What to Look for in a Managed Service Provider

Written by
Cultivate IT
Published on
May 17, 2023


Every business could benefit from a partnership with a good managed service provider (MSP). A good MSP can have a powerful impact on your bottom line and make your life easier. But finding the right one is not easy. It takes time, patience and perseverance.

However, there are some key things you can look for that will help you narrow down the field of potential MSPs

Timely Responses

Responding quickly to a request for support is an important indicator of how well the MSP will be able to handle larger projects. If, for example, your organization requires a lot of ongoing day-to-day assistance and the MSP’s techs aren’t available during regular business hours (e.g., 8:00am – 5:00pm), this could be a red flag.

It’s also crucial that your MSP communicates clearly about any issues that arise and what steps they are taking to resolve them. This helps ensure that all parties are on the same page as far as expectations and priorities go—and it reduces misunderstandings down the line when something goes wrong or changes in scope unexpectedly happen due to factors outside the control of either party (e.g., hardware failure).

Vendors Vs Partners

Another thing to look for is a provider that doesn’t try to sell you something you don’t need. The best way to avoid this is by having a clear idea of what your business needs before contacting an MSP at all. The ideal MSP focuses more on building a relationship and finding the right fit than trying to make a sale. A great MSP tries to understand your business rather than fit you into a box. They care about building a partnership and trying to make everything a win-win scenario.

If you have a good idea about the type of services that will benefit your company, then you can focus on finding someone with the right expertise in those areas. Then, when talking with potential vendors, ask questions like: “What experience do you have providing these services?” or “How many other businesses like mine do you currently service?”

It also pays off when choosing an MSP if they value working with small businesses over large ones—and have staff trained specifically for small enterprise IT needs.

Cloud First

A good MSP realizes the importance of using modern solutions and appropriately leverages the cloud and similar emerging technologies. They know that the world runs on the cloud and a modern business should be able to leverage the cloud to order be agile and cost effective in today's marketplace. While there are legitimate use cases for on the ground servers, however there should always be a discussion on the requirement that drove the MSP to propose that as a solution.


One of the most important considerations when choosing a managed service provider (MSP) is determining whether or not they're a good fit for your business. While there are many things to consider, one of the best ways to evaluate an MSP is by checking references from customers who have used them in the past.

If you're considering an MSP and want to learn more about how they operate and what kind of results they've delivered, ask questions like these:

  • "How long were you with [this MSP]?"
  • "How did things go before that?"
  • "What was the experience like working with them?"


The most successful MSPs are transparent. They’re honest, trustworthy and reliable. They put their clients first and always look for ways to help them succeed.

Transparency means you know exactly what you’re getting with an MSP, because they won’t hide anything from you. You can rely on them as a partner in your business, rather than feeling like you need to babysit them all the time to make sure everything is being done correctly—which isn't fun for anyone!

They have a proven track record

If a company has been around for a while, it's likely that they have a proven track record. That means they've worked with clients like yours and have a good reputation in the industry. They also have experience working with other MSPs, so they know how to work well with others—which can be key when you're working on multi-phase projects or managing multiple MSPs at once.

They can pool resources and expertise across many disciplines

One key benefit of working with an MSP is that they can pool resources and expertise across many disciplines. This allows them to help you with a wide range of IT needs, from network security to database management and everything in between. A good MSP will have experts in every area of information technology, from tech consultants to network administrators. This means that your business will benefit from the skills of multiple people who are on hand at all times, instead of having to wait for one person at the end of a long queue or rely on an individual freelancer when something goes wrong with your system.

They can work at scale

A good MSP has the resources and the expertise to grow with your business. If your business is growing, they should be able to scale up or down in order to meet changing needs. They should also be able to add resources as needed and subtract them again if there's a dip in activity—and they should be able to do this without sacrificing quality of service or efficiency.

In addition, a great MSP will have access to experts who are able both technically and strategically; they'll not only be providing technical support, but they'll also offer guidance on how best to manage technology across multiple domains—for example, IT infrastructure and security.

They keep your business protected from threats

The best managed service providers are not only able to help you achieve your business goals, but also keep your business protected from threats. They will help you with cyber security, compliance and data protection, disaster recovery and more.

Your IT systems are their priority

When your MSP is truly a partner in your business, their top priority will be keeping your systems running and up-to-date. They should be there when you need them, not just when it's convenient for them. They'll proactively help with the day-to-day maintenance of your systems and will respond quickly if any issues arise—even if it's after hours or on a weekend. And they'll have the right expertise to solve whatever problems come up.

A good MSP will understand that not every problem requires an immediate response by their team; they'll collaborate with you to determine what solutions will best fit your needs (and budget). In order to provide this level of service, they'll need access to the right tools: namely software that allows them to keep track of their clients' IT systems remotely so they can address any issues before they become serious problems that impact productivity or even threaten data security and confidentiality.

Their success is yours

A good MSP is more than just a provider. They are there to help you achieve your goals, and not just with IT services.

They will help you grow your business by providing solutions that promote growth, manage costs, improve processes and increase productivity.

They will also help you avoid risks by using the latest technologies to secure your network and data while making sure that all of your systems work together seamlessly—so that when a problem comes up they can solve it quickly so you don't have downtime or loss of data.


If you’re looking for a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to support your business, it’s important to make sure that they have all these qualities. A good MSP will be responsive, transparent and honest about their services and capabilities. They should also provide references from previous clients who can tell you about their positive experience with them. If an MSP has a proven track record and can pool resources across disciplines like cybersecurity or compliance management, then you know they are well equipped to handle whatever challenges arise in the future too!

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