How to Choose a Managed Services Provider: The Complete Checklist

As businesses grow, so do their technology demands. Work is increasingly digitized, and all your employees need equal access to do their jobs. All of this infrastructure requires maintenance leaving your in-house IT staff stretched thin.

Since 2020, 95% of corporations have reprioritized digitization, while 45% of these businesses plan to increase their IT outsourcing to meet this demand. Many companies trust a managed services provider (MSP) to meet their growing IT needs.

As a business owner, you have lots of choices. Global Newswire estimates that MSPs compose 13% of the American IT industry. Choosing the best fit can be overwhelming. That’s why we created this list of potential MSP qualifying questions to help you decide.


How to Choose Managed Services Provider Candidates

Before you arrive at your final decision, it’s important to build a list of MSP candidates. Consider why you want help from a managed IT service. Most MSPs have multiple specialties, but some are particularly skilled in certain areas.

Here are some things to consider when building your list.

  • Read testimonials from people who use an MSP for similar reasons.
  • See if any MSPs focus on your industry.
  • Visit each company’s website to gauge services, professionalism, and accreditations.
  • You may also check their location online if this matters to you.

Narrow that list down to your top three to five candidates, and contact those companies for a demo. You could choose some backup candidates if none of your original three to five work out.

Managed Services Vendor Selection Criteria

Selecting a managed service provider (MSP) takes some strategy. Your managed services selection criteria depend on your needs. You could use these criteria while selecting a managed services provider.



Find out when your MSP will be on-call. Location and business practices will affect their times. Their working hours need to be sufficient for your needs. For example, seek an MSP with 24/7 availability if you need network monitoring or customer service support.



Be honest about your budget. Plan a realistic budget range and shop within it. MSPs typically charge a monthly subscription fee so keep your regular cash flow in mind. Resist the temptation to choose a vendor based on price tag alone. Seek value for your money.


Third-Party Vendor Relationships

Many MSPs partner with other companies. Typically, these partnerships are listed on the MSP’s website. You can consult your MSP for additional support from a partner vendor as required. Additionally, these partnerships indicate the MSP’s expertise with certain software tools.

Managed Services Vendor Selection Criteria

Credit: Anna Shvets


How to Choose Managed Security Services

Most MSPs offer cybersecurity services. However, managed security service providers (MSSPs) are dedicated to this area.

The method for how to choose a managed services provider for cybersecurity follows the same steps as any other MSP. However, there are some specific questions to ask an MSP that focus on security, including:

  • What is your average response time to potential threats?
  • Do you take a proactive or break-fix approach?
  • How often would you run vulnerability scans?
  • Do you use automated screening tools?
  • What’s your approach to cloud security?
  • Does your team follow the latest cybersecurity trends?
  • How do you protect your own information technology?

Prioritize MSSPs that follow security trends and take a proactive approach. These MSSPs will prevent attacks before they can disrupt your business operations.


3 Essential Questions to Ask a Potential MSP During a Discovery Call

Once you choose a managed services provider that fits your selection criteria, book a discovery call with them. You may already have many questions to ask during MSP discovery, but some are crucial to remember.

The following list highlights three important questions for an MSP discovery call.


1. Can I Review Your Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

The SLA highlights the MSP’s responsibilities. It will also explain their legal terms, contract warranties, and company policies. SLA terms may answer some of your technical questions to qualifying MSP candidates.

On the other hand, the MSP’s terms may prove they are not the right fit. So, you should review them before signing a contract.


2. How Will You Protect My Data?

A good MSP must always prioritize protecting your data. Ask them about their data management practices. Analyze whether or not their answers fit within your comfort level and compliance guidelines.

Consider the sensitivity of your data when you ask this question. The more sensitive information you have, the stricter you must be about their management protocols.


3. What are Your Disaster Recovery Plans?

A solid emergency plan will protect your business continuity. Disaster recovery is not just about cyber attacks. You and your MSP also must prepare for accidents, natural disasters, and human error.

Avoid vendors to steer away from this question by promising that there will never be an issue. No business practice can 100% guarantee that data loss will never happen. Instead, choose someone who has a practical mitigation strategy.

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Start Qualifying Vendors That Fit Your Managed Services Selection Criteria

The bottom line is that MSPs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Providers are as diverse as any other business. That’s why it is important to choose the right questions to ask IT MSP vendors.

Executech is dedicated to people-first managed services. We want to ensure that we’re the right fit for every client. We’ll gladly answer any of your MSP qualifying questions, and we’re confident that we can meet your needs through our wide range of managed IT services.

Reach out today for more information or to schedule a consultation with us.


Featured Image Credit: Christina


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