How To Evaluate Your Managed Services Provider (MSP) in 2020

Technology is an integral part of any successful, modern business, however, it is also ever-changing. This is where the need of a third-party Managed Services Provider (MSP) is required. A good MSP can help secure your business’s IT functions and deliver solid yet flexible IT solutions, tailored to your business.

Yet, if you’re not familiar with MSPs, it can be difficult to know what to look for when evaluating an outsourced IT Services Provider. Luckily we’ve created an up-to-date checklist to review before selecting your next IT partner. Read on to evaluate if your current or future MSP has the right experience, credentials, solutions and dedication to customer service that you need.

1. General Questions

When searching for your next MSP there are a couple of checkboxes you should immediately be able to tick off. Check for demonstrable company experience, certifications and a core team with tenure to start with.


  • Company history 
  • Client testimonials and references
  • Technical certifications
  • IT vendor partnerships
  • Staff tenure and turnover  

2. Scalability

As your business grows and changes in size and scale, so too should your Managed IT Services. Look for an MSP that takes the time to understand your organisation’s operation and recommends solutions that are both flexible and bespoke to your business’s future goals and growth.  


  • IT consultation and planning
  • Digital roadmapping  e.g. for seasonal growth  
  • Flexible add-on services

3. Support & Response Times

Particularly in the IT Services industry, there is a need for fast response times or quick turn around. Whether it’s dangerous malware, simple user error, or disaster recovery, you need a nimble and agile IT solutions team to support your business. 


  • 24/7/365 chat or call support
  • A dedicated account and technical account manager
  • Clearly defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for IT issue responses and system uptime/availability
  • Comprehensive Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) services
  • Client testimonials for response time and extensive support 

4. Proactive & Preventative 

A true top tier MSP is focussed on the long term success of your business – which means they don’t just operate on a break/fix pricing model, but instead take a proactive, evaluative and preventative approach. 


  • 24/7 IT environment/systems monitoring
  • Operating System (OS) and Security patching and updates
  • Consultation and advice on strategic IT initiatives
  • Technology review meetings, especially security
  • Dedicated account manager for technical consultancy and issue escalation
  • Offered centralised IT solutions and services 
  • Service desk availability 

5. Experience

When you work with an MSP you’re trusting them to support your livelihood. A well established, reputable MSP will understand the core competencies needed to successfully drive your business. 


  • Certifications
  • Industry partnerships (eg., Microsoft, Cisco, HP, etc.)
  • A full support team with tenure
  • Informative blog posts
  • Downloadable resources
  • Professional solution offerings and defined Service Level Agreements

6. Monitoring & Reporting

How can a system improve if it’s not monitored? When selecting a premium MSP, make sure you review their proactive monitoring, analytics and reporting offerings. These steps are necessary to prevent any system issues month-to-month before they negatively impact your business and affect productivity and security.  


  • Performance reporting
  • Process documentation
  • Automated patch management 
  • Regular Server and Network monitoring

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider and evaluate when considering a Managed Services Provider! This checklist serves as a broad guide but for specific advice on how an MSP can best serve your business, please feel free to get in touch. We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Managed Services experts. With over eight years of experience, a full-service team, and comprehensive Managed IT Services packages, Dark Horse Systems is ready to help you navigate the ever-changing world of IT.