Deciding to use a managed service provider (MSP) for your business’s IT security services and cybersecurity needs is a decision that will put any company ahead of the game. But how do you know which MSP to choose? Here are ten questions all businesses should ask before choosing an MSP.

1. What services are important to my business?

All businesses, regardless of industry, need to invest in cybersecurity services and basic maintenance of systems and networks. This should include patch management, asset monitoring, plus maintaining firewalls and antivirus software. If your business has specific needs, always tell any potential MSP to make sure they’re up to the task.

With compliance regulations requiring businesses to maintain specific standards, it’s even more important for businesses to use MSPs who are familiar with the different requirements your business may need to comply with.

2. What kind of contract am I looking for?

The right MSP will have flexible options and shouldn’t tie you in for lengthy contracts. Check if there are any onboarding fees, and discuss the possibility of flexible or scalable plans for your specific business needs. Ideally, seek out an MSP with no lock-in for the possibility of monthly review. This can give your company peace of mind knowing that you hold the reins when it comes to your IT services.

3. How does the MSP deliver services?

Some managed IT security service providers might have a great sales pitch, so look beyond this and ask how your services will actually be delivered. Ask what staffing numbers are like, what their facilities are like, and how they plan to provide you with the cybersecurity services you need. You should expect a confident, clear answer with zero jargon.

4. How will these services help grow my business?

A good MSP should be able to talk to you about improved brand reputation thanks to secure client data, or how spending fewer employee hours dealing with IT issues gives you the time and energy to focus on business-critical projects. Plus, MSPs could help you achieve your IT compliance requirements more easily than handling them in-house.

5. Does this MSP provide 24/7/365 support?

You might think it’s reasonable for an IT security services firm to close at 5 pm on a Friday, but what happens when your website goes down in the middle of Saturday night? Ask your potential MSP how they would cope with out-of-hours emergencies.

6. How will this MSP help protect my remote employees?

A great MSP will discuss cybersecurity risks for all your employees, regardless of where they are based. They’ll understand the risks of connecting to a work network remotely, and will talk to you about smart devices that handle company data.

7. What experience does this MSP have?

What other companies have they worked with? Do they have comments or reviews from previous customers? Can they talk to you about major incidents they’ve prevented or fixed up? Your MSP should be able to proudly display their experience and accolades.

8. What can I expect from this MSP?

Your MSP should provide you with a guaranteed level of service. Ask about uptime, response times, and service level agreements (SLAs). Ensure you’re happy with any agreements and challenge anything that seems slow or places too much responsibility back with you or your business.

9. What are other businesses saying about this MSP?

While not every review left online is one hundred percent accurate, it can be incredibly useful to see what other companies are saying about their experiences. Look to see if the MSP you’re looking at has a page on their website with testimonials and take a look at what the word on the street is.

10. What sets this MSP apart from other businesses?

Ultimately, why should you go with this particular MSP? Do they provide services at a level you can’t get elsewhere? Is their customer service outstanding? Or do they have an unparalleled level of experience? Ask what they can bring to your company that sets them apart from the competition to help you stay secure and achieve IT compliance.

Get a free cybersecurity evaluation today to get started on improving your business’s security.