How to Choose the Right Managed Service Provider (MSP)
A managed service provider (MSP) manages your IT infrastructure, acting as your IT department. But finding the right MSP partner isn’t always easy. Knowing what to look out for is a key part of your research. Here’s a list of five key questions to ask when vetting your MSP.
1. What experience or expertise do you have in my industry?
You may find a general MSP, but if they don’t know your business, what good is that? And we don’t recommend choosing your MSP solely based on price—you won’t get the help you need for your particular business niche.
When you’re looking for an MSP, it’s imperative to find someone who has expertise in your industry. Your goal, after all, is a long-term relationship, and you can’t have a long-term relationship with someone who doesn’t understand your industry-specific needs (e.g., SEC regulatory requirements).
If you’re looking at a firm that is trying to be all things to all people, they may lack focus and probably won’t be immersed in your industry. They can’t customize their processes to your needs. And that’s really what you need from an MSP: a customized repeatable process.
Eighty-five percent of Agio’s clients are in the alternative investment space. Our processes are designed with what that industry requires. For example, we know that hedge funds need constant internet access to make trades, so we provide a redundant network stack to guard against hardware failure so your business isn’t compromised. Additionally, everything is done through the lens of cybersecurity.
We make sure we have the right security controls, and then we’ll layer on optional things like Global Relay because we know you have to adhere to SEC regulations. We build with seven-year retention because that’s what the SEC requires.
2. What is your comprehensive solution process?
While you want an MSP versed in your industry, you don’t want to bring in an MSP with a narrow focus offering. If an MSP says their IT support will monitor your computers 24/7 and alert you with a problem, that’s great—but it’s not comprehensive.
Ask your potential MSP what their ticketing system looks like. Look at the end-user experience they’re offering. How quickly can they resolve an issue? Ask about the remediation process when their monitoring tools detect an anomaly. And ask how they’re tracking their satisfaction levels across clients. Your MSP has to be willing to learn and improve.
You want someone who emphasizes people and processes, not just technology. Firms that focus only on technology are tied to what technology can or can’t do—and that affects the success of their processes.
Agio leverages a set of stringent IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes. We emphasize people and processes (not just tools and platforms) in our MSP offerings.
Our U.S.-based helpdesk creates a ticket, and you’ll receive a notification in your email. Tickets are escalated based on the severity of the issue. Everything is traced through that process. When the case is closed, we ask you to acknowledge that, and we send you an email to give us feedback on our service. We’re confident our process will solve any issues you bring to us, but we’re also ready to learn from our clients’ feedback. This is truly an MSP partnership.
3. Can your managed services solution scale and grow with my organization?
Industry changes are real-time, and you need an MSP that won’t hinder your growth. Look for a provider who offers a robust toolset and service offering, including cloud, cybersecurity, desktop support, and network and infrastructure management. A good MSP will help you determine what services you need and don’t need so your company continues to scale.
Agio has a robust toolset and service offering that can grow with your company. The services we offer are broad enough to meet our clients’ needs, but not so broad that they include a lot of stuff they don’t need.
We focus not on break/fix but on proactive measures that predict problems before they happen and prevent them from impacting your organization. Our team uses this framework to scale with you:
This framework is how we ensure we’re providing quality service and peace of mind to our clients.
4. Are any of your products proprietary?
If your MSP has proprietary products, what happens if you leave? You can’t take that product with you. Or what if a key figure in their organization leaves and they’re the only person who knows how the product works? You can’t manage it yourself, and there’s a good chance that MSP can’t either.
At Agio, we don’t use proprietary products; everything is off the shelf. There’s no need to worry about what if? And because our products are widely accessible, we have the advantage of moving quickly. We don’t have to rewrite an app or product when a change or issue comes up.
5. How are you investing in employee knowledge and training?
You don’t want your MSP playing catch up. Any MSP you look at should have a system in place that allows their team to stay updated on the latest technology. Ask them about their internal commitment to provide continual training for their MSP teams and their entire organization. A company that facilitates learning throughout its organization is committed to growth and service.
We encourage our support members to take training, and we make it easy. Agio Academy is our internal commitment to provide continual training throughout our organization.
Choosing an MSP takes time. When looking for the best match for your firm, consider the following:
- Do they have expertise and experience in your niche?
- Are their products proprietary (easily lost) or off the shelf (easily transferred)?
- Do they emphasize people, processes, and technology together (rather than relying on technology alone)?
- Will they keep up with your growth?
- How do they invest in training?
A quality MSP will create a customized solution that fits your industry and won’t leave you in the lurch. Their processes and technology (and training) should work with you to achieve the best customer service possible while scaling with you as needed.
Are you ready to partner with an MSP that empowers you with secure, reliable, and resilient information systems? Give us a call. We’re here to help.