5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an IT Managed Service Provider



In this digital era where technology is king, non-profit organizations are required to keep pace with the evolving tech landscape. As your organization strives to make a difference, it’s crucial that you leverage technology to improve operational efficiency and expand your reach. However, managing technology can be a daunting task, and this is where an IT Managed Service Provider proves to be a game-changer.

An IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) is your business’s technological guardian angel, taking care of your digital needs from cybersecurity to cloud computing. These tech gurus offer a suite of services designed to streamline your organization’s IT infrastructure, bolster security, and foster growth. But, here’s the rub – not all MSPs are created equal. Choosing an MSP is much like choosing a strategic partner, and the right one can catapult your organization’s digital transformation journey.

Now, it’s important to bear in mind that choosing an MSP isn’t a decision to be made lightly. As Lawrence Guyot, our resident expert at ETTE, often emphasizes, “The choice of an MSP can significantly impact the efficiency, security, and growth of an organization.” Therefore, it’s critical to arm yourself with the right set of inquiries when you’re on the lookout to hire an MSP.

To help you navigate this process, we’ve compiled a list of vital questions to ask before hiring an IT Managed Service Provider:

  • What services does the MSP offer?
  • How do they ensure the security of your IT infrastructure?
  • What is their pricing model?
  • How do they handle IT support and response times?
  • How will their services help you achieve your business goals?

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Each of these questions serves as a beacon that guides you towards the right MSP, aligned with your specific needs and goals. From the moment you decide to hire an MSP to the final contract signing, these questions can save you from regret and help pave your path towards a fruitful partnership. Stay tuned as we delve into each question, shedding light on the crucial role of MSPs, and how to choose the best one for your nonprofit organization.

Question 1: What Services Do You Offer?

One of the first things to inquire about when considering an IT managed service provider is the range of services they offer. It’s important to remember that not all MSPs are created equal, and their service offerings can vary significantly.

Understanding the Range of Services Offered by MSPs

An effective MSP, like us at ETTE, should offer a broad spectrum of IT services. Depending on the needs of your organization, these could range from remote monitoring and management of hardware, software, and network systems to offering robust security services. These might include penetration testing, threat hunting, and incident response to protect your IT infrastructure from cyber threats.

Our expert at ETTE, Lawrence Guyot, further explains that a reliable MSP should also provide cloud services, which involve the configuration, monitoring, and management of cloud computing platforms. This is crucial as more nonprofits are moving towards cloud solutions for their operations.

The Importance of Customized IT Services

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all in managed IT services. What works for one organization might not work for another. Therefore, it’s crucial to find an MSP that understands your unique needs and offers customized solutions to match. For instance, at ETTE, we tailor our services to the specific needs of each nonprofit organization we partner with, helping them maximize their potential using technology.

Key Services to Look for in an MSP

Here are some key services you should look for in an MSP:

  1. Proactive IT Support: The MSP should provide proactive IT support, including regular system maintenance and updates, to prevent potential issues before they occur.
  2. IT Consulting: The MSP should offer IT consulting services to help you make informed decisions about your IT infrastructure.
  3. Data Backup and Recovery: The MSP should have solid data backup and recovery solutions to ensure your data is safe and can be easily recovered in case of any loss.
  4. Cloud Services: The MSP should provide cloud services, including the configuration, monitoring, and management of cloud platforms.
  5. Cybersecurity Solutions: The MSP should offer robust cybersecurity solutions to protect your IT infrastructure from cyber threats.

Asking the right questions can help you determine if a potential service provider is a good fit for your organization. The next question to ask is about their approach to ensuring the security of your IT infrastructure, which we will explore in the next section.

Question 2: How Do You Ensure the Security of Our IT Infrastructure?

At ETTE, we understand that non-profit organizations, like yours, handle sensitive data – making IT security a top priority. So, when you’re looking for an IT managed service provider, it’s crucial to understand how they approach IT security management.

The Role of MSPs in IT Security Management

The primary role of an MSP in IT security management is to protect your IT infrastructure from potential threats, monitor systems for any suspicious activity, and respond to security incidents promptly. This involves implementing robust security measures, conducting regular audits, and updating systems to keep up with evolving threats.

Key Security Measures Implemented by MSPs

An effective MSP should implement a number of key security measures. These include remote monitoring and management of hardware and infrastructure, security services like penetration testing and incident response, and configuration, monitoring, and management of cloud services. At ETTE, for instance, we conduct regular technical security assessments to identify any potential weaknesses in your IT systems and take necessary measures to address them.

