17 Critical Questions You MUST Ask Before Hiring Any MSP/IT Company

If You Depend On Your Technology To Run Your Business, This Is One Article You DON’T Want To Overlook!

Outsourced CIO LLC has fired 4 MSP/IT Companies on behalf of its clients in the last 2 years. This article will explain in simple, non-technical terms what you need to look for when outsourcing your IT support, as well as cost-saving strategies, insider tips, and 17 revealing questions you MUST ask any MSP/IT company before giving them access to your computer network. If your current support person/company can’t answer a confident “Yes” to all 17, it might be time to look for someone else (and we can help with that – wink).

I’d be willing to wager that your computer network and the critical data it holds is not nearly as secure as you think it is. How do I know?

Because over and over again I’m absolutely horrified by the incompetence and irresponsibility I discover when I audit most business networks. In nearly all of the computer networks I review, I find faulty or non-existent backups, security loopholes, shoddy reporting, and flawed systems that simply cost more to maintain and don’t align with the operations of the business.  Further, I find customers are paying for things they are not using, active accounts and subscriptions of employees no longer working at the company, and have been “paying the bill” trusting their MSP/IT company to care for them and their interests.  Can we talk? It is not supposed to be like that. 

Not a week goes by where we don’t get an urgent call from a business owner with a major technical disaster that could have been prevented by performing basic tasks. Why do so many businesses pay for substandard computer support? Simply because they don’t know how to truly verify that their network is secure, and end up having to take someone at their word.

That’s why I’ve decided to write this article for all the business owners in our area to educate them about what to look for in an MSP/IT company.  Quite honestly, I’m shocked at the oversights and sloppiness of most self-proclaimed “experts” and want to see the standards raised. Below, you’ll find a quick test you can use to determine whether or not your network really is being supported properly.  

 If your current support person/company does not score a “yes” on every point, you could be paying for substandard support, wide open to a very expensive (and very frustrating) computer disaster, or worse yet, putting your data as well as your client’s data at risk:OCIO MSP Assessment

  • Do they answer their phones and respond to support issues in 4 hours or less – even after regular business hours?
  • Are they proactively monitoring your network 24/7/365 to keep critical security settings, virus definitions, and security patches up-to-date?
  • Do they insist on monitoring an offsite as well as an onsite backup (Backup Rule of 3-2-1), or are they letting you rely on outdated tape backups?
  • Do they insist on doing periodic test restores of your backups to make sure the data is not corrupt and could be restored in the event of a disaster?
  • Have they provided you with written network documentation detailing what software licenses you have, critical network passwords, and hardware information, or are they the only person with the “keys to the kingdom?”
  • Do they consistently (and proactively) offer new ways to improve your network’s performance, or do they wait until you have a problem to make recommendations?
  • Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
  • Do they explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand?
  • Do they complete projects on time and on budget, or does every project end up taking longer and costing more than you expected?
  • Do they offer any guarantees on their services?
  • Do they arrive on time and dress professionally?
  • Do they have other technicians on staff that are familiar with your network in case your regular technician goes on vacation or gets sick?
  • Do their technicians maintain current vendor certifications and participate in ongoing training, or do you feel as though they are learning on your dime?
  • Do they take calls from other clients while working on your network?
  • Do you have to manage their progress on projects, or do they provide frequent updates, status reports, and follow-up calls and e-mails?
  • Do they offer flat-rate or fixed-fee project quotes, or do they give themselves a wide-open playing field with “time and materials” for the basics?
  • Do they offer “Not to Exceed” on projects or do you have to wait until the end of the project to find out what it is going to cost you?

If your current IT support person/company didn’t answer “yes” to ALL of these questions, then you need to start looking at another company to help support your IT needs. There are local IT companies that can actually answer “yes” to all of these questions and provide you with IT support at a fraction of what you are paying today.

How do you go about finding a new IT support company? Start with our FREE Outsourced CIO MSP/IT company assessment. The MSP needs assessment shows how much the company is leveraging modern Managed IT Infrastructure services to become more competitive. It is capable of measuring how the seven key components function in your company, which influence and determine how much competitive advantage your company can gain through IT. It highlights the areas where inadequate operations generate a disadvantage for your company in comparison to your competition.  We will meet with you and key employees from your company to discuss how to leverage your IT investment in order to increase your profits and reduce your business risks. All of this comes at no cost and/or obligation to purchase anything in the future. All it requires is a little investment of your time. 

By the way, if you want to be a strategic MSP/IT company recommended by Outsourced CIO, you must satisfactorily answer a grueling 5-subject areas/35+ questions to our satisfaction.  That being said, I do want to give a disclaimer, anyone can answer questions satisfactorily, but the proof is in the pudding so to speak when the first project/referral is made.  We try not to “test” MSP/IT companies out on our clients but that does not mean there is not a “bad apple” from time to time.  The reality is when given the opportunity to do the right thing, many MSP/IT companies do, do the right thing.  At Outsourced CIO, our core values address customer service, customer experience, and customer support because it is that important. 

For more information about our FREE Outsourced CIO MSP/IT company assessment or any of our other services, please contact us today.

*Our #1 highly recommended resource for customer service, experience, and support is here.  For some other great resources on customer service check out this article.