Managed service providers (MSPs) are changing the game for small and medium-sized businesses. Currently, a third of SMBs outsource their IT functions to MSPs, and that percentage is set to rise in the coming years, as more organizations realize the value of tapping into a whole team of IT experts at a fraction of the cost of hiring a single IT professional in-house.
While many companies increasingly rely on MSPs, they’re not necessarily getting as much value out of these partnerships as they could. Too often, organizations see MSPs simply as outsourced IT help desks. But they can be so much more. A good MSP will help you to unlock the potential of digitalization within your company, empowering you to deliver a better customer experience, unlock new revenue streams and boost employee productivity.
Here’s everything you need to know about making the most of your MSP.
What Services Should You Expect From an MSP?
For those unfamiliar with MSPs, it can be difficult to know what you should expect. A good MSP will help you with:
- Technical support and installation: Your MSP can help you with planning and deploying IT projects. They’ll also attend your offices regularly to check everything is running as it should be, and provide maintenance support as needed.
- Remote monitoring and assistance: Your MSP should proactively monitor your IT systems, applications and network 24/7. If any issue arises, they’ll solve it before it becomes a bigger problem. In instances where one of your employees experiences an issue, they’ll also help with remote troubleshooting.
- Cybersecurity support: Your MSP should help you to bolster your security defenses, so your business is safe from common security threats like malware, ransomware, phishing and data theft. Other security duties they should carry out include patching, employee awareness training and anti-virus implementation.
- Cloud application support: More SMBs are relying on cloud applications like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. Your MSP should support you in making the most out of these applications.
- Avoiding downtime: Downtime is crippling to the bottom line, but it can strike at any moment. Your MSP will help you to remain up-and-running 99% of the time, so that you can avoid this heavy cost and deliver an excellent service to your clients.
- Business strategy: Look to your MSP to help you develop your business for the digital age. The right partner will help you use IT strategically to enhance business processes.
Qualities To Look for In an MSP
Now you know what an MSP can do for you, it’s time to think about finding the right one. Remember, to unlock strategic value, you need to look for an MSP with an eye to the long-term. Often, it takes at least a year to see the return on investment for some initiatives, so you need to choose a partner that you trust, that you get along well and that has the experience you need to realize your goals.
With that in mind, look for an MSP that is:
- Committed: Your MSP should care about your business. You are their client, and they should do their utmost to help you unlock the potential of IT in your organization.
- Communicative: All great relationships are built on a foundation of strong communication. Is your MSP responsive? Do they reach out to you proactively? Can you call them and know they’ll pick up?
- Consultative: Beyond troubleshooting, does your MSP offer proactive, insightful advice about how technology can enhance your business? Can they help you to unlock the potential of AI and machine learning, for example?
- Certified and experienced: Does your MSP have reputable qualifications that make them suitable for the job? It’s also worth asking for case studies or testimonials so you can check on the experience of your partner.
- Cost effective: Most MSPs offer their services via fixed monthly retainers. It’s vital to find a price that’s sustainable for your business. We advise avoiding MSPs that offer their prices on a break/fix model. There’s an unpredictability to this that could easily lead to skyrocketing costs.
- Considerate: From the get-go, your MSP should show you they mean business. The onboarding phase should be carefully thought out and explained to you in detail so you know exactly what to expect and aren’t taken by surprise.
- Clear objectives: Your MSP should outline clear objectives it plans to achieve for your business, based on tangible goals that they can measure and track against to demonstrate their progress to you. This will help you to build trust in the work that they do.
Beyond these qualities, we also recommend looking for an MSP that has the ability to scale up and down with your needs. It may be that, some months, you need extra consultative support, while other times you want to scale back. Make sure your MSP can grow with your business and adapt to your needs.
Let Us Be Your Strategic Partner!
For small businesses, IT needs can become overwhelming. Our team brings over 20 years of experience to help make sure your business stays online and stays secure. Contact us today and let’s get started.