Merely deciding to partner with a managed service provider (MSP) doesn’t mean your work is done. Now, you need to make sure you select an MSP that is genuinely capable of meeting your needs. If you aren’t sure how to do that, here are ten questions to ask your MSP before you start working with them.
What Services Do You Provide?
Every MSP is unique. While they may all qualify as MSPs, that doesn’t mean they offer the same services. As a result, it is always best to ask exactly what the partnership would provide, ensuring you are getting the right kind of support.
Which of Your Current Clients Are Most Like My Company? Can I Contact Them for a Reference?
This two-part question is incredibly helpful. It allows you to discover if the MSP works with another business that is similar to yours, as well as find out if they are comfortable with you reaching out. If none of their current clients are like you or they refuse to provide a name or let you reach out for a reference, those could all be red flags.
How Much Does It Cost?
Each MSP controls its own pricing. You need to understand the costs involved, including what you will be charged for and when. Keep digging until you learn about every potential fee, ensuring you get a full overview of what you may have to pay.
Are There Any One-Time Fees?
This is an extension of the question above. Its purpose is to make sure that any one-time costs, like setup fees, are disclosed before you formalize the partnership.
How Much Time Does It Take to Get Up and Running?
Implementation times can vary dramatically. It’s critical that you know when the service will be fully functional before you begin. That way, you can make sure that it will meet your needs or expectations, or at least understand the timeline involved.
What Are the Cancelation Provisions in the Contract?
Some MSPs require a long-term commitment. If you cancel the arrangement early, you could get stuck paying fees for terminating the agreement.
However, not all MSPs use this approach. Before you sign, it’s best to understand how each MSP handles contract cancelations and if there are any additional expenses for severing the relationship before the end of the contract term.
What Services Are Listed in a Contract?
It’s also critical to discover which services are generally listed in a contract. When specific ones are included, you typically get some guarantees regarding how those tasks are handled. Anything that isn’t in the agreement isn’t technically enforceable, so keep that in mind.
Can You Develop a Solution That’s Within Budget?
With some MSPs, this question won’t technically be necessary. If their service is already within budget, you can bypass it.
However, if the MSP is just slightly out of budget, then you might want to see if they can create a custom solution that respects your budget and meets your core needs. In some cases, this means not having access to certain services, but that could still lead to an arrangement that covers all of your must-haves.
What is Your Industry of Expertise?
Some MSPs focus on specific industries. Usually, it’s wise to find out which industry an MSP concentrates on, if any. That way, you can determine if their expertise is particularly beneficial to your business.
What Makes Your MSP Stand Out from the Competition?
Finding out how each MSP believes it differentiates itself from the others can lead to some interesting insights. It lets you know what they value about their own service, which can be enlightening.
Ultimately, it’s mart to ask all of the questions above. If you’d like to learn more about selecting an MSP, the staff at Apogee Managed Solutions can help. Contact us today.