Finding someone to handle the tech that helps run your business can be hard. You need to find someone who can do what they claim, understand the technology you use, and can be relied on to do the job you hired them for.
Because we know the importance of selecting an MSP to work with, we’ve put together this short guide to help you know what to look for and what questions to ask when you’re looking to partner with an MSP.
6 things you should look for when talking to an MSP
It’s safe to say that we’ve been through this process more than a few times, not from the perspective of someone who needs an MSP, but as the MSP that is being approached. This has helped us better understand what people are looking for and what questions you need to ask to make sure you find the right group.
Experience with your tech
Similar to having experience with your industry, any MSP you work with should have direct experience with the technology you use, as much as possible. This doesn’t mean they have to understand every single thing, but they need to know the critical pieces of your infrastructure. This is where certifications come in handy. They’re an easy to confirm bit of proof that at the very least, a company has trained with the tech you’re using.
You want to do this mostly as a way to make sure that it doesn’t feel like you’re babysitting your MSP or holding their hand as they learn the ins and outs of your systems. Not only should they be able to drop in and start working with your infrastructure, but they should be able to recommend improvements and best practices to optimize everything.
The ability to provide the services that you’re looking for
Does the MSP actually do what you’re looking for? This is one of those things that you shouldn’t have to compromise on, but people often do. If you’re looking for someone to run the helpdesk 24/7 and provide strategic support, but you’re talking to someone who only has helpdesk services available half the time, they’re not a good fit. If you go with an organization like that, you’re almost certainly going to hit a moment when you need help and they’re not available.
That’s why it helps to come up with a detailed, very specific list of what you’re looking for. If someone doesn’t offer all of those services, keep looking.
Are their services scalable?
Odds are your business isn’t going to have the same needs during your entire engagement. In fact, it’s safe to say that your business is going to grow and your tech requirements are going to need to grow alongside that. If you’re talking to an MSP who can’t match those needs at all stages of growth, keep looking.
It can be hard to predict exactly what’s going to happen in any given year, but if you have a growth plan you should be working with an MSP who can match each stage of that plan. You really don’t want to have to find someone else just as you’re getting really busy and need additional support.
What are their customers saying?
Always take a bit of time to explore what the MSP’s customers are saying about them. Reviews are an excellent place to learn more about how a company operates, what bothers people about them, and what they love. You can also take this one step further and explore any case studies that a company might have. Case studies show you exactly what kinds of problems they can solve, how they solve those problems, and how customers felt as a result. You get a good look at the whole process of working with a company, which can help you understand whether they’re a good fit.
How do they handle their own security?
This is a pretty important thing to consider when choosing an MSP. It’s not enough to know how they’re going to protect your company. You need to know how they protect themselves. This might not seem relevant, but we’ve seen some pretty high-profile cases in the last few years where MSPs have been the entry point for major cybersecurity incidents, like the SolarWinds hack. In that instance, a tool the company used was corrupted and cybercriminals gained access to SolarWinds’ client’s data. This is the kind of scenario you want to avoid.
Ask questions about how they’re going to make sure they don’t get hacked and what kind of disaster recovery setup they have in place to mitigate damage.
What’s their support team like? Are they local? Outsourced?
One thing we’ve learned over the years is that having a local support team can be critical to success. This is largely because if something is broken to the point where it can’t be fixed remotely, you’re going to need someone to show up in person to fix the problem. This might not be something that ever comes up, but if it does you want to be covered.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re choosing someone who provides the kind of coverage you need for your business. Your support team isn’t going to be much help to you if they’re not available all the time because, as almost everyone knows, tech problems don’t stick to a 9-5 schedule. Things can go down at any time and you want to make sure that you’re covered.
If you’re in the market for an MSP and aren’t sure if you’ve found the one just yet, now’s the time to reach out. We’ve got more than 20 years of experience across a wide range of verticals and industries. We love connecting with new businesses to learn more about how we can help them manage their tech.
Contact us today to learn more.