Many businesses rely on Managed Service Providers (or MSPs) to manage, monitor and maintain their IT environment and to get the best from their technology more broadly. However, not all MSPs are built alike, with some offering sub-par services to their clients. A quality MSP service will be tailored, economical, proactive and strategically oriented, with these qualities enabling them to deliver the best IT support possible to their clients. They should be long-term partners that can scale with your business as a dedicated technology partner.
With a quality MSP on your side, your business has an ally that can help it to reach for the stars. In this piece, we will give you a checklist of qualities to look for in an MSP. Whether you have a provider currently or are considering contracting an MSP for the first time, this guide can be useful to you on your business journey.
Does the MSP offer a tailored and flexible approach?
When it comes to IT, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, therefore it’s crucial to locate a supplier who will customise their services to meet your company’s demands.
There are many ways an MSP can add value to their clients, they may take on some outsourced tasks from the clients IT department or offer a full managed service that covers the whole IT environment. If the provider appears to offer a cookie-cutter approach to managing your business’s IT, it’s very unlikely you will get the full potential value that is possible from an MSP.
This will also be reflected in their pricing model for your business. Do they have a set menu or can they offer bespoke quotes that reflect your needs and meet them more precisely? It can be a waste to pay for things that won’t be used or that do not offer value for the time being, so finding a provider that can continually wrap their services around your needs, is a sign they are dedicated and genuinely prioritise tailored solutions for your business.
Competitive and Transparent Pricing
MSPs offer a range of different pricing models for their services, which include pay as you go support where each call or support ticker is charged for separately, to an all-inclusive support model that offers an unlimited or defined threshold of services for your business at a set monthly cost.
In most cases, companies will benefit from the latter model which will give them access to the full range of IT support services that can enhance and empower the business’s productivity and security. In combination with a tailored service and pricing model, this can be a powerful combo that delivers the most cost-effective value. Be careful to read the fine print in contracts to make sure the deal that has been promised is reflected in the agreement; be wary of complicated billing structures, which can be a way for less scrupulous providers to sneak in hidden fees.
Aligned Skills and Expertise
Businesses will naturally benefit the most from finding a provider that deeply understands their market, technology, compliance requirements, and processes for operating as a business. Alignment essentially acts as a multiplier of the value that your business can enjoy. For example, if you use a mixed environment of Apple Macs and Windows PCs, finding a provider that has specialisms in both can make all the difference. If you operate with Microsoft 365 as a workplace solution and use Microsoft Azure to manage your hosting, a provider that is partnered with Microsoft will be able to deliver more value.
To assess alignment, examine the vendor relationships, certifications, market positioning and enquire about the skills of the team to ensure that their services and expertise align with your needs. Consider this from a future-oriented perspective as well; will the provider be well positioned to meet the demands of how your IT environment could evolve? Do they have a wide-ranging set of skills and project management expertise to orchestrate expansions in your IT environment?
The MSP Are Cybersecurity Specialists
As the world digitises and as technology gets smarter over time, so will cyber criminals and the methods they use. MSPs tend to offer a set of cybersecurity services, with some being more comprehensive than others. What is important is to ensure that they can offer the full scope of protection for your IT infrastructure. This protection often includes:
- Endpoint protection
- Network firewalls
- Threat detection and prevention systems
- User awareness training
- Data backup and disaster recovery solutions
- Industry-grade antivirus
- Intelligent network monitoring systems
- Regular updates and network maintenance
- Deploying and managing Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Cybersecurity becomes even more important if your organisation supports remote working as this adds extra potential vulnerabilities to your network if they are not addressed. Be careful to enquire with potential MSPs about these solutions and the services they can provide to your business to help keep it secure and compliant with regulations such as the GDPR.
They Have a Strategic Focus
A quality MSP will be able to add strategic value to your business, being able to bridge the technical details with your commercial vision. In this way, MSPs can serve as partners that help your business to sharpen its competitive edge. They may have additional capabilities such as the ability to develop bespoke systems and software for your business, and be able to integrate and optimise them in your IT environment.
Check with potential suppliers to ask about how they can collaborate with you to develop an IT strategy. This strategy should also include an IT roadmap for upgrading your IT environment to achieve your strategic goals. An MSP with a strategic focus is one that distinguishes itself as a genuinely proactive technology partner, that can drive profitable growth and value for your business. Like their services, they should be able to tailor the strategic solutions that they suggest or offer, to the needs and context of your business.
Case studies, client testimonials and online reviews
Naturally, social proof is another key element to identifying a great MSP for your business. Look out for their reviews, check their references, examine their case studies as well as client testimonials to see if the feedback that they have received, aligns with their marketing and the most important points of value for your business.
Armco IT: IT Support and Managed Services for Businesses Across York, North and East Yorkshire
There’s nothing we love more than seeing Yorkshire businesses flourish by harnessing the power of IT. Our team of dedicated engineers stands ready to help you overcome any technical challenge and deliver tailored solutions that help your business meet its goals and growth ambitions. From our base in Malton, we deliver proactive IT support and services across York, North and East Yorkshire. We have a strong track record in delivering impactful IT to clients across a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, design and insurance, among many others. We focus on maintaining, optimising and securing your digital estate, so you can focus on the growth and success of your business. Contact our team and let us start our journey together today.