Guide to choosing the right managed service provider

A managed service provider is a contractor hired to manage an organization’s IT infrastructure. The provider can offer a wide range of services, depending on the client’s IT needs. Hiring an MSP is an attractive and cost-effective way of maintaining a fit IT infrastructure. And, according to TechTarget, 39 percent of small businesses use managed services in one way or another.

Why use managed services?

MSPs generally offer services that cover the full spectrum of enterprise IT demands. Here are some of the main services you should expect from a managed service provider.

Round-the-clock IT monitoring

An MSP keeps a pulse on your entire IT infrastructure by remotely monitoring key performance parameters such as network traffic, server usage, storage access, and power consumption. 24/7 monitoring alerts the MSP to system errors such as server overload, imminent failure, and even cyber-attacks before they occur.

Maintenance, servicing, and repairing IT equipment

IT systems need regular maintenance and servicing as part of their upkeep. With a managed service provider, you can create a schedule for routine maintenance and also have a standby response service for unscheduled emergency repairs. You also get unlimited professional IT support for whenever you need to consult with tech experts.

Managed security

Besides monitoring systems for threats, an MSP can help you set up proactive cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, network security, and data protection strategies. The MSP will also help your business create a dependable data backup and recovery plan. What’s more, managed security can be tailored to meet particular compliance standards and laws.


Findings in the 2018 Training Industry Report show that companies spend about $1,000 to put a single employee through a thorough training program. A large portion of this budget goes into hiring outside trainers and purchasing products to teach employees how to use tech-based tools. An MSP can help you cut these costs by coaching employees on general IT practice on the job. Furthermore, an MSP can facilitate company-wide training during and after a massive IT transformation, such as moving to the cloud.

Key considerations when choosing the right MSP

Here are a few crucial factors you should consider when looking for a suitable managed service partner.

Service-Level Agreements

An SLA document describes the commitments and responsibilities agreed upon by both the managed service provider and client. The document spells out legal obligations, the scope of service, guidelines and procedures, warranties, metrics of performance evaluation, and terms of service termination. The SLA helps you understand the sort of relationship to expect with the MSP, the service details, and your duties as the client.

Cost model and pricing

MSPs typically charge a monthly or annual subscription fee for their services, but the pricing model may vary between vendors. Common pricing models include:

  • Tiered pricing

Most MSPs offer tiered service packages set at various price points. In this model, the upper-tier packages contain a broader scope of services than lower tiers. Bundled services are the simplest pricing structure and appeal to many business models and sizes.

  • Per-user/per-device

This pricing model charges a monthly flat rate for every managed device (servers, endpoint devices, networks) or user. It’s a bit complex since some devices and users may be charged differently. 

  • Value-based

This is an open pricing model often reserved for large firms, where pricing is determined by the economic value the service brings to the business. The final price may be adjusted for the number of users and devices and the scope of services.

Partner with an MSP today

Working with a managed service provider can help your business cut IT costs and leverage professional assistance in keeping IT systems going. Choosing the right MSP comes down to matching your IT requirements to the services offered.