7 factors to consider when choosing an MSP/MSSP for your organisation

An IT managed services provider (MSP)/managed security services provider (MSSP) can offer your organisation access to a highly skilled and dedicated IT team without the financial and operational burden of managing an in-house resource. They can effectively manage your cyber security and cloud demands and ensure that the rest of your IT environment runs smoothly.

Take, for example, a Managed SIEM service. You can gain access to expert security analysts and state-of-the-art threat detection technology, using real time monitoring and AI to pinpoint even the most advanced attacks and initiate a swift and accurate response; all without the high upfront and long term cost of an in-house team.

Keep in mind that not all IT managed service providers are created equal. Opting for the right MSP or MSSP will help you grow your business, all while taking advantage of new, industry leading technical resources at your disposal. Conversely, if you choose the wrong managed services provider, you could be left with unstable operations, reputational damage, unhappy clients, and unexplained downtime.

7 factors to consider when choosing an MSP/MSSP for your organisation

When selecting a reliable MSP/MSSP, you are investing in your business' stability. Here are some factors you need to keep in mind when choosing an IT MSP/MSSP:

1. STRONG VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS

Any MSP/MSSP worth a grain of salt will have their own working relationship with business and IT vendors to provide you with the best quality of service, as they need to have direct access to software and hardware solutions and vendor specialists who support them. Additionally, they should have the ability to interact with your existing vendors to get you the best pricing for those services - driving your costs down and optimising your existing resources.

2. RELEVANT ACCREDITATIONS

If you are establishing cyber security measures for your business, you need to ensure that the MSSP you choose has the relevant accreditations. For example, here at Celerity we have ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus third-party certifications; a key indicator of our maturity as a service provider.

Working with an MSSP that holds a valid ISO 27001 accreditation will significantly minimise the risk of a data security breach. Moreover, this certification also clearly signifies that the service provider is serious about providing high-quality service and the best network security compliance.

Other certifications that you can check for include ISO 14001, Cyber Essentials Plus, Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), etc.

3. HIGH-LEVEL SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

Having skills that go beyond knowing how to troubleshoot operating systems and install a hard drive is essential. To proactively maintain your network of computers, servers, software, devices, and peripherals, an MSP needs to have several years of experience and high-level, expert knowledge.

Far more than just conventional break-fix, where repair skills are usually enough, MSPs, and especially MSSPs, need to have a comprehensive understanding of business processes and best practices of the industry.

When considering a potential managed IT services provider, don't just focus on their size. Ask about reactive versus proactive support methods, their availability of staff with particular skills, scalability, and how best practices are followed.

You need to engage with an MSP/MSSP that knows how to implement technology that can enhance all aspects of your business along with the expertise to make it happen, instead of one that'll just repair problems as they occur without focusing on the larger picture. Not only can a good MSP slash your operational costs and generally make your life easier, but it can also drive business growth.

4. ROBUST TECHNICAL SETUP

A dependable MSP needs to have a clear source for dealing with technical problems. Whether it's outsourced tech repair or its own network operations centre, a good MSP will be able to take care of all your IT problems, from security patch updates and backend data security to helpdesk support and network monitoring.

An MSP should have the ability to deliver on all these support functions with minimal effort.

5. CUSTOMISED IT INFRASTRUCTURE

When it comes to IT, a one size fits all approach doesn't really work. A tech setup that works for one business won't always work in another, and your MSP needs to know that. Your tech services provider needs to take the time to develop a tailored IT infrastructure that can overcome your unique business challenges while meeting your budget.

For example, in cyber security a customised approach ensures that security measures are precisely aligned with your business' unique risk profile, compliance requirements, and operational workflows. This not only enhances your protection against threat actors, but also maximises operational efficiency. Tailored solutions can seamlessly integrate into your existing systems, promote scalability to accommodate growth, and provide a cost-effective long-term defense strategy.

6. FLEXIBLE SUPPORT

One of the best things about Managed IT services is that all you need to specify is the kind of cover you need, and your MSP will make sure that the required resource is swiftly and smoothly put in place. For instance, you might want to consider expanding your customer support in order to provide out-of-hours coverage without increasing your in-house staff members.

Then as your business expands, you might need to deliver an even better service level, requiring extra resources available to manage customers' calls. When you have decided on an MSP/MSSP, it is important to talk about how flexible you want them to be and how the dynamic needs of your business will require support.

7. FEE STRUCTURE

One of the biggest advantages of working with an MSP is that your spending on IT is predictable and controlled. IT managed services providers who charge a flat fee for defined services benefit themselves by getting the job done right the very first time – and by preventing issues from occurring in the first place.

Taking you beyond technology

Managed IT and cyber security services are a powerful solution to many unique business challenges, including operational inefficiencies and high costs.

In security, most organisations are struggling with skills shortages - skills that all businesses rely on to safeguard mission critical assets. Placing your security strategy in the hands of Celerity's team of experts is a valuable way to enhance your cyber security, adding further value and business success to your technology investments. Our skilled analysts will secure your organisation, improve its cyber security posture, and advance its maturity, as well as supporting your recovery to full health should the worst happen.

Get in touch with Celerity today to learn how our Managed Cyber Security service portfolio can help to fortify your cyber defences and improve your recovery in the events of an attack.

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