10 Things You Need from a North East Managed Service Provider (MSP) in 2024

North East MSPs in 2024

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are becoming a lifeline to businesses in the North East, that want to do more than just survive. We all know that the business that embraces technology already has a massive head start over those that are still spending too much time and effort on outdated and less efficient resources and practices. 

If you want to integrate the best technological innovations into your business then you need to partner with a reputable MSP. If the synergy works and your business model is sound then you are futureproofing more than just your company. 

The North East region, known for its vibrant business ecosystem and technological innovation (see our last post if you want to know more), offers a plethora of MSPs, each vying for your attention. But what should you look for in an MSP to ensure they meet your specific needs in 2024? 

Here is the InfraZen ten essential services and qualities you should prioritise when selecting a North East MSP.

1. Comprehensive Cybersecurity Solutions

Why It’s Essential

With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, businesses need robust cybersecurity measures to protect their data and maintain trust with their customers. Your MSP should offer a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity services to defend against ransomware, phishing, and other malicious attacks.

Let’s See it in Practice

Jules B the fashion retailer that started out in Newcastle upon Tyne 40 years ago was almost forced into closure earlier this year due to a ransomware attack:

“Julian Blades, who co-owns Jules B with his wife Rhona, has told of how criminal hackers launched a ransomware attack on designer fashion firm, demanding $100,000. The attackers gained access to the 40 year-old firm’s servers, wreaking havoc with its systems and wiping out two weeks worth of turnover.”

Read the full story here

Key Services to Expect for your MSP

24/7 Monitoring: Continuous surveillance to detect and respond to threats in real-time.

Threat Intelligence: Proactive measures to identify and mitigate potential risks.

Incident Response: Rapid response protocols to minimise damage and recover from attacks.

Employee Training: Regular training sessions to educate employees on best practices and emerging threats.

Red Flags

Outdated Technology: Avoid MSPs that do not use the latest security tools.

Lack of Transparency: Be wary if your MSP is not forthcoming about their security measures and protocols.

2. Scalable Cloud Solutions

Why It’s Essential

As your businesses grows, your IT needs will evolve. Cloud solutions offer the flexibility and scalability to adapt to these changes without spending significantly more money on updating your infrastructure. Your MSP should provide cloud services that align with your business growth.

A spokesperson from Amazon wrote:

“Cloud computing makes it much easier for small companies to combine the flexibility of a start-up with all the computing power and security of the world’s leading technology companies. Instead of committing to expensive purchases of IT equipment up front, companies have the ability to flex up and down their computing resources to meet their exact needs from day to day, hour to hour, or even minute-to minute.”

Read the full article here

Key Services to Expect from your MSP

Cloud Migration: Assistance with moving your existing systems to the cloud with minimal disruption.

Hybrid Solutions: Combining on-premises and cloud services to optimise performance and cost.

Cost Management: Having the tools and expertise to manage cloud expenses effectively.

Compliance Support: Ensuring your cloud solutions always meet industry regulations and standards.

Red Flags

One-Size-Fits-All Solutions: Avoid MSPs that do not tailor cloud services to your specific needs.

Hidden Costs: Ensure transparency in pricing to avoid unexpected charges.

3. Proactive IT Support

Why It’s Essential

Downtime can be costly and disruptive. Proactive IT support ensures potential issues are identified and resolved before they become significant problems, keeping your operations running smoothly.

Let’s see it in Practice

MacDonalds, Sainsburys and Tesco have all lost a great deal of money though computer and IT failure recently – as has our North East favourite, Greggs. Earlier this year, an IT glitch left many stores unable to accept cash and card payments. IT glitches can be very costly.

Read the full story here

Key Services to Expect from Your MSP

Remote Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of your IT infrastructure to detect and address issues early.

Routine Maintenance: Regular updates and maintenance to prevent system failures.

Help Desk Services: Accessible support for troubleshooting and resolving your IT issues.

Performance Optimisation: Regular assessments to improve your system performance and efficiency.

Red Flags

Reactive Approach: Avoid MSPs that only address issues as they arise instead of preventing them.

Poor Communication: Ensure your MSP provides clear – easy to understand for a non tech genius – and regular updates on your company’s IT health and performance.

4. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Why It’s Essential

Unexpected events like natural disasters, cyberattacks, or system failures can disrupt your business operations. A solid disaster recovery and business continuity plan will ensure that your business can quickly recover and continue operations with minimal impact.

Key Services to Expect from Your MSP

Data Backup: Regular and secure backups of your critical data.

Disaster Recovery Planning: Comprehensive plans to restore systems and data after an incident.

Business Continuity Strategy: Ensuring essential business functions can continue during a disruption.

Testing and Updates: Regular testing and updating of disaster recovery plans to ensure continued and up to date effectiveness.

Red Flags

Lack of Testing: Avoid those North East MSPs that do not regularly test their disaster recovery plans.

No Customisation: Ensure your MSP tailors the plan to your specific business needs and risks.

5. Expertise in Emerging Technologies

Why It’s Essential

Staying competitive means leveraging the latest technologies to drive innovation and efficiency. A North East MSP with expertise in emerging technologies can help you stay ahead of the curve and implement solutions that give you the competitive edge.

