Top Criteria to Consider When Selecting a Managed Services Provider

If your organization is selecting a Managed Services Provider (MSP), there are many considerations to evaluate to ensure you find the right managed services provider for your organization. Here are some of the top criteria to assess when deciding:


Managed services is often a cost-effective way to manage your IT infrastructure, support, strategy, and security. However, you must find a managed services provider that offers competitive pricing for this to be true. Be sure to consider the total cost of ownership, including the cost of the services and any additional hardware or software required when making this assessment. Also, remember to include soft costs, like opportunity costs when considering the cost-effectiveness of a solution.


The MSP should have an adequate bench of experienced, skilled, and certified engineers who can provide the support, strategy, and security your organization needs. Assess the potential providers with a demonstrated track record of success and determine whether they can reasonably meet your organization’s particular needs for technical expertise.


Great MSPs take a very proactive approach to guiding your IT strategy, identifying and seeking to prevent potential issues before they cause interruptions. The MSP will also help drive technology planning and budgeting, ensuring technology continues to align with best practices and your needs, helping your organization save time and money in the long run.


Your IT needs will change as your organization grows. Choose an MSP with a proven ability to scale its services to address your changing needs, whether that entails delivering added support capacity, serving geographically dispersed locations, or delivering on upgrade and migration projects to expand your technology resources.


With the growing nature of cyber threats, the security of your technology systems is more critical than ever. Look for an MSP that can deliver robust security solutions and effective security strategy, including endpoint security, email security, and security incident response services.

Communication and Reporting

An MSP should communicate well with your team on high-level strategy, down to projects and ticket execution. They should also deliver routine reporting to provide clarity on your IT infrastructure’s health and your IT management’s performance and effectiveness.

Vendor Management

An MSP should be able to handle most of your IT vendor relationships. They should be able to vendor manage things ranging from procurement to renewals, maintenance, and coordinating support and upgrade projects.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Quality MSPs should provide an SLA guaranteeing the level of service you can expect them to deliver. Review the SLA to ensure it aligns with your needs and expectations.

Finding the right MSP for your business is a challenging task, but by considering the criteria mentioned above, as well as your additional standards, you can ensure you find a Managed Services Provider that can meet your needs and help your organization grow and thrive.

Top Questions to Ask a Managed Services Provider

If you are considering a managed services provider (MSP) for your organization, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure you find the partner that best suits your needs. Here are some top questions to ask a potential MSP:

1.) There are a lot of Managed Services Providers. What makes your organization unique? How do you stand apart from your competitors?

Look for true differentiators here, like a unique service offering, pricing model, rare but relevant capabilities, etc. Too many MSPs will answer this question with feel-good sales language like ‘great people, excellent service, etc.’ Unless they can validate those assertions meaningfully with data, be skeptical of a provider with an ambiguous, intangible answer to this question.

2.) What is your pricing structure?

Be sure to ask about additional costs, such as hardware, software expenses, and prices for out-of-scope services you’ll likely need. Remember to consider soft costs and opportunity costs.

3.) What services do you offer?

This is a critical question to ensure that the Managed Services Provider can meet all your technology management requirements, spanning IT support, strategy, and security.

4.) What are your processes for IT support and maintenance?

Find out how the Managed Services Provider’s (MSP) support and maintenance policies, including their response time and the level of support services offered. It is vital to go beyond general sales assertions and dig into a bit of detail on their processes and key performance indicators for their service to assess whether than can truly meet your expectations consistently.

5.) How do you manage our security? What security services does your managed services plan include, and what other services can you offer separately? How do you deliver these security services? Do you use in-house staff, or do you partner with cybersecurity firms and a true Security Operations Center (SOC)?

Many MSPs have generalist IT staff managing their clients’ security systems, which undermines the effectiveness of even the best security technology and exposes clients to greater risk.

6.) How do you handle data backup and recovery?

Data loss can be a significant problem for organizations, so it’s crucial to find a Managed Services Provider (MSP) that offers reliable data backup and recovery solutions and consults you on your disaster recovery plan. What kind of reporting on key performance indicators do you provide and how do you handle communication with your clients?

7.) What kind of reporting on key performance indicators do you provide, and how do you handle communication with your clients?

Understanding how the MSP measures and reports on their performance are crucial. Ask them about the key performance indicators (KPIs) they track and report on, such as uptime, response time, and resolution time. Additionally, find out how they communicate with their clients and how frequently they provide performance reports. Understanding their communication processes and reporting structure can give you an idea of how they will inform you about your systems’ performance.

 8.) What are your processes around vendor management for our other technology vendors?

It’s not uncommon for an organization to work with multiple technology vendors, and it’s essential to understand how your MSP will work with them. Ask about their vendor management processes, including how they will communicate with your other vendors, how they will collaborate to resolve issues, and what level of support they will provide to your other vendors.

9.) Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a contract that defines the level of service you can expect from your MSP, including the response time, resolution time, and uptime guarantee. Ensure that the MSP you’re considering offers an SLA. Ask for specifics about their SLA, including the terms and conditions, exclusions, and penalties for not meeting the SLA.

10.) Can you share relevant references or case studies?

Finally, ask for references or case studies from the MSP’s current or past clients to understand better their track record and the quality of their services. If they can provide relevant case studies or references, follow up with those clients to ask about their experience working with the MSP.

By asking these questions, you’ll better understand what the Managed Services Provider (MSP) can offer, and whether they are the right fit for your organization, now and in the future.

Make The Right Choice with Framework IT

Framework IT is an award-winning MSP with over a decade of experience managing the IT departments of small and mid-sized businesses. Contact us to speak with a Managed Services professional today.