5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Managed Service Provider

By: James Mitchell | April 19, 2022

We receive many questions from clients about managed services and why Core BTS is the right partner for them. Since the world of IT services and business technologies is a rapidly changing environment, it’s wise to make sure you’re choosing a partner that can grow and adapt.

To help your business operate at peak efficiency, you may be considering a partnership with a managed services provider (MSP). When looking at potential MSPs, here are five important questions you should ask them.

1. Does the MSP Understand My Business Objectives?

Choosing a managed services provider can be challenging. You want to be sure you are outsourcing to a partner who not only understands your goals but can actively help you achieve them. At Core, before we begin any engagement, we interview the stakeholders to understand not only what the scope will be, but its impact to the business, long term goals for the solution, and who (and how many) are using the system. All these elements paint a clear picture of your objectives and company.

2. Is the MSP Scaled to Take on a Business of My Size?

Every company is unique and constantly evolving. Knowing that change is inevitable, a good MSP should not only be ready to tackle your company as it looks today, but also be prepared to dynamically scale their support as your business operations evolve. At Core, we are scaled to support clients of all sizes. However, it’s not uncommon that an unexpected surge of issues could arise; for smaller MSPs, this might be a problem. But since our project-based delivery organization has the same level of expertise as our managed services team, we can internally scale up to meet unexpected increases in work.

3. Is the MSP a Certified Business Partner for the Software / Hardware We Use?

Looking at a consultancy’s certifications and competencies is an excellent way to help gauge if they are the right partner for your business. Not all consultancies are equally qualified, and it’s important to understand how they’re various areas of expertise can benefit your company.

At Core, we are a Cisco Gold Partner with 17 partner specializations, a Microsoft Solutions Partner, and an Azure Expert Managed Services Provider. In addition, many of our engineers hold individual certifications in Azure, networking, Microsoft, Cisco content management systems, and many other technologies.

4. How Quickly Will I Receive Responses for Support?

Companies are always trying to reduce downtimes and service their clients as quickly as possible. However, support responses can vary depending on the severity of the issue. Instead of a one-size-fits all approach, our response times are aligned to meet our clients’ business needs. We do have a standard service level agreement (SLA) for issues based on priority. Responses can range from within an hour, with updates provided regularly until the issue is resolved, to a couple business days for our lowest severity level. We also have clients with custom SLAs to better align with their goals, as well as clients who prefer not to have an SLA given the low urgency of their requests. Your MSP should be able to adjust.

5. How Can the MSP Improve Security to Protect My Clients, My Company, and Our Data?

In today’s environment, cybersecurity threats are constant and persistent. Cyber attacks can cause serious and long-term issues for companies and their clients. At Core, we follow best practices for security and disaster recovery at all levels. It starts with understanding whether the information or data we’re working with contains sensitive information (such as that regulated by HIPAA or PCI). Next, we look at restricting where it is stored (on-site data center, cloud, etc.) and who has access to it. Additionally, we provision internal permissions for access to environments, data or systems with a “least privilege mindset” so permissions can be scaled up or down as needed.


Now that you know the right questions to ask a potential managed services provider, and why you should ask them, it’s time to put them to practice. May we be bold enough to suggest giving us a try? After all, choosing the right MSP is imperative to operating at peak efficiency and reaching your business goals. Our highly skilled staff offers a flexible and customizable plan that can help elevate and optimize your business. Reach out to us to learn more about a partnership with Core BTS.

James Mitchell is the Director of Services of Core BTS's Application Development Managed Services team. With extensive business and operations background and 14+ years of experience in the development industry, he specializes in helping teams resolve complex and unique software challenges.

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