10 Questions to Ask When Choosing An IT Company


Written by

David McBride

Published on

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing An IT Company

Properly managing IT needs is at an absolute high for businesses. The push for digital transformation and cloud adoption has resulted in businesses needing more IT support with fewer available resources. Working with a managed service provider (MSP) can give businesses the support they need to oversee their IT and achieve growth goals properly. 

Asking the right questions

Whether you are exploring using a managed service provider for the first time or making a switch, it’s critical to understand what to look for to find the best technology partner. Choosing the wrong provider can cause varying issues for your company, ranging from small inconvenient outages to problematic long-term bad contracts. 

On the flip side, choosing the right MSP for your business can (or rather should) result in enhancements throughout your business, including stronger security, increased efficiency, and higher employee satisfaction and engagement. The best method for ensuring you choose the right MSP is to compare options and ask the right questions throughout your search. Here are ten questions to ask when choosing an IT company. 

1. What services do you provide?

Understanding the services offered is essential to finding the best partner. Aligning your business’s needs with their technical expertise will deliver long-term benefits and create a lasting relationship. 

It’s equally important to know what services an MSP doesn’t provide. Does the proposal include things you don’t need, or is it missing vital services for your business? This will help you determine costs and what services may cost extra. 

2. What compliances do you support? 

If your business requires HIPAA, GDPR, or other industry-specific IT compliance standards, make sure the managed service provider you choose can meet those compliances at every step. 

3. What do your existing customers say?

Hearing from existing customers of the MSP is essential to understanding how the business operates and if what they claim about their services is true. You can do this through references and reading reviews on Google or sites like Trustpilot.

Additionally, you can ask the staff of the MSP if they enjoy working there and what their experience has been like. This will give insight into their company culture and if the partnership would be a good fit. 

4. How do you respond to disaster situations?

This question applies to how the MSP responds to a disaster for your business and how they would respond to a disaster in their own company. Understanding how they will react to a catastrophe that hits their own business will demonstrate their readiness to handle a crisis for your company. 

Additionally, understanding the protocols they have in place for a disruption or data breach for your company is a must. Do they proactively defend against attacks or take a reactive approach? How do they handle holidays and long weekends? With your business’ reputation and functionality at stake, you must trust your MSP to protect your data and customer data. 

5. What is included in your price agreement?

Understanding the ins and outs of the IT management package you are being offered is essential for developing a lasting relationship with your MSP. If you’re being offered a fixed rate, ask for an itemized list of the included services and what they cover. This will help ensure that there are no coverage gaps in your contract and you aren’t left treading water in the future. 

Additionally, make sure you understand if the managed service provider charges extra for certain services and if they offer one-time project work services. Knowing if you can go to your MSP for a one-time project will save you time and money in the future.

6. How will you improve our company’s efficiency?

Ask how they will implement long-term improvements to your technology. They should be able to anticipate issues and proactively approach solutions that will drive your business forward. The MSP you choose should do this through continuous monitoring, patch management, regular performance assessments, and more. Proactive maintenance will help prevent long-term issues for your business.

Additionally, you should ask how they will reduce the workload for your staff. What responsibilities and roles do you want the provider to take over, and what responsibilities do you want to keep in-house? 

7. What are your response and resolution times?

This is typically covered in the service level agreement (SLA). Understanding the timeframes your provider is promising is vital for choosing the right partner. Ask the MSP how they monitor their response and resolution times. Many providers find pride in exceeding the agreed times in SLA, but it’s vital to ensure those times are met.

 If possible, find testimonials or talk to current customers of the MSP to determine if they accurately meet the aforementioned times. The best MSPs will be able to show they frequently beat their promised times.

8. How do you help prevent and protect against digital risks?

While this might seem like a simple question, understanding how the MSP approaches safety is essential. The World Economic Forum reported in its Global Risks Report that 95% of all cybersecurity incidents occur due to human error. 

Finding an MSP that properly trains and approaches best IT practices is a must when looking to keep your business and customer data safe. This includes the training of both the MSP’s employees and your company’s.

9. What is your off-boarding process?

It’s easy to avoid this question because most people don’t want to think of ending a partnership before it begins. However, as your business grows and circumstances change, you don’t want to find your company locked into an agreement that you’ve outgrown if you no longer need the MSP’s services. Contracts are certainly commonplace when choosing an IT provider, so the important thing is to know what it looks like beforehand so you can plan accordingly.

Having a clean exit strategy and agreement is a sign of strong and honest business practices. 

10. What are your hardware upgrade or replacement policies?

It’s common for MSPs to require regular hardware upgrades to ensure the latest technology is being utilized properly. For example, many MSPs require workstations to be replaced every four years, while servers need a replacement every eight. 

This helps ensure that your business uses technology that provides the best security and efficiency. Typically, manufacturers stop providing security updates for previous models of technology as they move to something new; keeping the latest hardware in use helps your business and the MSP stay in line with manufacturers. 

Choosing The Right Partner

Businesses must be ready to ask the right questions when deciding on an MSP. While several of these questions have no “right or wrong” answer, they will provide insight into if and how the provider can best benefit your company. Remember, you’re choosing a technology partner, not simply an “IT guy,” so it’s crucial to identify the best MSP for your business. A good MSP can answer all of your questions directly without confusing you with jargon or technical language. They will also openly point you in the best direction for your company, even if it’s not them. 

99Ten focuses on helping your business achieve its goals by increasing efficiency and profitability. We provide comprehensive IT services to ensure your business runs securely day in and day out. You’re always welcome to reach out with any questions you have regarding choosing the right MSP or about our services.