3 Things You Should Consider Before Selecting a Managed Service Partner

If you’re considering, or have already began the process of looking for an MSP partner, there are several things to consider that might not be apparent on the façade. As we’ve helped dozens of businesses in this process, we’ve got insider knowledge about MSPs that we’re happy to share. Read through our three points of consideration below to ensure you’re on the right track in your hunt for the best fit for your MSP.

First Things First: What is an “MSP?”

Gartner, a global leading information research and advisory company, describes a Managed Services Provider as a trusted strategic partner that delivers network, application, system and technology management services across a network to multiple enterprises. MSP partners are using a robust and strategic approach in addressing the different business challenges including shrinking budgets, security threats and rapidly changing technology so companies can keep up and stay on the cutting edge.

See three of our main criteria for choosing an MSP partner below.

  1. Solid Strategy – Does your MSP really get your business? Creating a secure and stable IT environment begins with solid planning. But the biggest challenge internal teams face is their ability to be strategic while dealing with daily maintenance chores. Teams that jump from one break/fix issue to another fall into a vicious cycle leaving no room for strategic growth activities. They risk being so focused on today that they can’t think about tomorrow.

The key is approaching your tech environment with solid strategy. By taking the time to learn your core business, a good MSP will develop preventative maintenance strategies that are appropriate for your business needs. By getting to know your business inside and out, true MSP experts can apply what they already know about the industry landscape to particular issues facing your company. This way your service plan can focus on preventative maintenance strategies appropriate to your business, and perform ongoing strategic reviews to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.

  1. Digital Security – Is their cloud full of holes? Security is often the top concern for today’s CEOs, CIOs, and IT staff. Why? Because cybercrime costs the world economy an estimated $400 billion per year.[1] That’s larger than the GDP of most nations on earth. Business no longer happens in one office over one telephone line. It happens over hundreds of connected workstations and networks, interwoven and spread across offices worldwide. And though this allows for things we could hardly fathom 50 years ago, it brings with it a litany of risks, of which we’ve seen only the tip of the iceberg. Smart business owners realize that digital attacks and data theft are very real, and endanger not only employee data, but also the personal and financial data of your customers. Sensitive customer information should be kept under lock and key, and then in a vault, buried underground, in a nondescript and inaccessible area. Though the analogy is exaggerated, we can’t stress the value of data, and what great lengths companies should go to in order to protect it. Recovering from a cyber-attack is costly in both time, money, and reputation. Proactive efforts to limit exposure and protect potential gateways into your system reduce the risk of attack. Make sure your MSP plan includes virus protection, system monitoring, and image-level recovery. That way your users can properly access your network, and the bad guys can’t.
  1. Evolving Skill Set – Are you getting enough bang for your buck? One of the great advantages to partnering with an MSP is the varied coverage of skills to which you have access. This access provides you with many individuals with varying skill sets that can address whatever technical issue you may encounter. Quality MSPs invest in their employees’ continual learning and certification. This deepens their knowledge base and expertise in technology management, making them a perpetually more valuable partner. When choosing your MSP, look for companies that strive to be on the cutting edge, and offer advanced services through clear policies and internal programs that support growth and development. This all but guarantees as the technology landscape changes, your MSP will change with it. This ensures you’re in good hands going forward, and saves you the cost of training and certifying your own IT staff.

 

Overall advantages to partnering with a Managed Services Provider:

  • Instant access to a large, experienced team.
  • More focused on proactive maintenance.
  • Recommend best tools and strategies to help companies become more productive.
  • Allow companies to focus on their business core value offerings.
  • Stabilize expenses through a standard, unchanging monthly cost.

 

MSP’s tend to offer two types of plans:

Custom Plans

This first kind of plan is akin to a tailored suit—it fits perfectly but is much higher priced. This is the sort of custom service you might receive from mammoth providers and consultants, who mainly service large, global clients with enormous IT environments. While companies of this size and scope are willing to shell out for a high level of customization, most small- to medium-sized companies will get everything they need from a cost-controlled MSP plan. Unless you’re a conglomerate, or a medium-sized business with a big purse, it’s unlikely a customized plan is a viable option.

Standard Plans

Every organization has common technical elements that need attention: hardware support, application support, upgrades, patches, planning, security, backup—the list goes on. The beauty of this configuration is that the customer receives standardized services honed to a high level of both efficiency and effectiveness. Too, the cost is generally a fixed one, and it’s not an obscene number with an uncomfortable amount of commas.

 

But Dynamic Quest offers you three tiers of service.

While most MSPs pigeon-hole your company to fit their flat offerings, or push you to pay for their custom service, we’ve found a happy medium to suit nearly every business we encounter: three distinct tiers of service. This way you find a level of service that suits your business without paying out the wazoo for large MSP customization. It’s a clean and simple solution to an existing consumer problem. See the levels of service below.

  • QuestCare MSP offers an all-inclusive IT solution that includes full strategic support, 24-hour monitoring, reporting, analysis, and preventative maintenance. QuestCare MSP covers all your bases, all the time.
  • QuestCare Remote provides strategic guidance, 24-hour monitoring, reporting, and analysis, but with remote help in lieu of on-site assistance.
  • QuestCare PPM is our most economical solution that guarantees your IT systems are well maintained and downtime is avoided.

These are just 3 of 9 selection criteria we’ve carefully compiled to consider when you partner with an MSP. For access to the full list, among other helpful bits of advice, check out our whitepaper, Nine Key Criteria for Selecting a Managed Services Provider. It’s a guide that will come in handy more than once, and a go-to checklist for helping you choose an MSP that’s right for you.

 

[1] McAfee, “Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime”

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