Partnering with a reliable managed service provider (known as an MSP) can help your business become more efficient, secure and innovative.

Unfortunately, not all MSPs have the features that fuel your business’s success.

When you start to compare MSPs, most of their websites will say that they offer the managed IT services that you need. As you dig deeper, though, you may discover that some MSPs don’t fit your needs as well as others.

Use the following four questions to help you find the right MSP for your business. Once you find the right match, your business will have more opportunities to thrive.

1. How will you determine my business’s unique needs?

Every business has unique technology needs based on factors such as industry and number of employees. It’s important to choose an MSP partner that understands the importance of learning about your organization, pinpointing current strategies that work well for you, and identify areas where you need improvement.

Some MSPs take a cookie-cutter approach to serving their clients. You’ll get better results from a partner that knows what makes your business unique.

2. What types of services do you provide?

At first, you may think that you want an MSP that can provide excellent IT support. After all, an MSP’s IT support can reduce the cost of your in-house IT labor, improve your efficiency, and teach you about emerging trends in technology.

Related: How to Choose Compatible IT Devices and Software

Over time, though, you’ll probably find that you want more than basic IT support from your MSP. Look for an option that also has specialists in network security, server solutions, and backup and disaster recovery. You may not think that you need these services, but your growing business will eventually need an MSP that has experience with them.

3. Do you have any testimonials or references?

It’s unfair to expect a smaller MSP to have the lion’s share of experience in working with huge corporations. But if you’re doing business with a reputable MSP, you can (and should) expect them to have some sort of references and testimonials.

It’s really no different than buying a product. You’re likely going to look at the reviews before diving into a potentially expensive purchase; why wouldn’t the same hold true for a managed MSP relationship?

Related: 3 Surprising SMB IT Statistics You Probably Didn’t Know

Viewing an MSPs references can also help you gain insight on where they’re most experienced. If you notice that the majority of their testimonials come from local businesses, you can rest assured that they’re doing something right in the local community.

4. Do you staff your help desk 24/7, 365 days a year?

You never know when you will need IT help. Your network could crash at noon or midnight. An employee working third shift may lose access to an account at 3 a.m. It’s impossible for you to predict when something will go wrong, so you need an MSP partner that staffs its help desk 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Make sure that the MSP uses in-house employees to staff the help desk. Otherwise, your request could get forwarded to a call center based anywhere in the world.

What’s the point of paying for 24-hour access when you can’t talk to one of your MSP’s employees at any hour?

Related: How to Get the Most out of Your IT Support

PCS International: Ask Us Anything

Accepting a sub-par MSP will make it more difficult for your business to succeed in today’s technology-focused world. Use these questions to start a discussion with potential MSP partners. Make sure you contact PCS International to see whether we’re a good match for you.