The rapid digitization of modern business, combined with remote working and cloud-based operations, has increased cybersecurity threats and made IT an ever-more complex issue. This has led many companies to consider outsourcing their IT requirements to a managed services provider (MSP) to gain better protection and get a more competitive edge. An MSP can provide your company with a wealth of IT experience and skills for a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house staff. For data security and business continuity, few in-house IT teams can match the level of service provided by a top-quality MSP.
However, the sudden growth of the MSP industry has led to an influx of providers, leaving businesses struggling to choose. How do you know you’re getting the best service from a reputable IT company that provides excellent value for money? With so many options available, it can be challenging, so we’ve drawn up a list of the five most important elements to consider when choosing an IT services provider.
The 5 key elements to consider when selecting an IT service provider
Market authority is the number one element to consider and often the only one that many top firms rely on. It defines the reputation, reliability, and track record of a company. In the world of computer software, a company like Microsoft would be considered a leader in market authority. It has a decades-long track record of excellent service and attracts the trust of the world’s largest corporations.
However, most MSPs are not as recognizable as Microsoft, so you’ll need to verify their market authority by checking online reviews and customer testimonials. A company with high market authority should have an up-to-date website, excellent Google reviews, and complete transparency regarding their history, executives, partners, and accreditations.
Pricing and service agreements
Once you’ve shortened your list to those with decent market authority, you’ll need to consider the second most important element: pricing. There’s no point choosing an MSP that you can’t afford, so make sure they have a package that meets your needs and fits into your IT budget.
Most MSPs operate on a monthly subscription fee, but some charge a hidden premium for additional services. Be sure to check and verify exactly what is — and isn’t — included in the service level agreement of each package. For example, paying a bit more per month for a package that includes disaster recovery could save your company thousands of dollars in the event of an emergency.
It’s best to find an MSP with a monthly package that covers the highest number of services within your budget, even if you don’t use all of them. As your business scales up, you’ll find more and more that you need those additional services.
When working with an IT services provider, you need to rely on that company to safeguard one of your company’s most important and valuable assets: data. In 2021, the average cost of a data breach was $4.24 million, so you want to be sure your sensitive company information is in safe hands.
Check if your chosen MSP has data safety accreditations like the ISO 27001 standard, which shows that the company has completed a formal compliance audit and is committed to the highest levels of IT security.
A trusted MSP should also have a clearly defined business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan to ensure minimal downtime in the event of a serious security breach. Operational downtime can be financially devastating for a business, so you need an MSP that can guarantee that your business will keep running no matter the situation.
IT solutions and services
When working with partners and clients, using non-standard software or hardware can cause issues and delays. To ensure smooth collaboration and the most efficient service, you should always use industry-standard software like Microsoft Office. You’ll also want to ensure you’re getting the latest technology solutions, especially when it comes to security.
When choosing an IT company for your managed services, take some time to find out what software and hardware they use. List your requirements and then ask questions like:
If you don’t recognize certain solutions or brand names, check reviews online to ensure that the brands the MSP is offering are of good quality. Most decent MSPs are official resellers and partners of leading brands like Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Intel, and Kaspersky.
Geographical proximity and human interaction
While the modern working environment is becoming more and more remote, you simply can’t beat hands-on support. When choosing an IT services provider, ensure it has a physical office close by and provides rapid on-site support in the event of an emergency. Large MSPs typically operate from several locations, so they should have a support center within 50 miles of your headquarters.
A good MSP should offer a dedicated account manager that you can contact directly with any of your needs. Developing a close relationship with a dedicated account manager ensures that your IT needs always get the maximum attention. However, you should also check if the MSP has an efficient help desk team with a user-friendly ticketing system, as this will often be your first point of contact.
- Check the market authority and trust factor of each MSP in your area by doing online research, reading reviews, or speaking to local businesses.
- Find out the pricing of IT services providers that operate within 50 miles of your location and create a shortlist of those within your budget.
- Confirm the services they offer and whether they have partnerships or are official resellers of popular, well-known brands.
For most companies, it’s never too soon to enlist the help of an MSP for IT security. A reported 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, yet only 14% of small businesses consider their IT security measures adequate.
If you can’t afford adequate in-house IT security, a serious data breach could put you out of business. Use our convenient pricing calculator to find out just how affordable a managed IT services provider really is.
Get started today with Managed IT Services from Ubisec
Take the first step toward achieving top-quality IT solutions and data security by signing up for Ubisec’s Managed IT Services today. Ubisec is an industry-certified Managed Services Provider with 15 years of experience serving the Los Angeles and Orange County areas of California.
Our solutions include robust network and data security made possible by our strategic partnerships with leading cybersecurity brands like Cisco, Microsoft, and Veeam. With our broad selection of tailored technology solutions, no business is too big or too small to benefit from Ubisec’s wealth of knowledge, expertise, and industry-leading IT solutions.