire an MSP based on their industry experience, technical know-how, and history of services provided. Ensure to go through reviews and feedback on social media platforms and online review forums. Ask the right questions and perform a comparative analysis before zeroing in the preferred IT support.

Here, we have listed a few questions you can ask potential managed services provider before making the final choice.

1. What Is the Company’s Area of Expertise?

MSPs may specialize in areas like networks and infrastructure, wireless and mobile services, VoIP systems, enterprise network security, desktop support, and cloud services. Depending on the industry you’re in, you may need one or all of these. Hence, your managed services provider should be well-experienced in handling IT issues commonly faced by organizations in your industry.

Partnering with an MSP from a different area of specialization may not serve the purpose as they will adopt a totally different approach to managing your IT infrastructure. Go for an MSP who has worked or is working with businesses similar to yours.

2. What Is the Company’s Average Response Time?

Response time is an important criterion for selecting a managed IT services. The response time should be as low as possible. A higher response time can mean tremendous losses for businesses.

For example, consider a scenario where your enterprise network experiences an outage and your operations come to a standstill. You register a complaint with the MSP’s technical help desk. However, their technician solves the issue much later.

Halting your in-house operations for long periods of time will cause irreparable financial and reputational losses to your company. You should, therefore, partner with an MSP with a track record of minimal response time.

To be sure, prepare an agreement that clearly states all the terms and conditions related to the average response time as promised by the MSP. With an agreement in place, your MSP will be obliged to adhere to it, thereby eliminating possibilities of a delayed response.

3. How Does the Company Facilitate Preventive Maintenance?

MSPs are meant to deal with IT infrastructural problems, helping companies to focus on their core activities. But what will your MSP do to eliminate the chances of a technical problem?

Ask potential IT service providers about the preventive measures they implement to avoid downtime. For example, they should diligently monitor your enterprise network, predict bottlenecks, identify problems, and rectify them promptly. They should be able to perform preventive maintenance by upgrading and replacing hardware and software, whenever required.

This proactive approach will save you from technical problems that may result in time-consuming repercussions.

4. Does the MSP Provide Customized Solutions?

A managed services provider that adheres to a rigid protocol and does not flex based on your organizational needs will not help in the smooth functioning of your business operations.

You should check for the following factors before finalizing an MSP:

  • Does your MSP initiate onsite visits to assess your enterprise network?
  • Do they invest adequate time to identify possible bottlenecks and remediate them?
  • Do they offer round-the-clock assistance?
  • Do they adhere to a flat-rate fee?
  • Are they prepared to work with you to set IT goals on par with the organizational objectives?

Every business is unique and so are its technical requirements. You should choose your managed IT services provider best-suited to cater to your specific needs.

5. Do They Facilitate Scalability?

Your business infrastructure may keep changing as you continue to grow. You should ensure that your MSP can scale up and down based on these changing needs. Your enterprise may need to meet unplanned requirements due to unexpected increases and decreases in demand. The MSP should be able to accommodate these shifting needs of IT resources and infrastructure.

You should get concrete answers about colocation and virtual infrastructure to meet sudden requirements. These capabilities will help you earn a competitive edge in your industry.

6. What Steps Are Taken to Curb Cyber-Attacks?

Your enterprise networks are prone to cyber-attacks. Ensure that the MSP strictly adheres to IT best practices. This should include the following:

  • Regularly updating and maintaining enterprise systems
  • Installation of anti-virus and anti-spam software
  • Providing adequate training to employees to help them identify malicious links and files
  • These steps will help in detecting and fixing vulnerabilities before trouble strikes, thereby securing your enterprise network.

7. Are There Any References or Testimonials Available?

It is important to analyze the authenticity of the managed IT services you choose. Visit the MSP's website and review the details of projects they may have completed. Go through case studies to get a hold of their way of approaching technical problems and the resolutions presented.

You may also ask for references of their previous and current clients. Call them and enquire about the MSP’s performance to get a better idea of the MSP’s overall efficiency. This will also give you a clear idea about the MSP’s working style and determine whether or not it will suit your company’s culture.

8. Will There Be a Dedicated POC?

You should find out if the MSP you are considering offers a dedicated Point of Contact (POC) with 24/7 availability. This is important because you may experience a technical problem at any time. Your system may fail to operate until the problem has been resolved.

If your IT support provider works with limited availability, you will need to wait. Having a dedicated POC will enable you to reach the right person in case of emergencies.

Also, make sure the MSP has proper help desk support in place. This will ensure that your queries are accounted for promptly and directed to the concerned department without any delay.

9. Do They Have Local Presence?

89% of MSPs report that they visit their clients at least once a week.

Though it is considered best to partner with an MSP having a global presence, it is equally important that your MSP be available locally, at your call. For example, if you are a Reston-based business, partnering with providers of managed IT services Reston will be helpful. A locally-situated MSP will be able to offer prompt and regular on-site visits for in-depth assessments of your enterprise system. This will help expedite resolutions.

Wrap Up

Managed services provider can contribute immensely to the success of your organization. However, it is pivotal that you choose the right MSP to reap the maximum benefits. Hopefully, the above-mentioned points will throw light on the questions that you should ask potential MSPs and make an informed decision on hiring the best-suited one.


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