Best practices for Managed Service Providers

What is the role of an MSP?

Managed service providers or MSPs are specialized companies or organizations that provide various kinds of support to companies from all sectors and industries. They provide security solutions, backup and recovery solutions, data storage solutions, network infrastructure solutions and a lot more. The main role of MSPs is to aid the functionality and daily working of a business or an organization. This ensures that the work division reduces the pressure on companies and also optimizes the quality and quantity of work delivered to clients.

MSPs track every authorized IT system at the client company, monitor their configuration and changes, as well as suggest and provide upgrades if required. In this manner, client companies are directed and guided through decision-making by MSP, who have access to all IT resources and data a business is dealing with.

Here, clients are required to choose an MSP that suits their requirements, availability of resources, and planning, which means keeping a close on the managed service provider best services. They form a determining factor in deciding if an MSP is suitable for a given client company or not.

The quality of MSPs depends upon the best practices that are implemented in their operations. Managed Service Providers follow a globally acknowledged standard that complies with the principles of the IT industry.

  • Beneficial and efficient process planning enables an MSP to provide support consistently.
  • This can ensure the proper viability of the client company, a stable partnership between the client and the service provider, and a boom in the client’s business.
  • The best practices ensure that the quality of work delivered by the service provider is worth the investment of the client.
  • Adhering to industry practices helps MSPs reduce cloud services cost for their clients.

In this article, we will elaborate on the six best practices of managed service providers to look out for.

5 Managed Service Provider Best Practices

Here are five of the best practices that a service provider must carry out to deliver the standard of quality that clients seek:

  1. Planning of daily operations and functionalities: Having plans for the continued and comprehensible daily functioning between the MSP and client business is important. Therefore, MSPs need to closely leverage strict business continuity plans, test and update their services regularly. This isn't just limited to disaster recovery or operational interruptions. It essentially means to analyze if they adhere to well-defined processes to sustainably ensure business continuity, in a manner that where they sometimes go beyond service level agreements to establish viability.
  2. Maintaining a standard of deliverables by acquiring certifications and specializations:  Certifications of specializations in management services ensure that the service provider possesses the capability of maintaining the technologies and resources being used to provide required services to clients. This level of expertise and standardization must be maintained to exhibit proficiency and professionalism.
  3. Adhering to managed service provider security norms: The exchange of data and information between MSPs and clients goes beyond the scope of cybersecurity and online security. It extends to their physical safety and security around the servers and data centers. Data should be safe and secured even when being backed up. The MSPs must take extra care to ensure the maximum level of security to client data. Confidentiality and security must be at the top of the priority list. Companies looking to enlist the services of MSPs must ensure that they follow the best security practices to prevent data breaches and attacks.
  4. Following the methodology of IT service management (ITSM): Standardized frameworks such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) are proven to provide superior ITSM abilities. The procedural structure and system that the above framework creates is an indicator of the operational capabilities of the MSP.
  5. Ensuring clarity in service description: An MSP's service description talks about the deliverables and offerings from their end. It's a concise, comprehensive document that defines their services and provide clarity in work. It also helps optimize for more efficiency and helps rectify issues faster through smooth communication. MSPs also need to protect themselves to protect their clients. The IT industry is self-regulated and does not follow a government agency. Plus, the IT sector is known to be prone to security breaches. So, extra care must be taken to ensure that MSPs are well-protected. They should regulate the area of their expertise and continually upgrade their services to carve a niche for themselves in the industry.

The Importance of MSP Best Practices

Choosing a managed service provider that suits the client’s expectations, expenditure, and requirements is critical. Here's a discussion of how these factors help in determining the utility of an MSP in a client’s business.

  1. Gives insight into problem management policies: Problem management includes the steps and measures taken to tackle critical issues.
  • Responsibility: it is required to check what the MSP is offering, and what accountabilities they are sharing. The division of tasks and handing over of responsibilities is a major part of closing the deal. It falls amongst the best practices followed by an MSP that unnecessary intervention is unsolicited and should be maintained.
  • Reporting: Communication forms an integral factor when choosing an MSP. By ensuring MSPs and clients understand each other, their requirements, and expectations, MSPs can calibrate their expertise to deliver accordingly. Avoiding miscommunication will lead to seamless operations and reduce hassle for both parties.
  • Escalation: Establishing the order of operation and functioning as well as a line-up for reporting is crucial. The priorities need to be set, defined, and clear to both parties. Expert handling of critical situations with utmost deliberation and importance is what gives MSPs a competitive advantage in the market. Customer service is another underrated advantage for MSPs
  • Resolution: Every organization tackling unpleasant or difficult problems and getting the best out of the situation is mandatory for every organization.
  1. Gives insight into the performance and efficiency: the best practices as defined by the managed service providers give much-needed insight into the performance and efficiency level of the company. The process of working and communication as adopted and planned by the MSPs dictate how they are going to work with clients. The metrics to be used to measure the work needs to be decided before availing of the services. The further process of reporting and judging is discussed by both parties in negotiations. So the entire functioning of the MSPs can affect the desired results or expectations of the client company.
  2. Irons out the legal factors: Companies need to evaluate liabilities and legal procedures which include warranties, personal identification, exclusions, pricing, and permissions, etc. Partnering with a company that follows best practices leads to transparency. This prevents any legal hassle or propagation of misinformation.
  3. Helps evaluate scaling and termination policies: Establishing scalability in the agreement means that the agreement can be altered for specific reasons as and when the requirements, resources, and deliverables of the managed service providers change. MSP contracts should be flexible and client-friendly so as to ensure there aren't any discrepancies in operations. Therefore, it is recommended that companies set the terms of termination of partnership at the very beginning. It will help both parties down the line. These agreements usually have provisions of extension as well.

The best practices carried out by managed service providers offer an insight into how their service will be. It conveys what their deliverables are and how much they cost. In this manner,  clients can opt for MSPs that suit their requirements and pay as per their budget allows. Therefore, it is advisable to go through the plans and policies of MSPs before availing any service from them.

We hope this article helps you choose what is best suitable for you. Well, if you wish to know a few more MSP best practices, here's a thread for you.

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