How to Choose an MSP: 3 Considerations

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer optimal IT management for many small and mid-sized business throughout Michigan.

The best MSP will work side-by-side with you to get to know your day-to-day business operations, the technology challenges you face, and your priorities for future growth and success. They’ll leverage their technology expertise to refine and support an IT infrastructure that will allow you and your team to focus on the work you set out to do.

MSPs offer a wide variety of services. A simple comparison of dollars won’t give you a clear picture of the value you’re getting, so it’s important to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples. Do proposals from your potential MSP partners cover support and monitoring of all workstations, servers, firewalls, routers, and switches?

Deciding to partner with an MSP is an investment. As is the case with most investments, price isn’t the only thing that matters. You’ll want to consider several factors in selecting the MSP that is right for your organization.

Here are some key factors to look for when selecting an MSP:

1.) 24/7 Local Support

The majority of businesses don’t operate exclusively on a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday schedule. If you don’t, neither should your MSP. To make sure that your business needs will be met, verify their standard hours and that they offer 24/7/365 support for emergencies. Many MSPs charge additional fees for ‘after-hours’ support, so keep that in mind in your apples to apples comparison.

Remote support can help resolve many IT issues quickly, however, there are always situations where on-site support is necessary. Partnering with an MSP whose technicians are less than an hour’s drive from your office can provide peace of mind under otherwise concerning circumstances. An even better value can be found in a local support team that is intimately familiar with your specific business needs.

A Michigan-based MSP that offers small teams, organized and specialized by client industry who provide remote AND onsite support gives you the best of both worlds.

2.) Satisfied Clients in Your Industry

Having industry-specific insights can be invaluable, so look for an MSP with experience in your field. Choosing an MSP with knowledge of the ins and outs of your industry can protect you from the learning curve of a less specialized MSP.

Every industry has specific technology concerns – HIPAA requirements in healthcare, document confidentiality at law firms, security of proprietary knowledge in manufacturing, and SEC compliance in financial services.

Keep your business, staff and your clients safe by selecting an MSP that knows the hardware, software and compliance standards for your industry. Don’t be afraid to ask for case studies or references from existing clients like you.

3.) Forward-Thinking Strategy

Strategic planning is critical to the ongoing success of any business. It’s impossible to know everything about everything, so surrounding yourself with knowledgeable advisers is a smart strategy. Talk to who your main points of contact will be and ask for their CVs (or check out their LinkedIn profile). Do they have years of experience in strategic IT roles, or are they primarily sales? A good MSP partner should put business before technology for technology’s sake. Look for a partner who proposes projects that clearly align with your strategic plan with a great ROI, and a realistic plan to pay for them.

Once your systems are up-to-date and your day-to-day support needs are met, will your IT partner be ready to address future technology needs, and know what advances will bolster your company’s success? A proactive MSP will make recommendations for improvements beyond upgrading your hardware. They will also suggest best practices for improved workflow, security awareness, and software stability.

Strategically partnering with the right MSP will help your business run better by providing you with a highly skilled team and process-driven approach to managing your IT systems.