Technology |June 11, 2019

Selecting a Managed IT Service Provider – questions to ask

Sean Stynes
June 11, 2019

The ever-increasing complexity, advancements, and critical nature of information technology make it both impractical and risky for small to medium-sized companies to go it alone. Outdated applications, slow systems, operational lapses, and security breaches have the potential to damage your reputation and bottom line in the short term, and risk your viability in the long term.

The strategic importance of selecting the right Managed Service Provider cannot be understated, as they become an integrated business partner on whom you’ll depend to proactively oversee and administer your technology infrastructure and the data within it.

An alignment of expectations is crucial for a successful relationship. The following questions can help guide your selection process.

  • Does the MSP have standard processes and a proven process?
  • Will they build a strategic plan and budget from which to operate?
  • Will they be proactive in keeping infrastructure, systems and capabilities cutting edge while simultaneously facilitating opportunities for your leadership and involvement?
  • How are systems and the quality of the systems maintained to industry standards?
  • Is there a plan for Risk Management?
  • How is data secured (redundancy, stored, protected)?
  • How are staff and infrastructure protected within a plan for cybersecurity?
  • What services do they offer as a part of the contract, and are they flexible?
  • Do they understand your specific industry and corresponding corporate needs?
  • What level of day-to-day support is provided – how are systems monitored, emergency support dispatched, and helpdesk coverage supplied?
  • Who is on their team, and with whom (and how) will you interact with them? (Be sure to contact current customers for references and testimonials.)
  • What sets them apart from their competition?

As you explore questions to gauge the provider’s expertise, capabilities, and competence you’ll gain insight into their business philosophy. Because this will be one of the most important business relationships you’ll have, it’s critical to find a good fit. In the end, trust your gut.

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