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How to Choose a Managed Services Provider

August 8, 2023
Reading Time: 5 mins
Author: Katherine Spanner

Searching for IT services can be daunting. Many managed IT providers in Melbourne make the same promises, making it hard for you to choose one that stands out. Yet, IT services offer invaluable benefits to businesses. So, knowing how to choose a managed services provider (MSP) is important.

One of the top reasons people outsource to MSPs is to shift away from the break-fix model. Instead of reacting to issues as they arise, MSPs take preventative measures to stop issues from happening. This lets you continue business-as-usual without interruptions.

Still, not every MSP is created equally. So, this article is here to help you prepare to select an MSP that truly helps you meet your business goals.


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Tips on How to Choose a Managed Services Provider

In Australia, the IT Services market is gearing up to hit $52,15b in 2023. With more companies popping up every day, it’s easy to get bogged down. Many businesses try to compare ‘Apples to Apples’ to simplify the process, but that rarely works. So, here are some tips on how you can truly simplify your selection process.


Focus on Your Needs, Not Simply Your Industry Needs

Every industry has its quirks. An MSP with a bit of know-how on yours can be helpful. However, this shouldn’t be your primary focus when you talk to candidates. Instead, look for an MSP that shows they’re willing to put time and effort into learning your specific business needs.

After all, two businesses in the same industry can be widely different. Just because an MSP knows businesses similar to yours doesn’t automatically mean they understand your needs.


Evaluate Their Experience

You wouldn't send your car to a mechanic fresh out of school, so why trust your IT to a novice? Go for an MSP with a strong track record. Someone who can demonstrate success through testimonials is a solid bet.

Additionally, consider the size of their typical clients. If most of their clients are much larger or smaller than your business, they may not be the right fit. You should also approach MSPs with a long list of services with caution. Many services may show they can help with many different problems, or it could indicate that their resources are spread too thin.


Put Security Front and Centre

New cyber threats are constantly emerging so you need a partner who can stay on top of that. Seek an MSP with a knowledgeable security team who can protect your precious data. Human error can often be the biggest security risk. Your MSP should be able to help with this..


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Technical Questions to Qualify MSPs

Before you book any calls, narrow down the best candidates. Many MSP websites are filled with technical jargon that make it difficult to recognise the best fit. So, here’s some managed services selection criteria and questions you can ask yourself to help you choose a few candidates.

  1. Can they explain how their services enhance business operations?
  2. Is their approach to cybersecurity relevant to your industry?
  3. How do they approach business continuity and data backups with their current clients?
  4. Does their pricing model align with value expectations?
  5. Do they have a process to help minimise disruptions and increase productivity over time?
  6. Are there compelling testimonials?
  7. How involved will they be in your strategic planning?
  8. Are you confident that they have mature processes so you won’t be relying solely on specific individuals?

Avoid IT service companies that bang on about technology without answering these questions. Expertise is important, but it’s more important to find someone who knows how to use it. Would trust a doctor with a lot of textbook medical knowledge if they don’t know how to apply it?


Questions to Ask During MSP Discovery

Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates, it’s time to book discovery calls. Use discovery calls to really find out what they can do. Here’s a list of questions you can ask and MSP and why to ask them.




Could you show me any case studies that prove you improve business productivity? To see examples of their outcomes
How will your IT services help us achieve our business goals? To assess their business-centric approach
How do you ensure smooth hardware and software upgrades? To evaluate their ability to painlessly keep your IT up-to-date
How will you audit our existing IT system? To see what they’ll look for when they plan changes for your system
How will you ensure data privacy? To gauge their privacy measures
How will you get your team and ours to work together? To evaluate their collaboration strategies and assess their transparency
What’s your process for introducing relevant new tech to a business? To make sure they’re strategic with their IT procurement and don’t just procure for procurement’s sake
Do you charge for additional services not covered in our initial agreement? To understand potential extra costs and avoid surprises down the road


How to Choose a Managed Security Services Provider

If you’re more interested in managed security services providers (MSSPs) most of the same tactics apply. You can use many of the same MSP qualifying questions, but with more of a focus on security operations.


What’s the Difference Between an MSP and an MSSP?

An MSP handles the broad stroke responsibilities of a company's IT. Whereas, an MSSP focuses solely on cybersecurity. A lot of MSPs are good at cybersecurity, so you might not need to pick an MSSP instead.

Yet, some businesses do opt for MSSPs. Those operating in industries with high-stakes information may favour an MSSP’s hyper-focus on navigating the threat landscape.

Evaluate your business needs before selecting an MSSP over an MSP. If you have other IT troubles, an MSSP won’t help if it’s not cybersecurity.


Get a More Sensible Solution

The bottom line is that your technology is essential to your business - and you need someone who can help you get the most out of it. At Sensible Business Solutions, we combine our business acumen and technical prowess to manage your IT so you don’t have to.

We hope that we can check a lot of items off your MSP shopping list. Whip out the managed services vendor selection criteria and contact us to find out if we do.


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