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10 Questions SMBs Should Ask an MSP

For small and medium-sized businesses today, juggling IT demands alongside core business activities can be a tightrope walk. Choosing a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is more than a tech decision; it’s about finding a partner that aligns with your business’s heartbeat. But, in a landscape where every MSP offers a range of services, how do you pick the one that truly fits your business’s unique needs?

This guide aims to equip you with pointed questions, cutting through the clutter to find an MSP that resonates with your business’s specific requirements and aspirations.

Top 10 Questions You Should Be Asking

1. Do you follow industry standards and best practices?

Why: Adherence to industry standards is vital for reliable and effective service. If an MSP does not follow these standards, your business could face operational inefficiencies, security vulnerabilities, and potential compliance issues, leading to increased costs and risks.

2. Are your technicians certified in the solutions and services you provide?

Why: Certified technicians ensure high-quality service. Without certified professionals, your business might experience poor service execution, leading to frequent system downtimes and inefficiencies that can hinder your business operations and productivity.

3. Do you have experience serving other clients in our industry and of the same business size?

Why: Industry-specific experience ensures the MSP understands your unique challenges. Lack of this experience could result in ineffective solutions that don’t align with your business needs, possibly leading to unnecessary expenditures and operational challenges.

4. Do you have enough resources to serve us effectively and in a timely manner?

Why: Adequate resources are essential for timely and effective service. Insufficient resources could mean delayed responses to critical issues, impacting your business operations and potentially leading to revenue loss during downtime.

5. What are your normal business hours and what is your availability outside of those hours?

Why: Knowing the MSP’s availability, especially during emergencies, is crucial. Limited availability could leave your business unsupported during critical times, risking extended downtimes and potential loss of business.

6. Do you only provide remote services or is onsite a different rate?

Why: Understanding service rates for remote and onsite support helps in budgeting. Unexpected charges for onsite support can lead to increased IT expenses, straining your financial resources.

7. What qualifies as 'out of scope' work and what does it cost?

Why: Clarity on ‘out of scope’ work prevents surprise costs. If this aspect is not well-understood, you might face unforeseen expenses, disrupting your budget and financial planning.

8. Do you properly document work so that you have accurate and complete records?

Why: Proper documentation ensures transparency and accountability. Poor documentation can lead to misunderstandings and hinder your ability to track progress and validate services, potentially leading to disputes or dissatisfaction with the services rendered.

9. Describe the engagement team structure and their experience. Can I meet them?

Why: Understanding the team’s structure and meeting them ensures a good fit. If the team’s dynamics or expertise don’t align with your business, it could lead to miscommunication, inefficient service delivery, and a strained working relationship.

10. What is the procedure for handling cyber-related incidents?

Why: A robust incident response plan is critical for cybersecurity. Inadequate handling of cyber incidents could lead to data breaches, significant downtime, and reputational damage, severely impacting your business’s continuity and trustworthiness.

Make Choosing the Right MSP Easy

The journey to finding the right MSP is an important one, impacting not just your current IT situation but your business’s future path. The key lies in asking the right questions, peeling back the layers to uncover an MSP that’s not just a service provider but a growth partner.

As you consider your options, remember that a partnership with the right MSP, like Ascentient, can be transformative, propelling your business to new heights. If you’re looking for an MSP that understands and aligns with your unique business goals, let’s connect. Reach out to Ascentient to explore how we can support your journey towards technological excellence and business growth.