How to Choose the Best MSP Partner Possible

By Laura Stotler

Organizations of all sizes are increasingly turning to managed services providers (MSPs) to handle their IT services. While the most popular managed services are typically hosting, storage and backup and security, businesses are choosing MSPs to handle a variety of technology tasks.

The most compelling reason to work with a MSP is cost, like most important business decisions. MSPs have trusted hardware and network infrastructure in place, freeing up their customers from having to invest in, manage and maintain expensive equipment. Cost should not be the only factor when choosing a MSP, however, and businesses need to examine a few variables to ensure they’ve made the best choice possible when selecting a partner.

Perhaps the best way to gauge whether a MSP is the right fit for your organization is to look at their client list. Does the service provider work with other companies similar to yours? Do they have experience in your particular industry, working with companies of your size with similar business models? If the answer is yes, the next logical step will be to speak to those existing customers and find out what their experience with the MSP has been to date. A trusted MSP with a proven track record will have plenty of client references available and offer up customers willing to chat about their experiences.

Scalability is another important consideration when choosing a MSP. A good service provider will be in it for the long haul, and that means they’ll be able to accommodate your specific business needs as your organization scales and grows. Just as it’s important to have a business plan and goals for growing your own business, it’s imperative that you speak to a potential MSP partner about their growth plans and goals. A good partner will be able to scale organically with your business and provide support as you grow your needs accordingly.

The ideal MSP partner will offer proactive customer support, handling downtime and emergencies autonomously. Reliable MSPs have remote monitoring and management systems in place that will alert them of potential issues before they impact service, and a trusted partner will consistently stay on top of any problems. Similarly, a good MSP will work well with your company’s in-house IT team, keeping them apprised of issues as they arise. An ideal MSP partner will clearly delineate which tasks and processes it will handle and manage, freeing your IT staff to focus on their core competencies and long-term business goals.

Once your business has determined which MSP will be the best long-term partner, a comprehensive service level agreement (SLA) is vital to ensure the relationship is clearly defined. The agreement will cover short- and long-term service rollout and management and will include protocol about what will happen in the event of a problem or downtime.

By performing due diligence when selecting and partnering with a MSP, organizations can ensure they are making the best long-term choice that will align with their business model and goals. Putting in the work of researching, vetting and creating a partnership agreement with a MSP upfront will save businesses time and money as well as the headache of making a bad match and regretting the decision down the road.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

MSPToday Contributing Editor

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