What should small businesses look for in a managed services company?

Most businesses could benefit by outsourcing IT to some extent, but small to medium-sized businesses in particular could put themselves at a real advantage to their competitors by using managed IT services for small companies.

MSPs offer high-quality IT support and infrastructure that’s often better than a company could achieve in-house, for a monthly fee. For small businesses, this gives them an IT setup far superior to what their budget might allow if they tried to achieve this internally.

When it comes to choosing an MSP, small businesses will probably have different needs to larger companies and could be better off choosing a provider that specialises in managed IT services for small companies. You don’t always have to go with the biggest major players; choosing an MSP that fits with your company and can meet your needs is usually more important than company size.

Here are some key things to look for as a small business when choosing an MSP.

Experience

Choose an IT provider that has experience working with a company of a similar size (and ideally, sector) as yours. A large MSP might be perfectly suited to supporting a nationwide company with multiple locations but less good at providing a customised service to small organisations.

Flexibility

Do you want to outsource all of your IT or just parts of it? Do you have a small in-house IT team and want to keep control of certain aspects? Or do you want an external MSP to take care of everything? Whichever set-up is right for you, you need an MSP that is flexible and can accommodate your changing needs. This might mean giving them more or less IT to look after in the future, depending on whether your company grows or if you need to scale back. Look for an  MSP that lets you add or remove users as required.

Availability

It’s very important to be able to contact your IT service provider with any questions you might have, or to report issues that might come up. Look for a provider with a small enough team that they are readily available, but which operates around the clock so you can report problems outside of office hours.

Hardware support

Small companies may also find it beneficial to use an IT service provider that offers Hardware as a Service (not all MSPs do). Hardware as a Service (HaaS) is an ‘as a service’ solution which lets companies ‘rent’ hardware from a provider for a monthly fee and includes technical support and diagnostics if anything goes wrong with the equipment. This is useful for small companies who want to reduce CapEx while still using best-in-class equipment and hardware.

What makes the perfect provider?

Managed IT service providers that are ideal for small companies will:

  • Provide an SLA but be flexible enough to let you add and remove services and users
  • Have a highly-skilled team of people that is large enough to cope with most eventualities, but small enough that they are available and accessible
  • Provide a high-quality IT infrastructure and support at a reasonable cost
  • Offer Hardware as as Service as well as other IT solutions

Finding an MSP that offers all of this can be hard. To find all these features, you might have to use a smaller provider – and that’s okay! As long as your MSP is industry-accredited, has a list of happy customers and can be trusted with your data, they don’t need to be huge. In fact, smaller companies may be more able to provide a more tailored service than larger companies with hundreds of customers.

Shop around and meet with lots of potential providers before making a decision. Ask to speak with past and present customers and establish exactly what you want from your MSP before proceeding. Taking these steps should help you choose an MSP that is right for you. Click here for a list of must-ask questions when looking for a managed services provider.

Lucy Wright
Lucy Wright

Lucy is Core's Senior Copywriter and is responsible for creating content within the Marketing team. She began her copywriting career in B2C ecommerce before moving to the IT sector. A journalism graduate, Lucy has written for publications in Spain, China and the UK.

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