Sadly, finding the right IT partner isn’t as simple as a quick Google search and choosing the top link.

There are hundreds of providers across the UK, each with their own unique selling points, so time should be taken to find the right provider that fits your business and your needs.

Exploring their specialities and reading their recent case studies will give you an idea of whether an MSP is the perfect match, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting where you can ask all the questions you have, to test their expertise, value and level of service.

To help you find your right Managed Service Provider, here are some questions that we get asked regularly – and love to answer – broken down into those three topics.

Knowledge

Are you experts in your field – what is your area of expertise?

Depending on your own niche, you may want to find an MSP that specialises in data protection, IT Support or a local provider that can quickly arrive on site to maintain specialist hardware. If their speciality blends with yours, you’re probably on to a winner!

Can you give me advice on which IT hardware to buy?

Many MSPs also have strong relationships with hardware vendors, though they usually with exclusivity deals. The perfect answer here is ‘Yes – and we have no quotas to hit, so whatever the best solution for your business is, that’s the one we’ll suggest’.

Can you help me choose the right software, too?

Just like hardware, there are usually many software businesses all competing for your custom, but finding one that can give you an unbiased opinion is best, unless their software preferences match with yours.

Do you invest in your employees continuous training?

Technology is a fast-paced industry where new products and solutions are launched each week. Finding an MSP that invests in their staff means they are more likely to stay abreast of updates.

What accreditations do you have?

Your partners may exclusively work on a specific piece of software, or require particular accreditations, such as ISO27001, to prove the protections in place around data security. Therefore, finding someone with the accreditations you need, or you’ve seen your competitors/partners promote, may be another box ticked on your search.

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Cost

What is this going to cost me?

Simple and straight to the point. If you can’t get a clear answer from your possible partner, it may be that their services aren’t ‘one-size-fits-all’ to enjoy standardised pricing, or it may be the fact that they’re obfuscating the full cost of working with them, so be wary if you find a price that sounds too good to be true.

Is there a limit placed on how much support I can receive and what happens when I do exceed this limit?

Some Managed Service Providers may ‘say’ their support is unlimited, but use doublespeak and small print to put limits on the number of calls or tickets in a specific timeframe. Calling this out in the exploratory phase will mean you get to either understand those limits, or confirm that their support is genuinely unlimited, which is certainly a great plus.

Will I be charged for expanding my data storage?

As your business grows, so will your data utilisation and storage needs. Some MSPs will have such great relationships that small increases won’t affect their margins, so if you expect significant growth, find a partner that won’t penalise you for it.

In fact, it’s worth checking what other services include tiered payments, so you can plan for your increased costs as your operations grow. This could include:

  • After-hours IT support, including weekend and holiday
  • Workstations and phone lines
  • Back-up and disaster recovery costs
  • Call-out charges (for example, charged per hour or per visit)
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Service level

How quickly do you resolve issues?

When you need to be working, any issues mean lost revenue. Which means having a provider than guarantees a fast fix could help you protect the reliability of your communication and services.

What does your typical client ‘look’ like?

Finding an MSP that works for companies similar to yours means they may already know your challenges and the solutions to fix them. Or, if their typical client has 20 or so employees and yours is 100+, then maybe you need to find a larger partner.

What happens if I decide I no longer need your services?

Just like any service provider, they don’t want to see you leave. Some may even include expensive cancellation charges, or make it hard to move your services to another provider. So, finding someone that makes that process simple may well show that they are that confident in their level of service exceeding your expectations, that they don’t need to make it an uphill battle.

What kind of hardware maintenance agreement do you have, are there specific pieces of hardware that aren’t covered by your agreement?

Some MSPs will be trained to only support certain vendors, but that may not necessarily meld with the hardware you use, especially if you haven’t upgraded it for a while. You may have to pay a premium for them to support those devices, but there are others out there that support any hardware you have.

Even if a provider can answer all your questions correctly, it’s important to consider how their answers make you feel. Trust is an important component of any relationship, even business arrangements. So, if your gut feeling is that they’re not the right fit, then move on.

Counting them all up, we’ve given you a few more than 10 questions for your arsenal, but that’s what we like to do here at Mooncomputers – over deliver – because we aim for that 5-star service that you expect!

Mooncomputers has supported businesses up and down the country for the last two decades, with a range of IT support and management services that help businesses build agile, scalable infrastructures, while providing true value for money. So, get in touch today and discover our stellar level of IT support.