How to Choose the Right Managed IT Services Provider for Your Business

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In today’s complex business landscape, the slightest misstep with IT (Information Technology) infrastructure can result in an irrecoverable loss of competitive advantage. Conversely, a robust IT infrastructure that aligns with overall business needs can result in significant long-term benefits. 


On the IT front, business owners face many challenges, namely data breaches, regulatory compliance challenges, downtime and disruptions, limited in-house IT staff, and a litany of complex industry- and geography-specific IT needs. To support on-site IT teams with these challenges, business owners are increasingly considering outsourcing IT services from managed service providers (MSPs).


MSPs offer myriad advantages that make them an alluring option for enterprises. The global managed IT services provider market, which will reach $372.6 million by 2028, is proof of that. 


However, commissioning third-party IT solutions is not easy, and finding the right managed service provider is often a painstaking process. Furthermore, when a business commits to an MSP, it will likely have long-term implications on its IT operations and strategy. Therefore, choosing the right IT partner demands considerable effort.


There are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to outsourced IT support. The right MSP for one enterprise might not be the ideal option for another. However, business owners should keep in mind a few non-negotiable factors when finding and choosing an MSP. 


Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an MSP


The following are the top 12 factors that business, IT, and security leaders must consider while assessing MSPs.


1. Full-Time Availability


Every minute of uptime can make a difference for an enterprise. Extended IT systems failures and disruptions are disastrous, especially for small businesses. Therefore, it’s essential to search for MSPs that offer a 24-7 help desk. 


No matter what IT issues need resolving, an MSP must be available to offer either virtual assistance or physical on-site maintenance and support. Anything less than around-the-clock availability is insufficient.


2. Vendor Management


Hiring an MSP to support an in-house IT department doesn’t rule out the possibility of using other third-party vendors. Businesses will likely continue to use existing vendors and may even want to choose new vendors for various services. 


However, third-party vendor management shouldn’t be the responsibility of in-house IT professionals. Enterprises must ensure that potential MSPs offer vendor management services.


3. Cybersecurity Capabilities


The world is rife with potent cyber threats. Companies can expect their IT environments to face relentless cyberattacks. Furthermore, threat actors aim to exploit numerous vulnerabilities within IT environments. 


Choosing an MSP with top-of-the-line cybersecurity capabilities can help optimize security measures and protect companies from devastating data breaches. However, it’s critical for organizations to follow a shared responsibility model and cybersecurity best practices to ensure that they fortify their defenses. 


4. Airtight SLAs


When working with third-party MSPs, analyzing service level agreements (SLAs) is essential. An SLA lays out the responsibilities of an MSP. As such, enterprises can ensure that they are receiving the promised IT services. 


Companies should give preference to MSPs that have meticulously crafted SLAs with clearly defined IT roles, responsibilities, repercussions, and response times.


5. Scalability


Scalability has quickly become one of the most important attributes of every company. In ultra-competitive markets, enterprises have to be ready to scale business operations at the drop of a hat. 


Working with an MSP that can’t respond swiftly to fluctuating IT needs and business goals would be counterproductive. An MSP should always be ready if a business needs to scale IT operations. 


6. Proactive IT Optimization


Businesses shouldn’t work with MSPs who wait for IT incidents and disasters before stepping in and fixing things. Instead, they should opt for MSPs that employ a proactive approach to optimizing IT and business technologies. 


Even from a security standpoint, a proactive approach is a must. The surrounding threat landscape is ever-evolving and relentless, and only MSPs who employ a proactive approach to cybersecurity can help enterprises keep their IT environments efficient and safe.


7. Industry Experience


The optimal MSP will have a strong track record across diverse industries. This is vital because only an MSP with diverse industry experience can understand the intricate requirements of a particular organization. 


For example, the IT and cybersecurity needs of a healthcare organization are vastly different from a manufacturing organization. An MSP must be able to address industry-specific intricacies as well as cross-pollinate IT approaches creatively and innovatively.


8. Infrastructure-Agnostic


Many companies have shifted to cloud-based IT infrastructures as part of digital transformation efforts. However, certain businesses still have deep moorings in on-premises data centers, and some have adopted hybrid models. 


While the type of IT infrastructure that a company uses is important, an MSP must have capabilities across various IT infrastructures. Businesses may want to reconfigure their IT infrastructure in the future, so they can’t afford to choose MSPs with capabilities in only certain types of infrastructures.


9. AI and Automation


For businesses to compete in their industries, their IT environments must function at high speeds. For this, AI and automation are necessary. Furthermore, cybersecurity must leverage AI and automation tools to battle relentless incoming cyberattacks. 


Therefore, businesses must assess potential MSPs to see what role AI, ML, and automation play in their backend IT capabilities and mechanisms. If an MSP doesn't have AI and automation capabilities, businesses must look elsewhere.


10. Disaster Recovery Plans


Even if businesses take all necessary precautions, there’s always the risk of data breaches, power outages, and other incidents that may affect IT operations and cloud services. MSPs must have robust disaster recovery playbooks so that business continuity won’t be an issue even after a significant IT issue. Some practical ways to ensure seamless disaster recovery include regularly backing up data and establishing server redundancy.


11. Pricing and Costs


When assessing third-party IT and security services, all businesses will eventually ask the same question: is it worth the cost? When it comes to MSPs, businesses should not choose vendors with inconsistent or per-hour pricing models. Instead, they should go for MSPs with a flat fee billing model. 


Flat fee billing models cause less financial turbulence and help maintain a consistent and steady relationship between both parties. MSPs that can collaborate with businesses to optimize annual IT expenses, budgets, and investments are even more valuable. 


12. Reputation


Lastly, no matter what capabilities an MSP claims to have, businesses must study testimonials from other clients and customers to double-check their reputation. It’s important to look for specific metrics in testimonials that demonstrate the MSP's measurable benefits to past clients. Another way to assess an MSP's legitimacy and reputation is by checking its certifications. An MSP with a strong reputation is a potential game-changer for enterprises. 




Choosing the right managed IT services provider can be quite a tricky process. It’s also one of the most critical decisions for an enterprise to make. By partnering with an optimal MSP, businesses can use their IT capabilities as a springboard to great success. However, if a company chooses the wrong MSP, it can result in a cascade of disasters, including security breaches, compliance failures, financial blows, and reputational damage. 


Luckily for businesses, there are a few key factors that they can look out for in an MSP to ensure a fruitful and enduring IT partnership. These factors include full-time availability, third-party vendor management, cybersecurity expertise, airtight SLAs, scalability, proactive approaches, diverse industry experience, infrastructure-agnostic skills, AI and automation tools, disaster recovery plans, effective pricing models, and overall reputation. 


If a business can find an MSP that ticks the above boxes, they can be sure that their IT environments will be optimized for efficiency, security, and business continuity.


Is your IT the best it can be?

Categories: Managed Services, IT Outsourcing, Managed IT Services, IT Management, MSP, IT, Managed Services Provider

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