Partnering with an MSP is a huge decision—the right IT setup (and MSP) can make or break your company’s future. It’s crucial that you make the right choice before you jump into a partnership. Differentiating a good MSP vs. a bad one can be tough. That’s why we designed this guide that covers the two most important criteria for MSPs: service and pricing. We’ll go in-depth into these criteria and what sets apart a good MSP and bad MSP in these two criteria. Already partnered with an MSP? This MSP checklist can help you determine if your current provider is offering the level of service you deserve.
What is a Managed Service Provider?
Before we differentiate a good MSP from a bad MSP, we should review what an MSP is. An MSP, or managed service provider, is an outsourced company that provides IT services to clients in need. IT managed services provide a huge range of services to fulfill any IT needs. Solutions that MSPs commonly provide include:
- IT Support
- Desktop Solutions
- Infrastructure Support
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Support
- Cybersecurity Offerings
Offerings will differ depending on the MSP you partner with. The first thing you should research before you consider an MSP is if they offer the IT services you need. We recommend partnering with a provider that offers a wide range of services. A full range of services points to more thorough experience in IT. Where an MSP specialized in one or two areas is more focused, but won’t be as versatile. The right IT support makes a huge difference for your company. That’s why you should partner with a provider that can handle any IT issue you put in front of them.
Partnering with an MSP can help ensure the future success of your business. Handling all of your IT internally gets exponentially harder to do as your business grows. Business owners assume that there’s a linear correlation between IT needs and business size, but this isn’t typically the case. IT needs frequently outpace business growth. If your internal IT team isn’t meeting your needs anymore or you’re interested in future-proofing your IT, you should consider partnering with MSPs for IT services for small companies or mid-sized businesses.
Good MSPs vs. Bad MSPs
Now that we better understand what an MSP does and why it may be right for your business, let’s review what differentiates a good MSP vs. a bad one in the categories of service and pricing.
Service is the most important criterion for an MSP. You sacrifice control when partnering with an outsourced provider—the least you deserve in exchange for that control is quality service.
A Good MSP
A good MSP will tend to your business’s needs day or night with 24/7 support. IT issues can devastate your business, they deserve to be taken seriously. A good MSP is ready to jump in and keep your business running smoothly. You should never have to adjust your operations to fit your MSP. This flexibility extends to data centers—a good MSP should provide a scalable data center that easily adjusts to your business’s changing needs. Overall, scalability is one of the key things you should look for when choosing an MSP. Whatever your business’s needs, the right MSP will be able to scale to your needs, whether you need additional cybersecurity support or are looking to expand your cloud infrastructure.
A good MSP will be extremely clear about what services they have on offer. You should never be deceived into believing that an MSP offers a wider range of services than they really do. You should get exactly what you’re asking for, whether that’s IT managed security services or penetration testing services.
Want to Learn More About Help Desk Services?
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A Bad MSP
A bad MSP will be difficult to reach, offer inflexible hours, or even treat you as an inconvenience. A managed service provider is a partner in growing your business, not a phone operator with the lone objective of clearing tickets as fast as possible.
The wrong MSP also won’t be familiar with your business processes. Ask these questions the next time you’re in contact with your MSP:
- How familiar are they with my business’s processes and needs?
- How do they treat me?
- Am I offered boilerplate advice or customized solutions?
- Do they offer business IT services that match my needs?
- What does their project management process look like?
The answers to these questions will give you a lot of insight into the quality of your MSP.
Business comes down to the bottom line. Here’s what sets apart a good MSP from a bad MSP when it comes to pricing:
A Good MSP
A good MSP will be extremely transparent about their pricing model. Standard practices in MSPs involve signing a service level agreement. A proper service level agreement should cover everything, including:
- The scope of their services—are they just providing network security management or a full range of IT services for my small company or mid-sized business?
- Their pricing model—is their pricing model based on a predictable, monthly model or set up another way?
- Your needs—what do you need from them?
A Bad MSP
Changes to a pricing model are fairly normal, IT is constantly changing and costs have to reflect that. However, these changes should never come without explanation and due warning. Your business’s finances are extremely serious—the right partner would never compromise your financial situation without warning.
Virtual-Q: IT Services You Can Count On
From our excellent service to unparalleled expertise, Virtual-Q is an IT provider you can count on. Partner with us for customized IT solutions that are tailored for you, and available day or night. Schedule a meeting with us and we can work together on taking your information technology to the next level.