What is an MSP? And what to look for when choosing one.
Managed Services Provider (MSP)
(Dry and dull) definition of an MSP
OK, let’s start with the textbook definition of an MSP, thanks to Gartner.
A managed service provider (MSP) delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration on customers’ premises, in their MSP’s data center (hosting), or in a third-party data center.
What is an MSP in English?
An MSP will manage and maintain your IT for your business, so you don’t have to.
Let’s go into a bit more detail. The two key terms from the above two definitions are:
- ongoing and regular support
- manage and maintain
The key concepts here involve an ongoing and trusted relationship with a company that is an expert in IT. The MSP will keep an eye on what is happening in your network and understand the new and complex threats and conditions outside of it. They will then make sure your network is protected and monitored so you can reduce your risk of unavailable computer systems.
In addition to protecting your environment, an MSP will support you and your team so you can work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
We call this Managed IT Support. It means that you can rest easy knowing your systems are in good hands, so you can manage your business.
Here are six crucial things to know before hiring an MSP
So now you know what an MSP is and what they provide. So how do you choose a good one for your business?
1. Read customer testimonials, online reviews and case studies
Selecting an MSP should be similar to any other business investment you would make. That’s why you should do your research and due diligence into managing your IT systems for peace of mind.
Reading case studies, customer success stories, testimonials, and online reviews are helpful. You will be able to identify the MSP’s history, reputation and customer service they have provided other businesses.
2. Determine what IT support you need
Managed service providers can offer various levels of support to your business, including total comprehensive IT support.
Do you need data backup, network monitoring and management, or endpoint security? The answer to this question will be yes, yes and yes.
Spending time deciding and researching what IT support you need will ensure you select the right MSP for your business.
Of course, the MSP must stay updated with the latest technology, including securing their systems.
Otherwise, they may inadvertently compromise your business with their security breach.
3. Regular IT security training
Maintaining regular IT security training for your employees can be challenging as your business grows. So when choosing an MSP, some offer regular training sessions to your employees. This way, you are assured that your business remains compliant and mitigates risks caused by your team.
It’s one thing taken off your plate, especially given the scale of change that can occur with IT systems and applications.
4. How quick is the response time?
A managed service provider’s response time to disruption should be top of mind. How quickly the MSP responds if your IT systems go offline will help you reduce network downtime.
You know a reliable and stable network is critical to prevent customer dissatisfaction, reputation damage or loss of revenue.
That’s why remote networking monitoring and management (RMM) can help minimise disruption and network downtime. And an RMM platform can rapidly identify threats and take steps to remedy them. Don’t worry; an RMM is something your MSP will use. You don’t need to worry about this.
5. Guarding against cyber threats
Protecting data and shielding your business from potential cyber threats is one of your MSP’s most essential responsibilities.
When partnering with an MSP, they recommend robust security solutions and endpoint protection. In addition, they will advise and consider any compliance implications to avoid legal issues.
Being able to perform data recovery in the event of a breach is another critical service an MSP provides. Again, you will have a regular and automated backup to ensure minimal disruption to your business.
Implementing the security strategy will provide you with certainty when operating your business.
6. Guidance to improve productivity
Your MSP will make suggestions to improve your workflow to increase productivity. For example, they might suggest different CRM solutions and project management applications.
Ideally, they will restructure your workflow and data to improve efficiency. And helping your teams work quicker, unlock real-time collaboration and be more tech-savvy.
Does your business need help to get IT done?
It’s a big decision to select a managed service provider. So let us help you with a no-obligation chat; contact us today.
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.