Here’s What You Should Expect from Your Managed Services Provider (MSP)
An effective managed services provider (MSP) can simplify your operations, secure your organization, and grow your business. While, an ineffective MSP can do precisely the opposite. Often, businesses recognize they are being underserved. They realize that their IT provider needs to improve. However, they don’t have a construct for setting clear expectations, nor the confidence to survey the market for an alternative.
To alleviate obstacles and empower your best decision making, here are 7 inalienable rights of any MSP client:
1. The Right to Measured Success
When it comes to your business, you have the right to know how your service provider is performing. When contracting an MSP, you should have a service level objective or agreement that outlines how data is used to measure the success of your business. This data should include a way to measure the performance of the MSP.
You should be given a clear understanding of what reporting looks like. Expect to be provided a way to hold your MSP accountable based on their achievement. You have the right to get monthly reports that speak to the levels of service that you’ve agreed upon with your MSP.
Your SLA contract should define terms such as: Mean Time to Respond, Prioritization of Tickets, Severity of Incidents, Included Support Request, etc.
2. The Right to Control Your Data
When it comes to your data, you have the right to know where it is stored and who has access. With the adoption of cloud services, buyers can become dismissive of the importance of knowing what’s happening to their data for convenience’s sake.
Similarly, you should know how much it will cost to retrieve your data if you ever decide to migrate to a different provider or cloud.
3. The Right to Proof of Security/Compliance
A managed services customer has the right to know the security posture of their provider. This is especially important if you’re enrolled in cyber insurance, as the insurance company will want to know the security attestation of your MSP. Security attestation occurs annually, so the MSP should be able to give you an update of their SOC report in writing upon signing an NDA.
Often, the methodologies behind a comprehensive security plan are just as important as the plan itself. When shopping for an MSP, ask questions about how they approach their own security posture and what they consider to be best practices.
4. The Right to a Single Point of Contact
When it comes to your service, you have the right to have the phone number and email address of a real person. A dedicated account manager should act as your spokesperson in the company.
They should offer proactive advice to the benefit of your business, not to the benefit of the MSP. Your account manager’s goal is to impart their knowledge in a way that helps maximize your IT spend.
5. The Right to Flexibility
As your IT partner, your MSP should grow and shrink with your business. You should have the right to modify services, add/reduce headcount, and make critical business decisions without worrying if your MSP will penalize you.
Service providers should modify licenses and service counts to reflect the actual employee count of your company. Plus, these changes should be done quickly, easily, and without extending the terms of your original agreement.
6.The Right to Transparency
Utilizing an MSP requires mutual levels of trust and transparency on behalf of the client and service provider. These folks are going to be a part of your company and you need to verify that their operation is sound.
To get a third-party opinion, your MSP should be able to provide client referrals from similar businesses to you. They should provide you with information about the viability and security of their supply chain as well.
7. The Right to Holistic Expertise
When engaging an MSP, you have the right to work with an IT organization that takes accountability for your entire IT experience. Your provider should be engaged in technology projects outside of simply providing remote support.
Expect that your MSP will want to participate in your vendor management as well, as this can affect their own environment.
When searching for an MSP, remember that you have the right to a true IT partner. Your MSP should be laser focused on improving the IT maturity of your business, as well as your cybersecurity posture. They should understand that your success is their success.