Operating your business without a managed service provider (MSP) in your corner is just as risky as driving recklessly without a seat belt – someone’s going to get hurt.
It’s hard to find a business these days that doesn’t rely on technology. Sure, some businesses have online storefronts, secure client portals, and other advanced tech. But even those that utilize the bare minimum still need an expert to ensure they don’t lose their entire business because of a simple error. It may surprise you what the click of one nefarious link could do to a business.
But when it comes down to hiring an MSP, how do you choose the right one?
Ask These Questions Before Signing A Service Agreement
Here are the top 9 questions you should ask a prospective managed service provider.
1. Do You Have References Or Testimonials?
Any professional, in the IT industry or otherwise, should be quick to provide references and testimonials. Especially any company with a website presence should take advantage of the opportunity to highlight their best reviews for potential clients like you to review.
However, you should still make sure your potential MSP has multiple positive reviews. And these reviews should exist across different channels such as Yelp, Facebook, Google, and tech-centric review sites.
In addition to reviews, it’s also helpful to personally speak to a real life client. Before or during your consultation, ask the MSP for references you can contact. Ask the reference about their experience, any surprise fees, response times, and how their solutions have performed.
At Brooks IT Services, our work speaks for itself. We are happy to provide testimonials and references. Contact us today to get started.
2. What Are Your Company’s Core Competencies?
No one is perfect at everything. But IT experts tend to focus their core competencies on their strengths.
You should work with an MSP whose core competencies match your IT needs. Your needs could include:
- Strengthening cyber security
- Improving user experience on your website and app
- Security protocols
- Monitoring your operating system
- Implementing improved processes for increased productivity
- Disaster recovery plans
Okay, here’s the thing – some MSPs may be able to handle all of the above. But you need to make sure they are truly competent and not learning as they go with you as their guinea pig. Sometimes, it’s better for a potential vendor to admit when something is out of their wheelhouse. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a no-go. Instead, find out what providers they partner with to ensure their clients receive the best service possible for all their needs.
3. What Experience Do You Have With Compliance And Regulation Authorities?
If you work in healthcare or another highly regulated industry, an MSP who understands your compliance requirements is a must.
Each industry with compliance regulations requires specific knowledge about the industry. This means that because someone understands the requirements for online merchants doesn’t necessarily have a thorough understanding of healthcare compliance.
Find out what experience your potential MSP has in your industry. Ask to speak to a relevant reference who can confirm the MSP has the know-how you need.
If your industry needs to meet compliance regulations, you need an MSP you can count on. Contact Brooks IT Services today to learn how we can help you.
4. Do You Have A Business Continuity Plan?
Houstonians know a thing or two about floods. And now, we’re unfortunately well-versed in electrical grid damaging freezing temperatures. Add in the risk of computer virus outbreaks, ransomware, spyware, and more – how can you ensure your business can continue to operate if you encounter any of the above?
Moreover, how can you ensure your MSP will still be able to help you in case of a power outage or other emergency?
This is why you need to ask this question in two parts:
- How do you keep your business running during natural disasters or if you fall victim to a hack or virus?
- How will you keep my business running in all of those same scenarios?
It’s much easier and cost effective to implement proactive solutions to ensure business continuity. Find out how your potential MSP gets it done, and make sure that works for you.
5. What Services Are Out Of Your Scope?
As mentioned above with core competencies, you need to know what services your MSP is capable of, and what’s out of their scope.
While some tasks may be better outsourced to experts in your MSP’s network – like building a website for instance – what’s important is to have a clear understanding. Too many operate under the notion of fake it ‘til you make it. While that has certainly worked out for some, it’s not the kind of work ethic you want from a specialized service provider.
Find out what is out of the MSPs scope. And should you need those services, ask who they will refer to get the job done.
6. What Services Are Performed Internally, And What Is Outsourced?
Many successful companies outsource some of their services and tasks. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, but you need to know.
For instance, if one of your clients, investors, or partners asks what you outsource, will you pretend like you do it all? I hope not!
Because running your business takes a lot of time and focus. Investors, partners, and clients won’t be impressed by your trying to do it all. In fact, they’re more likely to be concerned.
7. Are You Able To Scale With Our Growing Business?
Everyone has to start somewhere, including your small business. This is why it’s so important to utilize scalable solutions that will grow with your business – and budget.
As a small business with few or zero employees, you don’t need the resources of a major corporation. However, if your business does experience growth, quickly or organically, you need to be prepared. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself halting productivity to reassess processes to keep up with demand.
Rather than pigeonhole your business, make sure your MSP is helping you to implement hardware and software that will scale as your business grows.
8. How Will You Reduce Our Workload & Increase Our Productivity?
Ahhh, the most important question! To some, at least…
You want to outsource your IT needs for several reasons. The most important being that if you’re not a full-time, professional IT expert, then you aren’t capable of providing the solutions your business deserves. Another important aspect is to increase productivity through optimized technology and processes.
The right MSP will be able to both reduce your workload and increase your productivity.
9. What Is Your Response Time For IT Emergencies?
A quick response time to the usual service request is one thing. But in the event of an emergency, you need an immediate response.
Emergencies can include:
- Security breach
- Data held hostage
- Devices stolen
- And more
Go over your potential MSP’s response times for different scenarios. A good MSP will be able to know the difference between normal requests and emergencies. Because when it comes to your livelihood, time is of the essence.
BITS Is The MSP You Can Trust To Get The Job Done
You’ve put your money, time, sweat, and tears into building your business. Unfortunately, those efforts don’t equate to the security and optimization your business needs. But with Brooks IT Services as your MSP, we can provide you with the solutions to ensure security, productivity, and scalability. Schedule a consultation today and let’s get started.