Let’s see it in Practice

I’ve mentioned the North East business Greggs once already in this article to demonstrate how costly IT downtime can be, but let’s face it, over time, Greggs insistence on staying ahead of the technological game has transformed it from a single bakery in on Gosforth High street in 1939 to a renowned and acclaimed market leader. Feel free to read our last post if you want to know more.  

Key Services to Expect from your MSP

AI and Machine Learning: Does your North East MSP Implement AI-driven solutions for data analysis, customer service, and more?

Internet of Things (IoT): Integrating IoT devices to enhance operational efficiency and data collection.

Blockchain (which is an advanced database mechanism, that allows information sharing within a business network): Does your MSP Utilise blockchain for secure transactions and data management.

Automation: Streamlining processes through automation to reduce costs and improve productivity is also a plus.

Red Flags

Outdated Knowledge: Avoid North East MSPs that do not keep up with the latest technological advancements.

Lack of Innovation: Ensure that your MSP is proactive in suggesting and implementing new technologies.

6. Customisable Service Packages

Why It’s Essential

Every business has unique needs. Is yours any different? Your MSP should offer customisable service packages to ensure you only pay for what you need, and you should always receive services that are tailored to your specific requirements.

Key Services to Expect from your MSP

Flexible Contracts: Within reason, your MSP could offer options to adjust elements as required.

Modular Services: Ability to add or remove services easily. As your business evolves, your service needs will change.

Scalable Solutions: Your North East MSP should provide scalable services that can grow with your business.

Consultative Approach: Your MSP should always Work with you to design a service package that always fits your budget and needs.

Red Flags

Rigid Contracts: Avoid MSPs that lock you into long-term contracts without flexibility.

Lack of Customisation: Ensure your North East MSP offers solutions tailored to your specific business needs.

7. Strong Local Presence with Global Reach

Why It’s Essential

A strong local presence ensures that your MSP understands the specific challenges and opportunities prevalent in the North East region. However, a global reach can provide additional resources and expertise, especially for businesses with international operations or aspirations.

Key Services to Expect from Your MSP

Local Support Teams: On-the-ground support for quicker response times.

Regional Expertise: Knowledge of local regulations, market conditions, and business practices.

Global Partnerships: Access to global resources and technologies.

Multilingual Support: Support in multiple languages if you have international customers or operations.

Red Flags

Limited Presence: Avoid MSPs with limited local presence and understanding of the North East market.

No Global Reach: Ensure that your MSP can support your growth if you plan to expand internationally.

8. Robust Data Analytics and Reporting

Why It’s Essential

Data-driven decision-making is crucial for modern businesses like yours. An MSP should provide robust data analytics and reporting services to help you make informed decisions and optimise your business operations.

Key Services to Expect from Your MSP

Real-Time Analytics: Access to real-time data to monitor performance and make quick decisions.

Custom Reports: Tailored reports that provide insights specific to your business needs.

Performance Dashboards: Your North East MSP might provide interactive dashboards to visualise key metrics and trends.

Predictive Analytics: Using data to predict future trends and opportunities.

Red Flags

Generic Reports: Avoid MSPs that only offer generic, overly complicated, jargon filled, one-size-fits-all reports.

Lack of Insight: Ensure their analytics services provide actionable insights, not just raw data.

9. Commitment to Sustainability

Why It’s Essential

Sustainability is becoming a key consideration for businesses and their customers, and is something the North East takes very seriously. An MSP committed to sustainable practices can help you reduce your environmental impact and meet the growing demand for eco-friendly business operations.

Key Services to Expect from Your MSP

Green IT Solutions: Implementing energy-efficient technologies and practices.

Sustainable Data Centres: Using data centres powered by renewable energy.

E-Waste Management: Proper disposal and recycling of electronic waste.

Sustainability Consulting: Advising on how to make your IT operations more sustainable.

Red Flags

Lack of Transparency: Avoid MSPs that do not provide clear information on their sustainability practices.

No Sustainability Focus: Ensure that your MSP has a genuine commitment to sustainable practices, not just lip service.

10. Excellent Customer Service and Support

Why It’s Essential

The quality of customer service can significantly impact your experience with an MSP. Excellent customer service ensures that your issues are resolved quickly, and your business needs are always prioritised.

Key Services to Expect from your MSP

24/7 Support: Round-the-clock support to address issues at any time.

Dedicated Account Managers: A single point of contact who understands your business and your ever evolving needs.

Regular Check-Ins: Frequent communication to ensure your constant satisfaction and to address any concerns.

Customer Feedback Mechanisms: Systems to gather and act on your feedback to make sure your MSP is always meeting and exceeding your expectations.

Red Flags

Slow Response Times: Avoid MSPs with a history of slow or unresponsive customer service.

High Staff Turnover: Frequent changes in account managers can disrupt service continuity and perhaps even your confidence in that particular MSP.

Well, that’s the InfraZen list of the top ten elements that you should consider when hiring an MSP for your business. 

We hope it’s been helpful.

Selecting the right MSP is crucial for leveraging technology to drive your business success. 

By prioritising these ten essential qualities and services, you can ensure that your chosen North East MSP not only meets your current needs but also supports your future growth and innovation. 

Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise in the North East, a reliable MSP partnership can be the key to thriving in the competitive landscape of 2024 and beyond.

If you are ready to get ahead of the game, give us a shout and one of our friendly staff will be happy to put together a tailored package to suit your business needs.

Click here to get in touch

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