How to Choose a Managed IT Service Provider
Vivacity Technologies is not a Managed Service Provider (MSP), but we can help you determine the best way to choose one for your business. Vivacity Technologies is an independent IT consulting firm headquartered in Kamloops, British Columbia. We provide audits and assessments on IT environments for businesses to ensure IT Service Providers, also known as Managed Service Providers, are providing the right solutions for their customers. This includes security, application management, infrastructure services and IT operations. The first question you may have is: What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?
An MSP is a person or company that delivers IT services, such as security and IT infrastructure, through regular support and administration. An MSP should act as an extension of your team, brought in to support your operations while you concentrate on your core operations. Some MSPs focus on specific areas of IT management while others offer a set of broad service.
At Vivacity Technologies we fully understand the value of an MSP. Many MSPs offer a great service and value, while a few do not. With this article we hope to shed some light on how you can pick a good MSP to support your business.
The second question you may have is: When do I need an MSP or IT Service Provider?
There are several pain points that may indicate your business will benefit from engaging the services of an MSP, including:
Little inhouse technical knowledge;
Growing staff numbers;
Multiple office/facility locations;
High security or privacy requirements;
Need for compliance to laws, or accepted standards;
A desire to outsource noncore operations.
If any of these points apply to you, you should consider seeking out a Managed Service Provider. As you begin your search, here are some tips for finding a great IT Service provider.
Security – There’s no shortage of headlines about organizations being taken down by ransomware, because of phishing, malware or hackers. Having a modern security posture is critical, so choose an MSP that can provide adequate protection from IT-related security threats. Mechanisms such as staff awareness, round the clock monitoring, and infrastructure management can provide a vital line of defense for your business.
Training - For firms to fully benefit from modern IT services, your organization needs an MSP who will literally hold your hand as your staff adapt to new technologies and procedures. Training is paramount and today can be delivered easily through remote or onsite workshops. Make sure your MSP is going to be there to implement and train your employees to operate efficiently.
Transparency and communication – You may not know how to navigate your entire IT environment, but a good MSP will ensure you have the ability to see the whole picture and communicate this to you. This means knowing what the MSP is doing for your business and the future roadmap. They should be available to answer questions and help you understand both what they are doing and why. Openness, accountability, and regular communications are key to having a positive working relationship.
Scaling and anticipating your needs – the best MSPs are the ones working behind the scenes, anticipating your needs and reacting to issues swiftly. Additionally, your organization will scale, but so will the MSPs. Make sure the MSP has a plan in place so they won't forget about your organization as a new shiny client comes along.
Available on your schedule – Figure out when your business needs an MSP on call. If you operate 24/7, 365 days a year, then the MSP will need to follow suit. If you have plenty of downtime during your operations, then make sure the solution offered reflects this.
In general, you might not be an IT expert, and that’s why you probably need one. So picking a provider with both technical skills and industry expertise can be important. Additionally, choose a provider with diverse technical skills that are able to competently troubleshoot IT issues and provide valuable network administration services. With the MSP on your side, you’ll have more time to grow your business and less stress knowing your company’s IT infrastructure is in safe, capable hands.
Finally, MSPs should have some understanding of your specific business needs. While researching potential IT Service Providers, check out past and current clients to see if they have experience serving similar business types. Read testimonials. Ask for referrals. Find reviews. While most IT service providers serve multiple industries, it’s incredibly helpful to find one that has experience implementing IT solutions that will be of significant benefit within your industry.
These are just a few tips on how to choose the optimal MSP for your business. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our What We Do page and book a free 20-minute meeting with us to discuss your needs.