Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting an IT MSP

Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting an IT MSP


You have finally decided to outsource your IT needs to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to reduce outgoing costs and increase your network’s security. Before you sign any contracts, continue reading this article where I shed light on the all-too-common pitfalls to avoid when selecting an MSP. In my 18+ years of servicing businesses as an MSP, I have had my fair share of trial and error with providing an experience that is secure, reliable, and enjoyable.

Before you hire an MSP to take the reins on your IT infrastructure, you want to make sure that you avoid the following mistakes:

Background Checks/Drug Screenings

Verify with any potential MSP that their employees have undergone proper background checks and passed standard drug screenings. This is a best practice for any established business. We once had a candidate who was beyond qualified, he interviewed with PalmTech and appeared to be a sure hire. Upon running his background check, we discovered he was convicted for unlawfully accessing and stealing information from one of his previous employer’s clients. Imagine the ramifications had we not done a background check and entrusted our client’s highly sensitive and private data with an untrustworthy employee.

Certifications and Credentials

What certifications and credentials does your potential MSP have? Do you have mostly Microsoft products at your business? Does that MSP have a Microsoft certified technician? Is that MSP certified in disaster recovery software, and will they be able to restore your company’s data if your business experiences a Cyberattack? At PalmTech, we pride ourselves on the diverse levels of expertise and skill sets amongst our technicians: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Veam VMCE, Azure Administrator, Microsoft MCP, Citrix Netscaler SD-WAN, just to name a few. And we can showcase the array of accreditations to any of our prospects who ask. The greater the expertise an MSP has, the greater level of protection and service you will receive as a client.

Insurance and Liability

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a significant rise in cybercrime; just look at FireEye, one of the largest cybersecurity companies in the United States serving high-profile American corporations and operating network security for the U.S. state and federal government. They are just one of many victims of data theft over the past year. A study conducted by the Ponemon Institute revealed approximately 66% of small and medium-sized businesses experienced a network breach within the last 12 months. Although larger enterprises present themselves as a more profitable target, small and medium sized businesses are an appealing prey for hackers due to their lack of resources and personnel who are inexperienced in managing these attacks. If the pandemic has taught me anything, it is that cybercrime does not discriminate! If FireEye can be breached, no business small or large is safe.

When selecting an MSP to outsource your IT, do yourself a favor and ask them about the insurance and liability coverage they have. Most IT companies do not have Errors and Omissions or Cyber Liability insurance to cover their losses, or in some cases, the losses of their clients as a result of their mistakes. At PalmTech, we are equipped with General Liability, Cyber Liability, Errors and Omissions, Workers’ Comp, as well as other types of coverage.

Misunderstanding the Service Level Agreement

Understanding the Service Level Agreement (SLA) seems like common sense; who signs a binding contract without reading and fully understanding the fine print, right? Before you sign any SLA, read it. And then read it again. Make sure you understand and approve to the terms of the agreement. And if there is anything you do not understand, be sure the potential MSP clarifies the terms for you. Be direct with your company’s goals and IT needs to negotiate the SLA terms that best suits your business. Determine a guaranteed response time, precisely what services are provided within the agreement, and establish what your MSP will do for you if a breach or catastrophe should occur. Your MSP should be willing to come to a mutual agreement so they can provide the best services to you.

Managed Service Providers will secure your data against rising cyberthreats and enhance your business’ productivity as qualified MSPs have the level of expertise to ensure that your company’s network is protected and functioning at the highest standard. On the other hand, if you are not thorough when selecting an MSP, you risk entrusting your company to unprofessional and incompetent hands, jeopardizing your business’ success.  Avoid buyer’s remorse by having your questions ready, and do not fall victim to going with the bare-bone option just because it is the easiest on your wallet. Ensure that any potential MSP are taking the proper measures so that they are hiring the right experts. Be confident that the MSP you select will help you achieve your business’ goals before you endow them with your organization’s precious data and hardware.

If you are looking for a credible and professional IT Managed Services Provider, call us at 561-969-1616 or email us at [email protected] with any inquiries. We would be happy to answer all of your questions!

Resources: 66% Small, Medium Businesses Hit With Cyberattack in Past Year (healthitsecurity.com)


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About the Author

More than 40 years ago, Chuck Poole set his eyes on one of the first "Personal Computers" commercially available and it was love at first sight. He was so enamored with computers that some people worried he might never do anything else - and they were absolutely right. Learn more