The Importance of Regular Security Audits and Updates

Regular security audits are vital to maintaining the integrity of your IT infrastructure. An audit, or a Technical Security Assessment as we refer to it at ETTE, is the process of checking that your systems and processes are secure. This includes reviewing user access controls, evaluating the effectiveness of security policies, and checking for vulnerabilities in your systems.

Furthermore, as threats evolve, your systems need to be updated to protect against the latest attacks. An MSP should provide regular updates and patches as part of their managed services.

In conclusion, ensuring the security of your IT infrastructure is a crucial aspect of managed IT services. By asking these questions, you can gain a better understanding of a potential MSP’s approach to IT security and determine whether their services align with your organization’s needs. In the next section, we will discuss the MSP’s pricing model and why it matters.

Question 3: What is Your Pricing Model?

Choosing an IT managed service provider for your nonprofit organization is a significant investment, which is why understanding the pricing model is essential. Different MSPs employ varied pricing strategies, and understanding these can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and needs.

Understanding Different MSP Pricing Models

There are typically four main pricing models that MSPs use:

  1. Per-device pricing: Here, the MSP charges a flat fee for each device it manages. This model can be beneficial if your organization has a limited number of devices.
  2. Per-user pricing: This pricing model involves charging a flat fee for each user, accommodating users who use multiple devices. At ETTE, we employ a per-user pricing model to offer cost-effective solutions.
  3. All-inclusive pricing: Also referred to as the ‘all-you-can-eat model’, the MSP charges a flat fee for all its IT infrastructure support and management services. This model offers great value if your organization needs comprehensive IT support.
  4. Tiered pricing: Under this model, your organization can choose the bundle of services that best fits its needs. This model is flexible and can cater to various IT needs.

The Importance of Transparent and Predictable Pricing

As Lawrence Guyot, our expert at ETTE, always emphasizes, transparency and predictability in pricing are crucial. An MSP should be able to provide a clear breakdown of costs, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. Predictable pricing, often in the form of a fixed monthly charge, can be more cost-effective than paying for unplanned repairs or services on an hourly basis. Such a model, known as a subscription model, allows for better budgeting and financial planning.

Evaluating Cost-Effectiveness of MSP Services

When evaluating the cost-effectiveness of an MSP’s services, it’s not just about the price tag. Consider the value the MSP brings to your organization. For instance, if the MSP provides 24/7 monitoring services, expert resources, and business continuity, these services can significantly reduce downtime and improve efficiency, resulting in cost savings in the long run.

Also, consider if the MSP can fill staff shortages or provide expertise that you currently lack, as these can also contribute to cost efficiency. Remember, an effective MSP isn’t just about managing your IT infrastructure; it’s about helping your organization use technology to achieve its mission.

Next, we will look at how MSPs handle IT support and their response times, a critical factor to consider when choosing an IT managed service provider.

Question 4: How Do You Handle IT Support and Response Times?

When considering an IT managed service provider, it’s important to understand how they handle IT support and their response times. This is a critical factor in ensuring that your organization’s IT infrastructure runs smoothly and any issues are resolved quickly and effectively.

The Role of MSPs in IT Support and Maintenance

As Lawrence Guyot, a topic expert at ETTE explains, MSPs provide essential ongoing support for your IT infrastructure. This can take the form of remote monitoring and management of hardware and systems, as well as providing quick and effective responses to any IT issues that arise. MSPs that offer a subscription service model, for instance, will typically fix any problems as part of the agreement, ensuring that your organization’s network continues to function optimally.

In addition to this, MSPs also deploy specialist software platforms that automate many functions, such as RMM tools for maintaining IT systems and PSA tools for managing projects, billing, and inventory. These tools enable MSPs to provide a comprehensive and efficient IT support service.

Evaluating the MSP’s Response Time and Support Efficiency

When choosing an MSP, it’s important to evaluate their response time and support efficiency. Timely and responsive support is essential for avoiding IT headaches and ensuring that operations continue to run smoothly. It’s also crucial for minimizing downtime and maintaining productivity.

At ETTE, our team is committed to providing prompt and effective IT support. We understand the importance of resolving IT issues quickly and have the necessary resources, tools, and processes in place to ensure a rapid response. We also regularly review and analyze our support metrics to identify areas for improvement and optimize our response times.

