As a business owner, when you want to offload technical responsibilities, that leaves a critical question: how to choose a Managed Services Provider (MSP)? While individual MSPs may focus more on compliance (for example, if you work in the healthcare industry), there are certain qualities that universally mark a good MSP. These include experience, scalability, 360-degree coverage, and service visibility.
In this article, you’ll learn what to look for in an MSP, what to look for in managed security services, and the technical questions to ask a qualifying MSP.
How to Choose a Managed Services Provider: Top 4 Tips
1. Your MSP Should Be Experienced
Though looking for an experienced MSP seems obvious, the importance of a knowledgeable MSP can’t be overstated—you’re entrusting this company with vulnerable company data. For starters, your MSP should have certified skills that go beyond the basics.
In your questions to ask an MSP, ask about their skills with databases, virtualization, cross-platform integration, and public and private cloud technologies. All of these services are essential to your technical uptime and preventing profit loss. With their experience, your MSP should also have a positive track record with current and previous clients.
2. A Proactive Approach to Repair
Though the break/fix approach might seem cheaper at first glance, you’ll end up paying more in the long run for the lack of maintenance in the interim. You can save money by getting out ahead of potential technical problems—by deploying comprehensive data security, network monitoring, and establishing reliable incident response.
With a proactive approach to repair, your MSP should implement advanced technology that prevents incidents from occurring. Data assessment is also critical for incident prevention—you’ll get a snapshot of patterns of failure across processes, information that contributes to better security.
3. Customer Service and Response Time
When you outsource your IT services as a small- to medium-sized business, you need prompt service to keep your systems operational. Many MSPs offer 24/7/365 coverage, and that includes fast response even if a service fails late at night.
4. Security Operations and Cyber Threats
With an ever-evolving digital threat landscape, your MSP needs to stay ahead of the game. While some MSPs specialize in higher levels of security, many providers offer some cyber security solutions. Common security tools include:
- Email security, including phishing protection
- Endpoint protection, to completely protect all of your organization’s devices
- Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) software, to aggregate information about threats and patch vulnerabilities before they can be exploited
5. Services Should Scale to Suit Your Needs
Your business’s needs change over time as your company grows, and the services your MSP offers should do the same. Your MSP should offer cyber security, desktop support, and network and infrastructure management—and that’s only the beginning. Based on your business needs, your MSP should make suggestions for services, so you’re not paying for what you don’t use.
Your organization’s details inform the creation of an endpoint detection and response (EDR) plan. If your business is growing, make sure your MSP can take on managing additional devices. And, if you ever need to downscale operations, your MSP should be able to accommodate these changes, with adjustments in pricing.
How to Choose Managed Security Services
Functionally similar to an MSP, a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) focuses on network security services—implementing security as a service. How do you choose managed security services? Keep an eye out for:
- Customized solutions: Is your MSSP able to successfully deploy the security necessities you need?
- User experience: Does your MSSP provide visibility on the health of your network and other vulnerable systems?
- Responsiveness: Do you get a timely response when something goes wrong?
- Technology: Does your MSSP explain what security technology it uses and how that contributes to your overall security standing?
Ask these questions, and choosing an MSSP should be simple. Before you sign off on a Service Level Agreement (SLA), however, make sure you understand what security services you’re paying for, how delivery is measured, and how you can access information. MSSP businesses protect your data with enterprise-grade security and threat response.
MSP Qualifying Questions: What to Ask a Prospective MSP
In your questions to ask during MSP discovery, you need to get a grasp on how your MSP does business—their working philosophy, priorities, and what they offer in terms of services. Questions to ask your IT MSP include:
- Does your MSP offer services beyond basic device management and monitoring?
- What is your average response time?
- What services set you apart from your competitors?
If you’re looking for more information on the technical aspects of your MSP, here are some technical questions to ask your qualifying msp:
- What security solutions do you use?
- How experienced is your support team?
- What certifications does your company have?
- What are your core competencies?
- How can you improve our efficiency?
- What’s included in the price?
- How can you reduce costs?
Your managed services vendor selection criteria hinges around the size of your business, industry regulation (for example, if you work in healthcare and your IT needs to be HIPAA compliant), and what managed IT services you need.
Safeguard Your Data With the Right MSP
The cost of protecting your business, data, and processes is growing.
As data breaches continue to grow in frequency and impact, now averaging $4.24 million per breach, it raises the question of whether your business has enough protection.
From improving your security posture through advanced system hardening to simplifying your tech management, our world-class managed service provider can eliminate your technology worries today and ensure all your corners are covered.
Supporting more than 3,500 endpoints and bringing more than 7 years of experience to every engagement, you can rest assured knowing that your current (and future) IT needs will be met.
Better security, performance, and tech management is just a click away – contact us to find out more.