Managed service providers (MSPs) are transforming how businesses handle their IT needs. By offering continuous IT support, security, and strategic planning, managed IT services providers help businesses streamline operations and gain a competitive edge. However, with the growth of this industry, it’s crucial to differentiate the MSPs that genuinely deliver value from those that simply sell the concept without the expertise. 

Identifying Red Flags in Potential MSPs 

Choosing the right MSP is crucial for protecting your business and maximizing your IT investment. Here are some common red flags to watch out for: 

Franchise Models With No Real Staff 

Some providers may operate under a well-known franchise name but lack in-house technical expertise. They often rely entirely on reselling generic call center services and outsource on-site work to unknown technicians. This can lead to delayed resolutions and a lack of personalized attention. 

Over-Reliance on Call Centers 

While call centers can be useful, MSPs that heavily depend on them for even basic troubleshooting may not prioritize getting to know your business and its unique needs. This approach often leads to longer wait times and a frustrating, impersonal experience. 

Multitiered Security Offerings Without True Protection 

Be wary of MSPs that offer tiered security plans with enticing names like “basic” or “premium,” but lack true comprehensive protection. Often, these plans are designed to upsell you rather than provide the security your business genuinely needs. 

Retainer-Based Models Lacking Proactive Maintenance 

Some companies advertise as MSPs while offering a retainer-based model, where you pay a monthly fee. However, if they don’t provide proactive maintenance, monitoring, and updates, they are essentially break-fix providers with a recurring billing model. 

Misuse of Industry Terminology 

Many companies will attach terms like “MSP” or “MSSP” (managed security service provider) to their marketing without genuinely offering the comprehensive services these terms imply. Don’t be swayed by buzzwords alone; carefully evaluate their capabilities. 

Questions To Ask When Evaluating MSPs 

Going beyond surface-level promises is crucial for choosing a managed IT services provider you can trust. Here are critical questions to ask: 

Client Testimonials and References 

Don’t just ask if an MSP has testimonials – request them! Speak to their current or former clients with businesses like yours in size and industry. This gives you invaluable insight into their service quality and responsiveness. 

Consultant Reliability 

If an MSP suggests bringing in a consultant, inquire about their role and ongoing involvement. Beware of situations where a consultant merely hands off work to other parties without providing real oversight or long-term expertise.

Assessment of Service Integration 

Ask how the MSP plans to integrate their services with your existing infrastructure and workflows. A true MSP should offer a strategic approach, ensuring that everything works smoothly, not just provide piecemeal solutions. 

Vendor Transparency 

Understand who will be directly working on your systems. Inquire about potential outsourcing and whether any work, especially data handling, might be performed overseas. Transparency is key for ensuring data security and compliance. 

Key Considerations for Hiring a Legitimate MSP 

To find an MSP that truly safeguards your business and maximizes your technology investment, consider these factors: 

  • Comprehensive Service Offerings: Look beyond break-fix support. A true MSP should offer proactive maintenance, network monitoring, security solutions, and strategic technology planning. 
  • Transparency and Communication: Choose an MSP that values open communication. You should understand who handles your data, how they report issues, and their plan for addressing potential problems. 
  • Physical Office Presence: While not always a guarantee, an established physical office can indicate a more stable and accountable MSP. It gives you a place to go if needed. 
  • Team Familiarity and Consistency: A dedicated team who gets to know your business fosters smooth collaboration and efficient issue resolution. Avoid MSPs with constantly rotating staff. 
  • Insurance and Liability Protection: Any reputable MSP should carry both cyber liability insurance and errors and omissions insurance. This protects your business in the event of data breaches or technical errors. 

Invest in the Right MSP: Protect and Grow Your Business 

Choosing the right managed service provider is a smart investment for your business. Not all MSPs are the same, so take your time to find the right fit. A true MSP becomes a dedicated partner, not just a tech support line. Use the tips we’ve covered to find managed IT services providers that offer the security, transparency, and expertise you need. 

At Professional Computer Concepts, we understand the power of well-managed IT. With over 20 years in the business, we’re passionate about finding the best solutions for you. From cybersecurity to the cloud, let’s work together to reach your technology goals. Get in touch with us now!