Companies these days need more than an array of cybersecurity products to ward off cyberattacks. They also need experts to use and manage these products for the companies' protection. But the current talent gap means there are not enough experts around, which is why many companies decide to outsource to managed service providers.

However, it is not enough to hire MSPs. It would be best to consider an MSP as your partner looking after your cybersecurity as a business owner. As partners, you should have a shared mission, open lines of communication, and what both parties can contribute to keeping the business secure.

To make the relationship between a managed IT service provider and you, the client and business owner, here are some important do's and don'ts to consider:

Big Do's for Managed Service Providers

1. Do set clear expectations.

Managed service providers can set clear expectations for both parties using a service-level agreement (SLA). It outlines what performance you expect from your MSP.

2. Do understand which provider is responsible for which service.

An MSP might offer endpoint protection but not detection and response. Be clear on what services are included in the managed service provider's offer.

Managed Service Providers

3. Do clarify things by asking questions.

Ask MSPs who you will be working with, what different services they offer, and how they plan to integrate their team and established protocols into your existing cybersecurity processes.

4. Do understand the different pricing models available.

Some managed service providers charge annually for a subscription. Others consider how many incidents they have resolved. The former might be more cost-effective in the long run, especially if you are concerned about potential frequent attacks.

5. Do plan ahead.

Choose MSP packages not only based on your current IT needs. For instance, if you have plans to migrate to the cloud, make allowances for these. Talk to the managed service providers about these plans.

6. Do be responsive to your MSP's recommendations.

When your MSP gives recommendations, make sure to implement them right away. A few hours or minutes of delay may lead to business failure.

7. Do establish proactive protocols.

There are likely scheduled check-ins with an MSP, but you should report any issue to them instead of waiting for the next check-in. It helps resolve the problem before it gets worse.

8. Do choose wisely.

There are many managed service providers available today. Business owners like you now have lots of options and several different service packages. Make sure to choose the right MSP and package to suit your needs.

Key Don'ts Managed Service Providers Should Remember

1. Don't pick a general IT provider.

Not all IT providers can provide for your business' unique cybersecurity requirements. General IT providers will likely not have the right tools and technical expertise to ensure your protection against evolving cyber threats.

On the other hand, MSPs can do more than provide IT systems maintenance and assurance. They can also offer services, such as backup and disaster recovery, network security, compliance, help desk, and cybersecurity protection. Reliable MSPs will take their time to assess your existing IT systems, determine your needs, and pinpoint what specific services can cover those needs.

2. Don't take your staff's accountability in maintaining your security.

Outsourcing your cybersecurity needs to managed service providers does not remove all accountability from you and your IT staff. Even if you get full service from your MSP, your staff still has a role in protecting your business against cyber threats. It would help if you educated all the employees about ransomware attacks, malicious files, email scams, phishing, and other social attacks. You must conduct regular cybersecurity training for your people.

3. Don't hold your IT team and MSP solely accountable for your cybersecurity needs.

Maintaining your security should not be left solely to your MSP and IT team. Everyone should know their role in keeping the business safe from cyber threats.

Following these do's and don'ts should make it easier for you to partner with your MSP in the future. If you hire a reliable MSP like Swift Systems, you can also find it productive.

Swift Systems is a managed IT service provider that offers IT systems maintenance and assurance, backup and disaster recovery solutions, total network security, 24/7 service desk support, managed compliance, and ransomware protection. If you want to switch to Swift, contact us for a free consultation today!