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How To Choose an IT Provider?

Many managed service providers will tell you that they have the best customer service, the best personnel, or the best pricing. These are all, of course, great attributes, but what really sets the good MSPs apart from the rest?

In this blog, we dive into what you need to be aware of when choosing a Managed Service Provider (MSP).

Why Do You Want To Change IT Providers?

There could be any number of reasons as to why you’re thinking of changing IT providers. Below is a list of the most common reasons businesses change IT providers:

  • The current IT provider is slow to react.
  • Service levels are not what they used to be.
  • The IT provider is perceived as not being forward-thinking.
  • You’ve outgrown your current provider; they don’t have the knowledge to help you transform.
  • Price: the current provider has become too expensive; they charge for every little thing.
  • Failed backups: you’ve lost data even though you’re paying them for a backup service.
  • IT security breach, cybersecurity attack, ransomware infection, or data leak – you need someone more secure to manage your business IT infrastructure.
  • These are all common reasons why businesses switch to a new provider, but what should you look out for when shopping the market?

Expertise and Experience

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection of IT providers to a handful of companies, one of the first places to start investigating their experience is on LinkedIn. It’s a wonderful tool that allows you to look up the employee size of the business.

How many people does the IT provider employ, and what’s their experience? This can easily be researched by looking at the employees within a company and their work history. It will quickly give you a feel for the depth of knowledge and experience a company has.

Just remember, it’s not all about size – a 5-person IT provider might be a better fit for you compared to a 50-person IT company.

Range of Services Offered

Your business is unique; it has different needs compared to other companies. As part of your research, you should be asking what services are covered in your managed service agreements.

Common IT services include:

  • Managed IT Support
  • Remote Monitoring & Management
  • Account Management
  • Backup Services
  • Cloud and Physical Infrastructure Support and Service
  • Hardware & Software Purchasing
  • Internet Connectivity
  • Network Management
  • Security & Compliance
  • Data Analytics, Data Capture
  • AI Automation / Power Platform

Customer Support and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Almost all managed service providers will offer some level of service agreement. This is usually part of the term contract, and various service levels will be offered or come as standard.

It’s important to find out what the standard service level offering is. For example, if someone in your company logs an IT support request, how long is a typical response? 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 3 hours?

Also, ask what the average response time is. Many of the SLAs in place have an autoresponder that acknowledges the support issue has been logged – this autoresponder keeps the MSP in line with the SLA, but it’s important to understand the average response time by an IT support engineer.

Compliance and Security Standards

Cybersecurity and risk are becoming more common areas that MSPs cover. Many businesses now have cybersecurity insurance that will pay out if there is a data breach or some form of security incident resulting in loss to the business.

However, complying with the requirements of cybersecurity insurance is becoming more difficult every year. When shopping around for a new IT provider, it’s good to find out if everything within your cybersecurity insurance will be covered by them. If not, what is the additional cost to maintain the correct level of compliance?

This can result in out-of-contract project work, which should be costed up prior to agreeing to a new managed service provider agreement.

Pricing Models and Cost-Effectiveness

Many IT providers will not give you a cost upfront – this is mainly due to the different needs businesses have for IT support and managed IT services.

It can be difficult to compare providers purely based on cost. Many businesses will mark down IT providers if they come in too cheap – a low-cost option is usually a reflection of the service level you will experience from the provider in the future.

Where there is a comparison, it’s worth comparing or asking for the costs on a per-user basis. These can vary from $100-$500/month/user – a good starting point for how to compare the service offerings by a handful of providers.

Enjoy this article and want more help in switching IT providers? Get in touch with us today.