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To Sign or Not To Sign: Comparing Managed Service Providers

When evaluating if an MSP is the right fit for your business, consider the following: do they communicate personally? Have you been to their office? Do you know their escalation process? Are you familiar with what is in their SLA? Are they independently audited for security? Do they plan for the future? Most importantly: how do they make you feel?

To sign or not to sign. That’s how the saying goes, right? Luckily, we don’t claim to be English literature experts.

However Shakespearean you want to get, the question is valid. And it’s one almost every business faces. Especially if they’re:

  • Scaling up or down
  • Looking for higher security
  • Have compliance requirements
  • Have remote offices and/or workers
  • Don’t want to deal with IT issues anymore

Sound familiar? For these businesses, IT is the last thing on their mind. Unless, of course, it’s causing problems. When IT isn’t working right, the consequences are:

  • Lost time
  • Lost sleep
  • Lost money

That’s where managed service providers (MSPs) come in. But, every MSP is different. From team structure to focus areas, even down to business ideologies.

How can you evaluate MSPs and make the right choice? These seven simple steps will help you decide to sign or not to sign:

Step 1
Observe how they communicate with you.

Right from the start, observe how the MSP talks with you. Do they want to meet face-to-face? Or is everything by phone and email? Good MSPs want to be a business partner. That means putting faces to names and establishing real connections.

Step 2
Visit their office for a tour.

A confident MSP will invite you to tour their office before signing. They’ll want to introduce you to the team and show you how things are run. If your MSP doesn’t want outsiders, that’s a red flag. Either their business isn’t what they advertised or they’re not willing to be transparent with you.

Step 3
Ask them to explain their team structure and escalation process.

Really, a quality MSP will explain this without being prompted. But if you have to ask, here’s a few things to look for: a help desk, dedicated teams and a strict ticket escalation process. You want to be sure that tickets are handled correctly.

MSPs without structure and process waste your time. Case in point: our response time is 11 minutes on average. That’s compared to the industry average of 3-7 hours.

Step 4
Examine what will be included in your agreement plan (SLA) and what won’t.

Is the agreement plan cheap, but full of pricey add-ons? Is support, including onsite, standard? Does the MSP offer emergency and after-hours service? Reading the fine print, you may find that a more expensive, but all-inclusive plan is a better deal than a cheap, but bare bones, one.

Step 5
Consider their security audits and compliance.

Think about your compliance requirements. What about HIPAA and SOC? While your business may be compliant, working with vendors who aren’t is risky. Third-party problems can happen, leaving you in breach of compliance.

Law firms and healthcare organizations should be especially mindful of which MSPs they partner with.

Step 6
Take note of their roadmapping strategy.

IT isn’t just here and now. It’s something that grows with your business. Whether your goals are to expand offices, hire remote workers, move to the cloud or something else, your IT should evolve alongside.

A quality MSP will have specific employees to plan your 3-to-5 year roadmap. We call them principal consultants.

Step 7
Ask yourself, “How do they make me feel?”.

Perhaps most importantly, how does the MSP make you feel? Do you feel positive after meeting or is something nagging you? Don’t ignore your instincts. This MSP will have access to all your technology so you want to feel 100% comfortable and confident.

To sign or not to sign. The decision requires some thought. But with these steps, you have a head start in choosing the right MSP for your business. Learn how we stack up against these seven steps. Call today and let’s talk.

iVenture Solutions is an award-winning managed service provider delivering superior IT solutions to clients across Florida.

As a leading-edge IT firm for small and medium-sized businesses, we provide a diverse range of services covering the entire scope of IT including maintenance, support, hosting and more.

Through rapid response time, reduction of chaos and the right people, our expert team of IT professionals will fulfill your technology needs. At iVenture, we give you more time to do what matters most.

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