Small Business Guide to Choosing a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP)
As your business grows, you may notice the IT needs that you once had no problem handling in house start to exceed what you and your staff have time to manage effectively. Partnering with a managed IT service provider, or MSP, can be the perfect solution. An MSP that provides top-notch services, strong structure and security procedures, and innovative account management can be an excellent partner for supporting and growing your business. Below are five of the important considerations to take into account when choosing an MSP.
Choosing an MSP that is known for excellent customer service is key when it comes to keeping your business running properly. Before entrusting a third-party MSP with the day-to-day IT operations of your business, carefully consider the company’s service metrics to make sure that they offer satisfactory response times, reasonable phone hold times, and the percentage of service requests that are resolved within an agreed-upon amount of time in relation to the total number of requests received.
You will also need to carefully go over the MSP’s Service Level Agreement, or SLA, which is the contract that outlines what services the MSP provides, how to report problems, support hours, response times, your responsibilities when working with the MSP, and other standards and policies.
Product and Service Offerings
Be sure to confirm that the Managed Service Provider you choose offers all the products and services your business needs. Reputable MSPs should provide a the core IT services that are essential to every business, such as network monitoring and management, backup and disaster recovery, vendor management, help desk services, licensing and renewals, and anti-virus and threat detection services. Are there areas of additional specialization that they offer? Do they have certifications to validate their expertise? Carefully consider the unique structure of your business; are there any specialized services needed to support your operations?
Organization and Leadership Structure
Take some time to learn about the organization and leadership structure of the MSP you are interested in to make sure they align with the structure and goals of your business. Your MSP should have more than one person who is qualified and authorized to make financial and other important business decisions; you should not be dependent upon a single individual to support your organization’s IT. In addition, information about your business should be stored in a secure documentation system that multiple leaders are authorized to use and have the proper login credentials to access.
Working with an MSP requires taking a thorough look at its’ security policies and scheduling to make sure it is adequately equipped to protect your company. The MSP you choose should be diligent about patch management, password protection, multi-factor authentication, data encryption, security audits, access control and logs, and disaster recovery in order to keep your business’s confidential information from falling into the wrong hands.
Finally, an MSP with solid account management plans will go the extra mile to ensure you have full coverage and offer you additional value-added benefits. Strategic consulting, budget planning, partnership and advocacy, and other elements of account management can boost the efficiency of your business and help you take it to the next level.
At Solace IT Solutions, we provide a wide variety of IT services to small and medium-sized businesses across the country. We welcome the opportunity to learn more about your business, and discuss how managed IT services can save you money while securing your network, keeping your operations running efficiently, and protecting your company’s data and network. Contact us today to learn more!