Let’s say your boss has decided to explore what’s needed to offload most of your company’s IT needs to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). While you have an idea of what to look for, you’re reluctant because IT is not your main focus and one of the many responsibilities you have. This raises more than a few questions. How quickly will they be able to fix specific issues, how much will it cost? How long will the transition take?

You know this is a change that needs to happen for several reasons, but what things should you be looking for when searching through the hundreds of MSPs out there?

Let’s dive into what to look for when conducting your search.

What do I Need my MSP to do?
One of the most important things to look for when choosing an MSP is to feel that they genuinely understand your business’s objectives. What you are trying to achieve, how can I scale my current model, and how can my network give each of my employees the tools they need to fulfill their job function properly? An MSP that is genuinely interested and willing to support your environment will ask questions like “what are the model numbers of your switches, your phones, how old are your servers, and the purpose they serve.” If they’re coming out the gate trying to sell you products and solutions without first understanding the infrastructure you already have in place, they aren’t too concerned with making your tools work better for you. The more they understand about your current environment, the better prepared they can be to recommend beneficial changes to you or better leverage technologies you already have.

What Should I Offload to an MSP?
This is a very business-specific point. What parts of your infrastructure do you want to manage yourselves? Are you spending all day resetting passwords, running from site to site doing hardware replacements and updates? Your team could be spending that time innovating and improving your existing network. Leverage your MSP to handle those time-consuming tasks that keep your team from working on those bigger-picture projects.

What Should I not Offload to an MSP?
So, you’ve decided to offload your server infrastructure, network, and day-to-day support. There are some things your MSP should be flexible with you on, primarily your data management. While they can support some of the infrastructures the data resides on, they should also be willing to help you secure that information, so the only people with access are the ones that need it. Financial data, privileged information, and intellectual property are just some examples of such data.‍

Good Things to Ask Your Prospective MSP?
How periodic is your reporting?

Do you provide active dashboards?

Can you provide us a runbook?

What is the average size of your partnered companies?

What verticals does your company support?

Who’s behind the Service Desk?

Is your company technology agnostic or technology-specific?

Can you provide me some of your client’s references?

Are you able to dispatch on-site?

How often will I hear from you after I sign this contract?

Arming yourself with the necessary information when choosing an MSP will have beneficial long-term effects for your company. Now that you’re equipped with the important questions, your future partnership will be built around a in depth knowledge of your environment, your business’ needs and objectives, and a fundamental understanding of your company’s plan for the future.

Download e-book – 8 Red Flags to look out for when choosing an MSP.