There are thousands of managed service providers out there. Choosing the right one for you shouldn’t be a matter of chance. That’s why we’ve come up with these Cloud vendor selection criteria you can use to ensure you contract with the MSP best suited to your needs.
Cloud Vendor Selection Criteria #1: Business Transaction vs. Relationship
Let’s be honest. All managed service providers, or MSPs, want to be profitable, but do you want one who looks at you as a sale or as a partner where you both benefit? You likely want a two-way relationship with your provider so it understands your needs and you know what to expect. Ask:
- How do you partner with a customer?
- How do you manage and evaluate the customer experience?
Red flag: Some Cloud vendors offer a one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s NOT something you want. Be sure they can answer all your questions civilly and knowledgeably before signing a contract.
Cloud Vendor Selection Criteria #2: Service and Support
You certainly want security to be as tight as possible, so ask how the vendor provides it. Also, reliability, availability, and scalability are essential characteristics of a valuable MSP. To evaluate whether an MSP can provide those on a consistent basis, ask:
- How does your support work?
- Do I get a dedicated person or team?
- Are service and support available 24/7/365?
- Can I access the Cloud on any device?
- How quickly do you respond to support requests?
- What uptime guarantee do you offer?
- What recourse do I have if the SLA isn’t met?
Red flag: If support is offered only during the vendor’s business hours, this might not work if you need your site(s) up and running 24/7.
Cloud Vendor Selection Criteria #3: Ask the MSP What You Need
Cloud users tend to make use of six Clouds on average, according to a survey by RightScale. Ask your prospective MSP why and have him explain how this works. Then, ask which products and configurations best fill your needs:
Red flag: If the MSP says he can’t really advise you on how to use the Cloud, how many you might need, or only gives you one choice, it’s not likely he’s really there to help you.
Cloud Vendor Selection Criteria #4: How Do I Get to the Cloud?
Not all MSPs really embrace the Cloud, some are just resellers. While this can work for some customers, you want to know what your responsibilities are — and what theirs are. Ask:
- Can you design and build the Cloud solution I need?
- Can you migrate my system and data?
- How do you manage it?
- How do you protect my system and data?
Red flag: If the answers are hesitant or vague, or if there’s no Cloud migration help, keep looking.
Cloud Vendor Selection Criteria #5: Data Center Security & Compliance
“A proper strategy for network visibility would not only synergize the network monitoring approach, but will also ensure that compatible security tools have been deployed in the data center,” contends networking export Francis Teo. As data centers emerge as targets of cyber attacks, you want to know how your MSP will protect its assets where your data lives. Ask:
- Where are your data centers?
- How are they protected?
- What compliance standards do they offer?
Red flag: If the MSP doesn’t offer multiple power feeds, fiber links, dedicated generators, redundant incoming lines, data center failover, battery backup, and continuous security monitoring, your service could be less than reliable
Cloud Vendor Selection Criteria #6: Differentiating Factors
You can differentiate among providers only when you understand their strategic value proposition – based on what matters most to you. Ask:
- What sets this MSP apart from the others?
- Does it have any notable Microsoft awards?
- Who are your service and technology partners and why did you choose them?
- How else can you help me?
Red flag: If the MSP isn’t a Microsoft partner and you rely heavily on Microsoft applications, look elsewhere.
If you find you’re not satisfied with the answers you’re getting, contact us today or give us a call at (877) 885-2649. We have the right answers — the ones that prove to your satisfaction that Data Resolution really gets it — and you. Let us work with you today.