This is more important than many vendors your company uses. IT keeps your office and business moving forward. A failure on the part of your MSP can result in work stoppage, missed deadlines and potentially lost clientele.

So how do you choose? In IT there are certifications of expertise that can be shown, but Information Technology is an unregulated industry. Virtually anyone can ‘hang out a shingle’ claiming mastery of the IT universe, but we at IT Support LA come to the rescue of far too many of these slapdash ‘IT guys’ to take that seriously.

The number of ‘technicians’ who apply for employment with us, yet know next to nothing, is staggering.

How do you sort through the chaff to get to the wheat? You have to dig through a lot of dirt to get to the diamonds.

How Can You Identify a Top-Notch MSP?

Watch them and listen.

The Best MSPs will concentrate on you. If the IT candidate is pushing Plan A, B or C on you, based only on the number of users, they are more than likely hacks. Any MSP that treats your needs as fitting into one of their programs does not have your best interests in mind.

What the TOP MSPs do:

They Ask Smart Questions and Listen to You

They ask about your business, your goals and how business flows through your workplace.
A litigation attorney is geared toward the steps between the initial client consultation and the entering the courtroom with a winning case.
A manufacturer is geared toward the steps between an initial order and transporting the final product.

Same needs? On a fundamental basis, certainly: computers need to work. The Best MSPs want to understand your workflow, any frustrations you have, and how that current model will support the company processes as the business grows.

How do you go about creating and handling increased production?

What ‘new ground’ are you planning to break in terms of their products or services?
How would you like to improve customer service?

Where are your workflow ‘logjams’?

What currently happens when your staff experiences network downtime?

Depending on your response, different questions will ensue, and they are listening.
The Best MSPs create a custom plan just for you based on what they’ve learned about you.

They Perform Truly Proactively

This goes well beyond exhibiting the proper experience, skills and certifications necessary. THOSE attributes should be a given, but they must be a mere starting point. Dig a little deeper. Do not just listen to a canned and rehearsed presentation. Ask about the availability of both onsite and Help Desk remote staff with specific skill sets that are pertinent to your business. Have them explain their Proactive versus Reactive methods of support.

Ask them about their internal policies and procedures and their mandate as to ‘Best Practices’.
A Top-Notch MSP will have these in writing and will not be shy or hesitant about sharing them with you.
If the ‘IT Guy’ sitting across from you looks bewildered and falls into basic selling ‘talking points’, like “We promise a one hour turnaround time”, then you are talking to the wrong guy. Get a Pro in there.

The Best MSPs do not have the same mentality as the ‘Break & Fix’ (B&F) IT guys who overpopulate the industry. B&F doesn’t work for you, and if they were truly proactive, these IT guys would know it doesn’t work for them, either.

The MSP you want will share the Vision they implement every day: The same forward-looking practices that keep you up and running, that solves an issue the first time, that prevents foreseeable issues within your network, and thus keeps their hours on your network to a minimum. The MSP saves money, and you save money.

How can any IT Provider guarantee consistency if they cannot immediately spell out and show you their Best Practices and procedures? Consistency of quality is based on having a set of rules they live by, which are ingrained and come as ‘second nature’ to the entire staff. A solid Top-Notch MSP never ‘wings it.’

Your Virtual CIO

Your MSP should be acting as your virtual Chief Information Officer. Proactiveness goes well beyond knowing the storage capacity in your server or the dates when hardware and software will become obsolete, it’s about how to recognize, test and implement new technologies which can improve every aspect of your company, just those areas dealing with IT. Your MSP should be almost an employee, as if your IT department were just down the hall from your office. You need to have both repair/maintenance-based communication, but casual as well. If you see an emerging technology on the news that looks like it could help your company, you need an easy conduit to toss the idea around with your virtual CIO.

For the Best MSPs, there is no such thing as going ‘above and beyond’ – it is all part of being your technology partner.

The Desired MSP Will Offer These Services (At a Bare Minimum):

For a Fixed Price per month, the MSP needs to provide:

  1. Unlimited Help Desk
  2. Unlimited on site for troubleshooting and repair
  3. Network & Server Optimization
  4. IT Budgeting & Road Map
  5. Cybersecurity Strategy based on current equipment and any necessary upgrades
  6. Vendor Management
  7. Proactive monitoring
  8. Reporting

These need to be precisely spelled out in a Master Service Agreement (MSA).

What is ‘Vendor Management’ (#6)?

No matter who the technology vendor is – Internet, VoIP phones, printers, or the specific software programs your company uses, they all fall under the Big Tent of Electronic Communications, and we, the MSP, are the Ringmaster.

We manage all of your vendors when necessary to keep the network humming along. The internet’s out? WE make the calls and keep you informed. No more staff members caught in the middle, juggling phones, not knowing what to do next. We speak your vendors’ lingo, and we will sort issues out much faster.

No matter what technologies you use in your business, the MSP must manage your entire multi-vendor and multi-device environment. The Top MSPs will never tell you “That’s not pour problem. You have to call them.”

One vital thing to ask a prospective MSP is if they are truly ‘vendor-neutral’. The Best MSPs have many relationships with their own ‘behind the scenes’ technology vendors but will forgo any of these pre-existing relationships to bring you only the technologies that will provide the best results for your company.

Technology Partners

It takes two to make this Technology Tango truly effective.

You must choose an MSP that you trust, and have faith in their abilities, work practices and advice. This trust builds over time. As they say, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” If you are considering closing a deal with an MSP that you have a single reservation about, your work is not done.

Your MSP must be upfront, open and honest, with ever fact at their fingertips: from their ‘Company Culture’ to their Policies, Procedures and ‘Best Practices’. They need to know where you are taking your company and be enthusiastic about being an integral component in helping you achieve your goals now, and in the future.

About IT Support LA

We embody each and every aspect of the Top MSP. Our methodologies are iron-clad, yet adaptive to your environment. We are entering our 19th year serving the Greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas. We have continuously scaled our growth to ensure no ‘growing pains’, and our technicians are never finished with ‘school’ – the IT landscape, as well as the nature of Cyber Crime changes constantly, and we maintain that if those who are not a step ahead are far behind.

It is just this philosophy that has made our company award-winning:

  • 2 Years awarded Best IT by the Small Business Expo
  • Awarded 2nd best company of any type in the US by the Small Business Expo
  • Awarded Best IT in California by Channel Futures
  • 3 years listed as one of the Top 501 MSPs in the World by Channel Futures

Choose wisely