One of the biggest challenges facing managed services providers (MSPs) is balancing internal teams and associated skill sets with the services they want to offer. One way many MSPs augment their internal team is by partnering with third-party companies.
These companies can help provide necessary services, such as NOC, SOC, and help desk, which typically require the use of one or more tools in addition to the service component.
Here are some key factors to consider when looking for a partner to help augment MSP service delivery:
Integrity and dependability
Anytime you allow a partner to deliver some or all of a service, you’re putting your reputation and business on the line. It is crucial to select a partner you can trust and who will have the commitment and competence to deliver the service effectively.
Look for a partner who doesn’t force you into high minimums and long-term contracts. Especially at the beginning, you should ease into leveraging partner services to ensure the fit is going to work. In addition, there should be no requirement to include all devices or to require multiple services. Partners should be allowed to start using one service and then expand or change the service mix as their business requirements evolve.
Broad service support, like NOC, SOC, and help desk
It’s best to work with a partner who offers a complete range of services to support your business. The following are three of the most common services:
- NOC services ensure the availability and performance of your customers’ IT environments. This includes patching and updates of critical systems. The NOC service should provide the flexibility to support monitoring only, or a fully managed service, depending on your internal team and your customer requirements.
- SOC services include vulnerability assessments and penetration testing (VAPT), endpoint detection and response (EDR), and a network and infrastructure managed detection and response security service that leverages a SIEM tool. VAPT is a great way to get your foot in the door with new clients and to provide ongoing security health checks for existing customers. EDR is a crucial security service due to end users being the greatest threat vector to business networks. Managed detection and response (MDR) is a turn-key, 24/7 SOC as a service, including SIEM as a service and the security expertise necessary for your business to sell security services to customers.
- Help desk services need to be considered carefully because they will most likely be the most visible services you offer. You should require that the staff be based in your region and time zone, and that they have the resources and technical capability to solve end customer issues correctly on the first call the vast majority of the time. Ideally, the help desk engineers should be using the remote desktop function of your RMM tool to deliver the service.
Leverage your tools
Most MSPs have made significant investments in technology both in terms of licenses and internal training. At the same time these tools can be complex and daunting. Of course it makes the job of the third-party provider easier to use their tools, but look for a partner who is willing to leverage your tools, protect your investment, and fit into the way you want to run your business.
International security certifications can help increase your confidence in a partner’s abilities. ISO 27001 is an international standard that helps organizations manage the security of their information assets and ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all corporate data. ISO 27001 certification demonstrates an investment in the people, processes, and technology (e.g. tools and systems) necessary to protect your customer’s data and provides an independent, expert assessment of whether data is sufficiently protected. You should also work with a partner that follows ITIL standards, which provide a set of best practices for delivering IT services including event management and incident management. This will help your organization standardize on the selection, planning, delivery, and support of IT services to maximize efficiency and maintain predictable levels of service.
As you think about the best way to grow your business and offer the managed services that allow you to remain competitive in the MSP market, consider partnering with a company that can support your business and give you the best chance to succeed. Look for a partner with a great reputation that provides a full range of services and can leverage the monitoring and ticketing tools you are already using. Finally, look for a partner who has international certifications such as ISO 27001 to ensure you are working with someone who can help you maintain the security, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your customers’ data.
Nick Blozan is head of sales and marketing at Flexis
Flexis is a member of the SolarWinds MSP Technology Alliance Program (TAP). This blog is part of the TAP blog series, through which we will provide you with exclusive guest blog contributions from our TAP members.