Pagoda Blog

What to Look for When Hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

June 3, 2021

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) acts as your IT service partner, providing ongoing IT monitoring and maintenance for a flat monthly fee. They value a proactive approach, crafting a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy aimed to prevent a data breach, network outages, or other disruptions to your operations. Services may include an IT help desk, regular remote backups, firewalls, software updates, and team training. They’re also there for you in the case of an unexpected IT emergency. Not all MSPs are alike, however, so it’s important to know what to look for when hiring a Managed Service Provider for your business.        


Long-term clients

MSPs should value long-term relationships with their clients because in order to provide the most effective service, it’s important to fully understand how your business operates. Long-term clients also demonstrate that the MSP has earned their trust through reliable service in the face of small daily hiccups and potentially larger emergencies. 


An interest in your business goals and definition of success

This goes hand-in-hand with long-term clients. Your MSP can provide so much more than just ongoing IT maintenance and emergency support. An experienced, high-touch MSP will take the time to understand your unique business goals and help you leverage technology to optimize operations, both in terms of cybersecurity and efficiency. Together, you and your MSP should be able to create a strategy that will put you on the fast track to even greater success.  


Customized services vs one-size fits all 

Your business is unique, and the IT solutions provided by your MSP should reflect your unique challenges and goals. Look for an MSP that offers customized services, as well as an MSP that’s comfortable updating those services as your business evolves and grows. 


Transparent privacy policies 

If you ask, your MSP should be more than willing to tell you all about their company’s cybersecurity practices and how they protect your data. How do they manage passwords? Are they HIPAA compliant? What happens if their company experiences a data breach that could potentially compromise your own data?    


Proactive vs reactive solutions

IT services should focus primarily on prevention, rather than reactive, band-aid solutions when a crisis hits. Proactive solutions utilize regular, ongoing maintenance and monitoring to ensure each computer, server, and router is protected with several layers of security. And should any issues arise, your MSP should be able to remotely diagnose and resolve the problem. 


Backup disaster recovery plan

Ongoing maintenance is important but so is planning for the future. What happens if your business gets hit with a flood, fire, power outage, or other natural disaster? A disaster recovery plan is the cornerstone of an expert MSP’s cybersecurity strategy. Find out if they offer this type of plan and what it includes. 


Customer service support from real people

When you have a question or an IT emergency, who will be available to offer support? Look for an MSP that offers direct customer service support from real people. There’s nothing worse than trying to navigate an automated phone system with long hold times when you need an issue resolved ASAP.   


24/7 emergency support

Being able to reach an MSP team member 24/7 (or close to it) can provide peace of mind and help mitigate any disruption to operations from an IT issue. 


Third-party vendor partnerships

An experienced MSP will leverage third-party applications and software to help you streamline and secure your business practices. Ask your MSP which third-party vendors they use — look for cybersecurity training, cloud services such as Microsoft 365 and GSuite, a password management service, and VoIP service


Ready to find your MSP? 

A great way to verify your MSP’s expertise is through references and browsing their blog to see the variety of topics they cover. It’s also important to reach out and schedule a free consult to ask them the above questions directly and confirm whether or not they’re the right fit for your business. 


Feature photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels


Related reading: 

5 Ways a Data Breach Can Cause Long-term Damage to Your Business

What Type of IT Support is Best for Your Business? 

18 Common Cybersecurity Terms Explained


Want to get more posts like these once a month in your inbox? Sign up for the Pagoda newsletter and sharpen your technical skills, from cybersecurity to digital marketing



Want IT to serve you better?





About Pagoda Technologies IT services

Based in Santa Cruz, California, Pagoda Technologies provides trusted IT support to businesses and IT departments throughout Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area and across the globe. To learn how Pagoda Technologies can help your business, email us at to schedule a complimentary IT consultation.


Return to Pagoda Blog Main Page

As your trusted IT service partner, Pagoda Technologies is here to help you achieve your near and long-term business goals through reliable and affordable IT support. 

Pagoda Technologies

101 Cooper Street

Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Contact us for a free IT consultation



Get in touch 

Join our newsletter

Want IT to serve you better? 




Follow Us

Facebook LinkedIn LinkedIn