The services of a managed services provider always need to be chosen carefully. There is no shortage of market options, so it pays to shop around and compare the top companies in your area. While your evaluation should vary based on your needs, these seven signs will help you to recognize an exceptionally good MSP when you see one.
1. Highly Responsive Customer Service
When there is a problem with your network, it is probably going to be a major source of woe. As such, it is very important to have an MSP that will respond quickly to their customer’s concerns. When it comes to outages, this is particularly important, as people need to know when they can expect to regain service.
There should be efficient methods for any customer to get in touch with the company, and it is best if there are multiple methods of doing so. The companies that really take customer service seriously will offer an SLA (service level agreement). This is just a contract that spells out the service obligations of the company, as well as any limits on those obligations.
2. Plenty Of Scalability
Whether your needs are large or small, your MSP should offer plans that suit your level of usage. Not only that, but there should also be options to scale the service up or down as needed. Otherwise, you could end up being locked into a plan that no longer fits. All of this should be spelled out before you purchase a plan, and the company’s representatives should (preferably) bring this matter up without being asked.
3. High-Security Options
Not everyone needs to exercise a high level of security in their network, but those who do should have options that address their concerns. This can include things like network encryption and remote monitoring, as well as regularly-updated firewalls and regular malware scans. Even if you don’t really need that much security, it shows that you’re dealing with a serious company.
Greater security is one of the main reasons for which companies choose to use an MSP rather than a standard ISP. Don’t assume that your business is safe just because you aren’t dealing with millions of dollars on a regular basis. Even smaller and less-known companies have been targeted at various times.
4. Industry-Specific Expertise
When you look for MSP service, it isn’t enough to simply seek an experienced company with a well-established reputation. If that reputation is not specific to your particular industry, it may not do you much good. Thus, you need to look for MSPs that have experience with your exact type of business. For instance, an MSP who normally deals with social media companies might have a very hard time transitioning to a less public sort of company.
If you choose a company that doesn’t have much experience in dealing with your kind of company, you could have this problem: You call them up and ask a question, only to be put on hold as they attempt to research an answer. Obviously, this is not acceptable, because you could do that yourself and save a lot of time!
5. A Good Compliance Record
All MSP companies have to be audited from time to time, in order to ensure that they are complying with all relevant laws and regulations. These audits are usually carried out by the federal government, and so their results are usually made public. You can start here for a little more information on how to check this information.
In fairness, we should caution you to avoid freaking out and canceling your accounts based on a few bad reports. There are always those who make unjustified complaints, so you should examine each claim with an open mind. A minor infraction of some obscure government regulation may not, in fact, be any real cause for concern. It all depends on the type and severity of the offense.
6. Always Offers Plenty Of Good Advice
You should always be wary of the MSPs that don’t offer you helpful advice. If they don’t really have anything to say, (other than “yes, sir!”) it is an indication that they may not be as professional as claimed. In many cases, customer service reps do not have the expertise to answer technical questions about the nature of the service. For most businesses, this would be acceptable. However, an MSP should not be employing anyone who isn’t educated enough to serve the customer with an expert’s attention to detail.
On this subject, it is always good if your MSP has technical support who can clearly speak your language. Don’t take this the wrong way: We certainly aren’t telling you to discriminate against foreign technical support staff. At the same time, it is reasonable to expect that your MSP will provide people with whom you can efficiently communicate. No matter where they hire their techs, a reputable company will make sure that all of them possess the necessary skills.
7. A Strong Local Presence
Although this isn’t always a big issue, it is usually better to stick with a company that is based in your area. When your provider is a long way away, there tends to be a lot more network delay (latency), no matter how sophisticated their equipment might be. Not only that, but a company that has more locations in your area will make it easier for you to get prompt and attentive in-person support, should that be necessary.
While these are not the only signs for which you should look, they are probably the seven most important signs of a well-managed MSP. On a more general level, you should always look for a company that conducts itself in a prompt, courteous, and efficient manner. There is no substitute for staunch professionalism, and these kinds of companies tend to provide the best service. If you have found this article to be helpful, please fill out the contact form below.