Make sure your IT provider delivers ongoing results, not short-term fixes.
You deserve IT services that keep you informed, secure and focused on your business goals. Use this checklist to ensure your Managed Service Provider (MSP) takes a personalized, hands-on approach.
#1 Analyze and Review Customer Satisfaction Scores
Regular satisfaction surveys or check-in opportunities help make sure your voice is heard. You should meet with your point of contact monthly to review metrics around key areas like response time, issue resolutions, and roadblocks in the customer experience process.
#2 Examine Ticket Metrics and Service-Level Agreement (SLA) Measurements
Most MSPs begin with baseline SLAs (e.g., an uptime percentage guarantee), but the best IT providers go beyond those standard commitments and offer SLAs tailored to your company and industry requirements. Hold your provider accountable and ask for monthly updates.
#3 Evaluate Equipment Purchases
Don't get blindsided by costly IT surprises. Your MSP should proactively track your equipment and provide monthly reports and recommendations to help avoid interruptions and unexpected expenses.
#4 Monitor and Report on Third-Party Security Alerts
When you purchase software or hardware from third-party vendors, your top priority is keeping those products working. But every time you update such services, you risk security breaches or outages. Your MSP should monitor for issues and have plans to protect your data and equipment.
#5 Measure and Assess System Patching and Update Processes
As with your hardware and software, your servers and firewalls need updates monthly at a minimum. Your MSP should provide concise remediation or "patching" plans to address system flaws or vulnerabilities. Ask about recent updates and patching to ensure you're in compliance.
#6 Examine System Outages
Outages happen, but the best MSPs have a plan to manage downtime so you're up and running quickly. Every month, your MSP should provide detailed outage reports that include:
- Total downtime
- Explanations of the cause and ramifications
- Action steps to prevent future outages
#7 Strategize Short- and Long-Term Implementation and Budgeting
Establish and discuss your quarterly IT plans each month and review your MSP's recommendations for prioritization. This helps you budget for tactical and strategic needs and fold a strong IT plan into your overall goals.
#8 Scrutinize Your Overall Cyber Security Position
A strong MSP consistently monitors your security measures to identify and prioritize risks. This may include vulnerability assessments to determine gaps or penetrability assessments to try to access your system. Regular in-depth assessments are vital, especially if you work with protected information.
#9 Audit Continuity Efforts to Support Your Operations
Continuity efforts typically include backup and redundancy plans, systems maintenance (configuration management), and equipment costs and lifespan (asset management). Your MSP should monitor these and report back monthly to ensure those efforts remain the right fit for your needs.
#10 Review Overall Performance Quality
The best MSPs go beyond metrics to consider your complete customer experience. This involves more than account management or technical advice. It's a partnership with a Customer Experience Manager or dedicated point of contact who's focused on solutions. Make sure you have monthly check-ins with transparent dialogue on service delivery gaps or issues that might not show up in satisfaction surveys or other reports.
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