Managed Service Providers have taken the business world by storm. They are great for companies because they allow them to ensure that their cloud (and other IT services) are running at the highest efficiency without needing to manage it themselves. A great managed service provider will result in a complete lack of headaches and downtime. However, a bad MSP will just end up causing more trouble than it is worth. MSP is a booming industry that is growing day by day. There are many new MSP’s who aren’t exactly dependable. If you are out searching for a new MSP, here are some things you should keep in mind.
Ensure you work with a scalable, flexible MSP
A huge advantage of cloud services is that they are scalable. If you are anticipating high usage, you can temporarily get more bandwidth and storage and when you are expecting a slump you can use lesser services and pay for less. There are some MSPs out there that will lock you into a contract but can’t scale your services. You need an MSP who is flexible. You need to be able to ask for more when you need more – that is the whole point of being a ‘managed’ services provider.
When you talk with an MSP about working together, make sure you discuss flexibility and scalability clearly. The MSP should be able to outline the exact terms for scaling things up or down. They should already have a way to increase services when needed as well as clearly defined costs for scaling things up and scaling them down.
Choose an MSP that understands your industry
As any manager will be able to tell you, each industry has its own quirks. There are specific ways to work in any industry, and if you want a high level of service from your MSP, you need to work with one that understands your vertical. The services provided by the MSP will be powering your whole organization’s data, communications and support. Can you imagine the loss or productivity or potential downtime if they don’t provide the right services to you, or set up things the wrong way? Ask the MSPs if they have any experience in your industry.
You need 24/7 support and monitoring
This should be non-negotiable when looking for MSPs. The MSPs will be responsible for all of the data and communications within your company – you cannot afford to work with an MSP that does not offer 24/7 support. Remember, things will go wrong eventually and you will need support urgently. You need an MSP that is able to deliver support any time of the day, on holidays and weekends, or in the middle of the night.
Monitoring is a huge plus – if they are actively monitoring your services your network will be much safer and they will be able to deal with any problems immediately and proactively.
Ask them for references
Anyone can talk the talk, but can your MSP walk the walk? The easiest way to separate the bad MSPs from the good ones is to look at their track record. Every salesperson will, without fail, promise to bring you the best service out there, and they might mean it. The problem is that the service delivery department is completely separate from the sales department and you may be talking to the only knowledgeable person in the whole company. Ask the MPSs for references and you will find an easy way to judge their performance. There’s even a chance that they will mention a company or person you already know, giving you a great connection to get a second opinion.
Look for on-site support as well
Yes, MSPs are great remotely, but you still need them to be able to provide on-site support. Often, there are problems with your system which can only be fixed by being on-site. If your MSP doesn’t offer on-site support, that is a red flag. And make sure your MSP can provide a service level agreement (preferably, financially backed) that will obligate them to get onsite within a certain timeframe.
Finding a great MSP is not an easy task. This has to be a true partner; someone you will work with for years, and rely upon in good times, and in bad. Do your due diligence, talk to people you know, and go with someone who instills a level of comfort.