More and more businesses are turning to managed IT services providers (MSPs) for their business IT needs. Working with an MSP lets businesses leverage the expertise and experience of top industry professionals for less than the cost of a full-time IT specialist.
However, not all MSPs are created equal and it can be tough to know which one you should partner with, especially when there are dozens of them in Charlotte, North Carolina. To help narrow down your search, here are the four things you should look for in an MSP.
Make sure the MSP has expertise in the IT services your business needs. For example, if you're thinking of having your own customer service hotline, then you’ll need them to have Voice over Internet Protocol services. However, it would be great if they also have experience rolling out different services in case your company adopts these in the future.
In addition, ask the following questions to make sure you pick a qualified and reputable MSP:
- Do they have up-to-date certifications and licenses?
- Does the company and/or the staff have accreditations and awards that prove their effectiveness and reliability?
- Are they partnered with leading tech companies, such as Microsoft, SonicWall, Dell, and Cisco?
- Do they stay abreast with the latest tech advancements by following industry news and attending partner conferences?
2. Relevant experience
It's best to partner with an MSP that has plenty of experience working with businesses of the same size and industry as yours. The needs of smaller companies differ from those of large enterprises, and you need an MSP that can cater to your unique needs. Also, if your industry is subject to certain compliance standards, like those imposed by HIPAA for the healthcare sector, your MSP should ensure that your IT systems abide by industry requirements.
When choosing an MSP, review the resumes of staff members with relevant experience. Read reviews and testimonials and ask for client references from your industry. You can also request case studies and assess how well the MSP handled IT environments that are similar to yours.
3. Competitive SLA
Before hiring an MSP, ask for their proposed service level agreement (SLA), which should outline the following details:
- Services to be provided
- Availability (e.g., 24/7 or within office hours only)
- Guaranteed incident response times
- Type of support and maintenance provided (e.g., remote, on-site, or both)
- Escalation process and contingency plans if they fail to handle your issue immediately
- Clause for client compensation if they violate the SLA (e.g., discount on the next month’s service fee)
By reviewing their SLA, you would know exactly what to expect from the MSP and determine if they can meet your business requirements. To test how well they'll fulfill the SLA, call their hotline beyond office hours or during off-peak seasons and see how well they handle your call.
Although many MSPs offer monthly plans, it’s best to think of them as long-term partners. A good MSP develops a thorough understanding of your business goals, challenges, and existing IT environment over time. That’s why you should ensure that you pick a provider with a stable business that will be around for many years and who can help ensure that your IT systems are resilient, scalable, and aligned with your plans.
You can evaluate the MSP’s stability by answering these questions:
- How long have they been operational?
- How many existing clients do they have and what is their customer retention rate?
- How big is their workforce?
- How are their financial rating and credit scores?
Choosing SpectrumWise as your MSP will be among the best IT decisions you could ever make. When you partner with us, you can focus on your clients since you know that we’re always looking after your technology. Schedule a consultation with us today.