January 20, 2023

Choosing the right Managed Service Provider for your business

Managing data and IT solutions in-house can be challenging and expensive. Modern digitalisation of operations has resulted in IT making up a substantial part of a business’s daily workload. With limited resources, many organisations turn to a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) – a third-party company to partner with to help manage IT.

From cybersecurity monitoring to cloud storage management, an MSP can provide the technology and expertise to manage an organisation’s digital operations, allowing businesses to scale up and focus on other important areas.

The right MSP can help take your company to the next level however, you must be sure to choose one that is suitable for your individual requirements.  Below we take a look at what an MSP does, how they can help your business, and most importantly, how to choose the right one.


What does a MSP do?

An MSP can be based on-site or remotely.  They manage IT infrastructure, monitor and remove cyber threats, ensure data security and data privacy regulatory compliance, maximise network uptime and efficiency and help a business plan for the future.

Some MSPs such as Neo Technologies, offer a full range of services including:

  • Network design and server infrastructure
  • Cybersecurity, data privacy and compliance
  • Strategy and IT advice
  • 24/7 technical support and device management
  • Hardware and software, implementation and management
  • IT project management
  • Phone systems and Internet
  • Cloud services

It’s important to note that not every MSP provides full IT services as listed above. That’s why it’s vital to find a provider who has the services that will match your business needs.


The benefits of partnering with an MSP

Partnering with an MSP can provide lower and predictable IT costs, allowing you to divide your IT expenses into fixed, predictable monthly payments.  Using an in-house IT team requires significantly higher costs from training and equipment purchases to upgrades and maintenance. In addition, your business has to deal with IT employee turnover.

Using an MSP also makes it easier to scale up as your business needs grow. With pay-as-you-go service plans, you can even decide to scale up managed IT solutions during your busiest season and scale down again when needed.

In addition, by outsourcing your IT needs, you are allowing yourself to focus on much more important things like growing your business. Small and medium-sized businesses tend to try to do everything themselves due to budget restrictions and limited resources. However, partnering with an MSP allows you to focus on your core competencies and growth of your business rather than worrying about your IT needs.

For more on this see: The top 10 benefits of using managed IT services


How to choose an MSP

The truth of the matter is, not all MSPs are equal. There’s a broad spectrum of external IT service providers a company can choose from and each MSP will have their own set of qualifications, certifications, and skill-sets that enable them to provide services in a unique manner.  As you start your search for a reliable and trustworthy managed service provider, consider the following factors:

1. Compatibility of service offering

Each MSP will have a range of different service offerings.  Neo Technologies, for example, provides a full service covering all IT and cloud needs.  Others only offer partial services to help with certain aspects of IT operations.

The right MSP should have familiarity with your business’ applications, IT infrastructure, and other IT assets so they can properly manage your day-to-day operations.  The MSP will need to serve as an expert on those systems, especially when it comes to configuration and working through breaches or errors.

The second aspect of compatibility is whether your MSP has the tools and systems that allow it to operate in your IT environment.


2. Security and compliance support

It’s vital to work with an MSP who values security and operates in protected environments to ensure the safety of your data. Malicious actors and the attack vectors they rely on are becoming increasingly complex, and an MSP that is ill-equipped to handle them can do more harm than good for your business.

An MSP should ensure your files and data are safe from cyberattacks and recommend endpoint protection and network security solutions in order to combat the rapidly-moving assault of harmful software. Additionally, they should ensure any compliance or legal considerations are catered for.

Your MSP should also implement backup software in order to fetch your most recent data in the event of a breach. Part of this backup process will involve setting up automation where possible, a simple restoration plan to follow, and a no downtime policy if possible.


3. Expertise, skills and certifications

Be it the service desk agents, developers, or IT professionals, your MSP should have an extensive roster of certified IT experts, especially in technologies and issues relevant to your business.  An MSP should contain experts with backgrounds in everything from project management to systems engineering, network engineering to security, and servicing to installation. When you’re looking for an MSP, it’s also ideal to find someone who has expertise in your industry, the ideal outcome being a long-term partnership.


4. Technical support and response time

Your MSP’s ability to troubleshoot and fix IT problems depends on several factors, such as the quality of its service agents, processes, and its help desk platform.  An MSP should offer around-the-clock monitoring and incident-response services and ideally provide uptime and issue response time guarantees in your service level agreement (SLA).

In the off-chance you need on-site technical support, your MSP should also offer a solution to bring that support to you.


5. Third-party vendor partnerships

A typical IT environment consists of software, hardware, and cloud services purchased from vendors, such as Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Sophos and others.  A good MSP maintains partnerships with these vendors, which results in added benefits for clients such as discounts on purchases.


6. Personality, reputation and culture

MSPs are not one-size-fits-all. A good MSP is a business partner, and to build the best partnership, the MSP needs to fit into your company’s culture and support your corporate objectives. Ideally their organisational structure and culture should mesh with your own.

When speaking with people at the MSP, do you get a positive feeling or an inkling that something isn’t quite right? Are they professional and courteous? Asking yourself questions like these will help you better understand the MSP’s strengths and limitations so that you can make an informed decision.

In addition, it’s worth doing some research on the MSP, in regards to how long they have been in business and the size and type of their client base.  A good MSP should be happy to provide references from current clients and it’s advisable to speak to at least two existing customers.


7. Cost

While cost will be a factor, it’s never advisable to base your choice of an MSP based on cost alone.  As in other industries, costs will vary and will depend on the level of expertise and experience the MSP has to offer. The costs for IT can typically be broken down into four categories:

  1. Hardware including computers, keyboards, phones printers etc. These tend to be priced on an ad-hoc basis as to when they are required.
  2. Licensing for software such as Microsoft
  3. Project Management including scoping, quoting, planning and implementation
  4. IT Support either on an ad-hoc basis or ongoing

The cost of managed IT services will depend on the complexity of your IT environment, your business demands, how many technology users you have and the projects you may need to execute.


Partner with Neo Technologies, a full service MSP with a difference

At Neo Technologies, one of our key points of difference is the hands-on and relationship focussed approach we take with our clients. We spend the time getting to know your business inside-out, allowing us to not only solve your current IT problems, but to anticipate future ones.

With over 25 years of industry experience, Neo Technologies can keep your company secure, connected and compliant, allowing you to focus on achieving your current and future business goals. We offer end to end IT services, solutions, support and advisory with a depth and breadth of specialised knowledge that sets us apart from our competitors. Contact us on 1300 661 832 to learn more about ways we can help support your current and future business needs.


Julie Dunmore

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