For start-ups and SMEs alike, the right MSP is essential

3 MSP questionsA Managed Service Provider (MSP) will perform far more tasks for the benefit of your company than simply outsourcing your IT will ever do.  Whatever sector your company specializes in, you’ll need your technology to be up to date and capable, enabling you to compete with your neighbors in an effective way.  A good MSP takes the strain out of this process; they’ll offer straightforward solutions that work with the needs of you and your clients, at a pre-determined cost.

Here are some questions you should ask your potential MSP vendors when looking for a proposal:

    1. Can they provide what you need for what you can afford?  Be frank with a potential vendor about your current financial situation – when they know their budget they can give an honest appraisal of what can be achieved.
    2. What is their contract term minimum?  It’s unlikely that an MSP will try to impose a long contract. These are a daunting prospect at the best of times, as most companies are unsure of how their fortunes will change over an extended period of time.
    3. Will someone be there for you when you call, and how soon?  Enquire about the level of assistance on offer in times of need; this may be in the form of a representative visiting you on-site or a help desk.  If you only anticipate needing support during office time, ensure that your MSP keeps the same hours as your business.  Alternatively, should the nature of your service mean 24-hour help is crucial, for example in the case of some healthcare firms, check the MSP will be able to meet this need.

For the majority of SMEs, selecting the right provider is not going to be a case of choosing the most economical option.  MSPs come in all shapes and sizes, so some will be better suited to your needs than others.  Before signing a contract, consider what you hope to gain, whether it is better control of risk, new infrastructure without investment, or general help with making your business more productive.  In doing so you are more likely to make an informed decision and go on to enjoy a successful partnership with your MSP.