Your guide to choosing the right MSP
Your Managed Service Provider can be a source of security, convenience and value for your business. Not to mention on-demand support when it comes to anticipating and resolving potential problems.
But how do you go about selecting an IT partner?
Is it as simple as choosing the most cost-effective provider? How about the company with the biggest portfolio of services?
Here are a few things to look out for when you’re choosing your business’s MSP:
How to find the right IT partner
No matter the type of business you run, you will get the most out of your IT support service when it has:
1) Services which fit your business
What do you need your MSP to do for you? Will that change over time as your business grows?
Ideally, you want your IT support service to be flexible enough to scale as your business does. You might be planning to expand geographically, to grow the number of services you provide – or optimise the way you deliver those services.
What matters is that your MSP’s services actually fit your business. Don’t waste your money on a partner which wants you to pay for services you don’t need.
2) Coverage which is complete
Not all IT support companies cover all ways of working. Unfortunately, working with multiple MSPs is always going to make your life more complicated.
Stay on the lookout for an IT partner which can support you whatever you need to do. Whether you are figuring out how to work from home or in the office, from on-site servers or with cloud-based services.
Having one provider which covers everything will make your IT smoother, more efficient and more centralised.
3) Support which goes beyond the basic
It’s often a mistake to use an MSP just to keep things ticking along. A good IT support partner can do more than just be there in an emergency.
You should be able to call on your chosen partner when you want to:
- Improve – the way your technology helps you run your business
- Grow – whatever changes you want to make – upgrade software or hardware, migrate to the cloud – a good MSP can make technology transitions smooth and easy
- Sustain – so you know you can count on your IT to do what you need it to
- Optimise – get advice as to how to make the best use of your team’s time, your technology spend and plan for the future
4) Communication which is clear
When it comes to your team, you’re likely to have a mix of abilities when it comes to IT proficiency. Some might be budding Mark Zuckerbergs. Others might exhibit levels of tech-savvy more in keeping with one of Mark Wahlberg‘s characters.
Whichever is the case, you want to be working with a partner who can dial their need to spout computer jargon up or down in order to communicate clearly. Equally, you want them to listen carefully when you have a problem which you need them to identify and solve.
Ideally, you’ll also be looking for an MSP which provides:
- Personal account managers matched to your business (so you can build a solid working relationship with your contact)
- Regular remote or onsite check-ins
5) Questions which it wants to ask you
You will find that an IT support service which will end up being a good fit for your business will want to know more about you.
They won’t want to provide a simple blanket one-size-fits-all service. Because they know it won’t work as well.
Be ready to provide in-depth information about what your business is and how you work at the moment when you’re shopping around for an IT partner.
On the flip side, you might want to consider whether you really want to use a service when the only information they seem to want is your credit card details.
6) References which you can check
You can get a quick overview of how good your prospective MSP is by checking their:
- Online reviews and testimonials
- Reputation with their clients
- Reputation with other businesses you trust
- Accreditations and partnerships
These latter references are important things to look out for.
By way of a frame of reference, Dial A Geek is a Microsoft Silver Partner (not an easy thing to achieve) and has Cyber Essentials Certificate accreditation (a government-backed scheme from the National Cyber Security Centre), as well as being a member of CiSP (Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership).
7) Answers which it can provide
There’s no better test of whether an MSP is going to be a good fit for you than asking them some difficult questions. We’d recommend:
- Who will be responsible for looking after me day to day?
- Do you specialise in one sector?
- What’s your customer retention rate?
- Do you get more revenue from fixing problems or anticipating them?
- What’s the worst disaster you’ve ever dealt with?
Get in touch, see how long it takes them to get back to you and what they have to say when they do.
We get into more details about this in our PDF guide to choosing the right MSP, called ‘5 Difficult Questions to Ask Your IT Support Company’ (you can download it from here).
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968 businesses in Bristol and the UK already rely on Dial A Geek for their IT support.
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