How to choose the best MSP for your business
In today’s world, the rapid changes in technology mean it is not always practical for an organisation to gain expertise on all the products and services they use. Organisations want to spend less time solving IT problems and reading FAQs and more time doing business and serving customers. Enter the Managed Services Provider (MSP) – a company that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a proactive basis and under a subscription model. The terms “cloud service provider” and “managed service provider” are often used synonymously but broadly speaking they are providers of IT products and services, usually on a contract basis. With an MSP on board, businesses can focus on improving collaboration, respond to customers more rapidly, enjoy better security and focus on core operations. With cloud services, home working and “bring your own device” taking the centre stage of a business operation, MSP providers have become a necessity for business of all sizes.
The Managed Services Market
The demand for MSPs is growing rapidly. According to Grand View Research, the global MSP market earned a revenue of £142.69 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a rate of 11.7% in the next 5 years. Rising security concerns in businesses and growing cloud services were reported as the main drivers of this trend.
Small and medium businesses are embracing the services that MSPs provide, as it is generally these providers which implement technological transformation within the office environment. With operational cost reduction being an ever-important part of an SME’s financial strategy, the decision to engage with an MSP in order to recoup lost man hours (in solving IT problems) or even to replace an internal IT team, becomes even more important.
The rising adoption of MSPs has brought thousands of new companies into the market in recent times, making it difficult for organisations to choose the best MSP for them. Here are key things to consider when looking for the most suitable MSP for your business:
Before thinking about an MSP, you should first perform an audit of all business procedures and IT resources such as servers, client devices, applications etc. and determine all services that can be outsourced. Estimate how many hours are spent per month dealing with IT-related issues. Based on the outcome, you should search for an MSP that has expertise in the required technologies. Connectivity, security, voice and cloud services are the commonly outsourced managed services.
One size doesn’t fit all
In today’s changing business technologies, the ‘one size fits all’ theory has no place. Implementing a standards-based strategy doesn’t work. A successful IT strategy implemented in one company doesn’t necessarily deliver the same results in another. You need a strategy tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. So, see if the MSP offers an organisation-specific IT strategy that is both cost-effective and future-proof.
Traditional vs Multi-disciplined MSP
Today, organisations use an array of technologies and solutions involving Cloud, IoT, BYOD, AI, Big Data, that make IT infrastructure complex and expensive. To manage all of your organisation’s technology it is prudent to find an MSP who can additionally manage your other technology services such as your business communications (phone system, telephone numbers, video conferencing) and Internet access. By positioning your MSP as a strategic partner you can simplify IT management across your operation.
Cost-effective and flexible pricing Model
In today’s shrinking IT budgets, a cost-effective and flexible pricing model is essential. Your MSP should offer services which come with service level agreements (SLAs) and pricing which is easy to understand. Invoices should be straightforward to read and charges explained and detailed.
Generally, MSP pricing models are offered on a per-user and/or per-device basis. Do your employees work from multiple devices such as laptops, smartphones and desktops? Do they all have security policies in place? Do you have on-site servers or cloud-based instances? How large is your Office 365 installation? These sorts of questions will help determine which pricing model works best for you.
Flexibility to adapt to new technologies
A good MSP will keep you abreast of technological changes and have an IT strategy in place to help you adapt to new technologies.
Network security is a key concern for all businesses and involves higher levels of expertise. With homeworking now becoming the norm, security policies have to be stricter and tighter than ever. Check your MSPs security portfolio and ensure that they can offer you a comprehensive range of security services. Penetration testing for your web site, firewalls for your organisation and threat management to prevent malware and phish threats to your employees. Ensure that 24/7 networking monitoring is offered as a service and that the MSP reports on security incidents. With homeworking now becoming the norm, security policies have to be stricter and tighter than ever.
Whatever you decide, make sure that your MSP offers a range of services which meet the demands of your business. While pricing is important, so is business competitiveness and security. With the increase in remote working, each home location also has a demand for IT services, device management and security. Stay safe and keep your IT gremlins locked away!
For a no-obligation IT audit of your business, contact us now or speak to your account representative today.