What do business owners look for in an IT provider?

Within the IT support industry there are no real standards in terms of what or how a company provides IT services. There are differing models such as break-fix, contracts, or hybrid offerings.

With 20+ years in the IT support space, we feel that the Managed Services approach works best for both client and provider alike.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) exist to collect and manage an array of services and solutions for their clients. Within that designation, there can be a focus on vertical or niche industries.

A true managed service provider is one that exists to service a client in many parts of their business, whereas a break-fix firm is available on demand as needs arise.

What we have observed over the last two decades is that clients with an MSP are much better prepared for changes, have a higher security posture, and have better performing networks. To this end, that is our approach. Think of an MSP as your IT controller.

Questions you should ask a potential IT provider should include:

  • How many employees do you directly hire? (Stay away from franchise firms that use back office techs to supplement the owner.)
  • Do you carry full professional liability insurance?
  • Do you focus on proactive work and what can be expected?
  • What is the average wait time to talk to a technician?
  • Can you advise and consult on security and compliance? Is this part of the contract?
  • Do you have a long-term commitment? (Stick with firms that offer you month-to-month pricing as they will scale with you and offer more flexible options.)
  • Can you support all of our business functions? [For example, our MSP will handle just about everything for a client (domain, dns, email, av, help desk, hosted phones, file sharing, etc) Try to get a single source to tie all of your critical business IT needs together.]
  • Get client references, ask for more if needed. Call them, get honest feedback.

Most of all, find a provider you can trust, one that will act on your company’s best interests. As an example, our firm does not add margin to hardware or software sales. We are not here to upsell gear, instead we focus on our service relationship.

Schedule regular meetings with your new IT team and fill them in on your thinking and plans. A good IT provider can be a critical part of your overall leadership team and help you save time and money with smart solutions.