The Importance of Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

One way to ensure that an MSP will provide the level of support and response time your organization needs is through a Service Level Agreement (SLA). An SLA is a contractual arrangement between the MSP and its customer that details the performance and quality metrics that govern their relationship.

In the SLA, response times, performance, and security specifications should be clearly defined, so you know exactly what to expect from the MSP. It’s essential for your organization to be precise when agreeing on the commitments in SLA contracts.

At ETTE, we believe in setting clear expectations and delivering on our promises. That’s why we establish robust SLAs with our clients, clearly outlining our commitments and ensuring we deliver the highest level of service.

In the next section, we will explore how an MSP can help your organization achieve its business goals.

Question 5: How Will Your Services Help Us Achieve Our Business Goals?

When exploring potential IT managed service providers, it’s essential to understand how their services can align with and support your organization’s overall objectives. At ETTE, we recognize that IT services should not only solve immediate technical issues but also empower your organization to grow, innovate, and succeed.

The Role of MSPs in Business Continuity and Growth

The right MSP can play a crucial role in your organization’s continuity and growth. This is achieved by offering services like disaster recovery and business continuity planning, ensuring your operations can swiftly recover in case of any unforeseen events. A report by Mordor Research predicts that the managed services market will grow to $380 billion by 2028, underlining the increasing reliance of businesses on these services for their continued growth and stability.

At ETTE, we offer business continuity and disaster recovery services that ensure your organization’s operations can withstand disruptions and continue to function effectively.

How MSPs Can Facilitate Faster Technology Adoption

The rapid pace of technological change presents both challenges and opportunities. A proficient MSP can assist with faster technology adoption, ensuring you are leveraging the latest solutions that align with your business needs, even when your team lacks the expertise to implement these technologies.

Our team at ETTE is committed to staying ahead of tech trends, helping our clients navigate the evolving digital landscape. We aim to provide you with the latest applications and tools that can accelerate your organization’s digital transformation and operational efficiency.

The Strategic Services Offered by MSPs for Business Transformation

Beyond immediate IT support, MSPs can offer strategic services that drive business transformation. For instance, an MSP can bridge talent gaps in your organization, providing access to top industry expertise and skills that may otherwise be lacking in your team.

As Lawrence Guyot, our expert at ETTE, points out, we not only provide staffing solutions for legacy skills but also training opportunities, thanks to our large client base. We understand the importance of IT consulting in mapping your digital transformation journey and making informed decisions on technology investments. Whether it’s cloud technology, cybersecurity, or data compliance, our team is equipped to provide strategic guidance that positively impacts your bottom line.

In conclusion, the right IT managed service provider should be able to demonstrate how their services align with your business goals. At ETTE, we’re proud to offer services that not only solve immediate IT issues but also drive business growth and transformation.

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The Importance of Thorough Evaluation Before Hiring an MSP

Choosing the right IT managed service provider is a critical business decision. It requires a careful evaluation of the provider’s technical capabilities, service offerings, pricing models, and security practices. However, it goes beyond just checking off boxes on a list.

The most valuable MSPs are those that understand your business and can align their services to your specific needs and goals. They should be able to provide not just technical support, but strategic insights that can help you use technology to drive business growth. Remember, a good IT MSP acts as a partner, not just a supplier.

As Lawrence Guyot, our expert at ETTE, often says, “Patching is indeed needed, as more than 90% of cyber attacks were due to known vulnerabilities that would have been addressed with up to date patching.” This just underscores the critical role of MSPs in maintaining the security of your systems.

How the Right MSP Can Transform Your Business’s IT Infrastructure and Operations

The right IT managed service provider can help transform your business’s IT infrastructure and operations. With the right partner, you can gain access to cutting-edge technologies and expertise that might otherwise be out of reach. You can enjoy significant cost savings, improve productivity, and ensure business continuity.

In addition, the right MSP can also help your business stay ahead of the curve in a highly competitive, innovation-driven environment. By offering strategic IT consultancy, an MSP can help you make informed decisions on technology investments, impacting operational efficiency and bottom-line growth.

At ETTE, we’re proud to offer a range of services, from cloud solutions to cybersecurity and risk management. We’re here to help you navigate the digital landscape, ensuring your enterprise is digitally secure and ahead of the game.

In the end, the choice of an IT managed service provider can make a significant difference in your organization’s ability to compete, innovate and grow. Therefore, it’s crucial to ask the right questions and make an informed decision.

For more information on how to choose the right IT managed service provider, check out our knowledge base and services.


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