Managed IT Services

An Essential Guide to Selecting Your IT Partner

Post by
Net Friends
Choosing an MSP is not about tackling your current tech challenges. It is about partnering with a service provider who can not only navigate today's tech complexities, but also steer you toward tomorrow’s victories. This is a journey that starts with the right questions. And we have them here.
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Choosing the Right Path in the Digital Wilderness

Selecting the right managed IT services provider (MSP) is a key decision for any business. This guide shares the top criteria for MSPs, highlights Net Friends' approach, and provides key questions to consider.

What to Consider When Selecting Your MSP

  • TECHNICAL EXPERTISE — In the dynamic world of IT, you need an MSP with a comprehensive set of technical skills and strong record of accomplishments. They should demonstrate mastery in areas like networking, data security, business continuity planning, cloud management, and more.
Ask them to present specific examples of their work that directly pertain to your industry. Just as a general construction firm cannot always be hired to do an HVAC specialist's job, blanket solutions will not resolve industry-specific challenges.
  • CLIENT FOCUS — An exceptional MSP is not just a service provider; they are a team player. They understand your needs, anticipate potential issues, and work closely with you to deliver solutions that align with your business goals. At Net Friends, we believe in being an extension of your team. We are here around the clock to support you, and to ensure your systems and services are always running smoothly.
  • TOOLS & SYSTEMS — Tools and systems are the lifeblood of MSP operations. But remember, a system with a snazzy dashboard does not guarantee effective service delivery.
Ensure that your prospective MSP's systems and tools align with your internal processes. This includes aspects like automated ticketing systems, efficient problem-solving capabilities, and proactive monitoring tools. All these should mesh seamlessly with your existing infrastructure to ensure a smooth partnership.
  • EXPERIENCE — Like a seasoned explorer, an experienced MSP has traveled the path before. Net Friends brings over 25 years of experience to the table, a deep understanding of our customers' unique needs, and a comprehensive portfolio of managed IT services. Look for proof that an MSP has tackled a gamut of challenges, honed their skills from the lessons learned, and accumulated a wealth of industry knowledge. That is not to say that newer MSPs do not bring their unique advantages. However, when it comes to managing your business’s critical IT functions, having a partner with that depth of knowledge can be a major advantage.
  • SECURITY — Your provider should nerd out over security protections like ransomware blocking, threat monitoring, and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Data privacy should get them amped up, and not be an afterthought. Look for clear examples of an MSP’s security capabilities and not just claims. Third-party audits and certifications from trusted industry-regulating organizations enhance an MSP's security credentials.
  • CONTRACTS — Contracts are the bedrock of your partnership with an MSP. They define your relationship and set expectations for both parties. Look for Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that offer transparency in areas like response times, resolution times, system uptime, and escalation paths. Remember, a contract that offers flexibility and shows a commitment to mutual growth is a good indicator of a reliable MSP.

Key Questions: Your Secret Weapon

When evaluating potential MSPs, keep these key questions in mind:  

  • How do they show technical prowess, expertise, and industry certifications?
  • How seamlessly do the display team integration, effective communication, and superior customer service?
  • How do they prioritize transparency and accountability?
  • Can they show a proven record of accomplishment of delivering results?
  • Is their cybersecurity expertise on display and does it line up with what you’d expect?
  • Can they provide contractual flexibility to cater to your ever-evolving business needs?

The MSP's Toolbox: Factors that Make a Difference

The more varied and comprehensive it is, the better equipped you are for any challenge. From managing everyday IT tasks to robust cybersecurity measures - a resourceful MSP has it all.

Signs of a Mature MSP micrographic

Net Friends: The MSP You've Been Looking For

We combine expertise across a multitude of disciplines like networking, security, Microsoft platforms, and more, with a focus on delivering personalized service.

We use remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools to maintain transparency and deliver efficient, proactive services. With RMM tools, we're able to perform tasks like remote monitoring, patch management, software deployment, and asset tracking, among others, thus ensuring our clients' systems are always up and running.

Before You Say 'I Do': The MSP Contract

Lastly, before you make any commitment, here are five things you should clearly understand about the MSP contract:

  • Do the contract's provisions clarify the terms and obligations of the MSP?
  • Are there any termination requirements and fees?
  • What services are included? What’s excluded (e.g., holiday or after-hours support)?
  • Do you understand the Service Level Agreement (SLA), and does it align with your business goals?

Trust & Adaptability: A Final Note

Trust and adaptability are crucial in an MSP. Look for transparency, reliable customer service, and the ability to meet your changing business needs. Remember, choosing an MSP is not just about solving immediate problems but finding a partner for long-term success.

Want to discuss more about how Net Friends could be the perfect MSP for your business? Contact us today!

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