Managed Service Provider

Top Tips: Choosing a Managed Service Provider

Choosing a Managed Service Provider is one of the most important decisions your business makes. Once you’ve entrusted your technology to an MSP, it will be difficult, time consuming and costly to move. We have put together these top tips to help you choose the right partner.

The right portfolio and scalability

A quick Google search can find multiple MSPs but finding one with the right portfolio that can meet your specific business needs, plus has the breadth of service portfolio to grow with you, can be more difficult. Are you looking for specific skill sets and a technology portfolio that will drive your business forward? WTL is an experienced Solaris and Linux specialist and can drive real transformation in your business. When coupled with a deep understanding of your business and your specific challenges these are hard to find qualities.

Provides SLAs that meet your requirements

When looking for an managed service provider, the SLAs they offer will be critically important. Do they match what you are looking for? What happens if the MSP doesn’t meet the SLA’s? Are there any financial incentives? It is important to choose an MSP who puts its money where its mouth is.

When negotiating a contract, is the MSP flexible and willing to consider something that isn’t standard? The level of flexibility that is evident at this stage could be an indicator of how accommodating the MSP will be once you’ve been onboarded.

Expertise, qualifications and accreditations

It might sound obvious, but a quality MSP needs to have the right qualifications and should keep these up to date. Don’t just look for standard accreditations, expect to see deep expertise in the latest technology; cloud, AI, virtualisation, mobility, security, networks, edge, analytics and more.

Accreditations demonstrate the MSP’s commitment and investment and should indicate that they are taking your technology needs seriously. WTL holds all the most current certifications for Solaris, is a Red Hat Ready partner, Oracle Gold Partner, an Enterprise Solution Provider for VMware, a Silver Veeam ProPartner, and many other leading technology accreditations.

Culture and values

Does the MSP share the culture, ethics and code of practice of your own business? If this is to a long-term, mutually respectful partnership, your MSP should hold the same values and be committed to helping you to achieve your goals.

You need a partner that will evolve with the wider marketplace, utilising the best technology and the best services for your business. Not one that will get comfortable and forget about innovation. WTL partners with the leading vendors and is always seeking out innovation that will drive real business benefits for you.

Meet the team, ask to see the company handbook, do some research on Glassdoor, and find out more about the culture of the partner you are considering.

Best Practice Policies and Procedures

Ensure the MSP utilises industry best practice across the organisation. MSPs that adhere to common frameworks ensure that the right processes, people and systems are in place to help you meet your business objectives. WTL holds the recognised ISO27001 and ISO9001 certifications for physical security and quality processes.

MSPs should be able to detail its processes and policies to you, providing full visibility and transparency.


As with policies and procedures, cybersecurity concerns will be high on your list. Look for best practice frameworks and inspect security policies and procedures which cover monitoring, detection, incident logs, remediation, risk management, patch installation and incident response processes. Ask the MSP to demonstrate compliance with regulations and to ensure that your data will be stored in accordance with the security requirements that the industry demands (PCI DSS, HIPAA etc) and with wider data protection regulations.

WTLis a Cyber Essentials approved partner, demonstrating its commitment to an industry standard cybersecurity framework and offers customers a high level of systems and data security and governance.

Word of mouth

Ask to speak to at least one or two existing customers who share your business transformation goals and some common demographics or use your own network to verify the partner’s reputation and reliability. You’re looking for an honest appraisal, that you won’t find by looking at a brochure or website. There is no greater endorsement than a peer endorsement.

When you have satisfied all of the above, then you are ready to choose a managed service provider. WTL will provide references on request and can satisfy any due diligence questions you may have if you are looking for an experienced and trusted managed service partner.

Useful Links

Intercity Technology – Top 5 Tips for Choosing a Managed Service Provider

IBM : Top 10 tips for selecting a managed service provider

How to choose a Managed Services Provider: A 20 point checklist to choosing the right MSP for your business

To outsource or not to outsource IT

IT: To outsource or not to outsource?

Businesses choose to outsource their IT services for a variety of reasons, including accessing additional skills and expertise not held inhouse. Statista figures from 2018 identified that 46% of businesses across the globe that outsourced IT services did so to plug skills gaps. This is particularly relevant when a business needs specialist skills like Solaris or Linux, which can be hard to recruit and retain. 36% of those surveyed outsourced to save money and 35% wanted to free up resources to focus on their core business. 33% wanted to add scale to their business, 29% wanted to improve flexibility in the use of their resources and 10% did it to encourage and facilitate innovation.

As the statistics above show, outsourcing takes many forms. Some businesses bolster their existing team with additional resources and some outsource their entire IT operation, including technology and people. Depending on the business’ requirements, outsourcing can facilitate 24/7/365 cover, with stringent SLAs and no issues with staff holiday cover, sickness or transience.

Outsourcing can save businesses money in a number of ways. Businesses that outsource their infrastructure gain access to the latest technology and systems without the huge upfront investment. Costs are spread and paid on an OpEx basis rather than CapEx, which can make budgeting and future planning easier. The not insignificant HR costs associated with an in-house IT team are eliminated, NI, tax, sickness and holiday pay is the responsibility of the outsource partner.

Cybersecurity defences are stronger, with many managed service providers running security operations centres that monitor customer networks and systems continuously to predict and protect against threats.

With such compelling reasons to outsource, why do businesses keep their IT services inhouse?

For some businesses, the appeal of an inhouse IT team lies in the ability to get help from someone in person, in the moment, rather than at the end of the phone.

While some organisations appreciate the time that an inhouse team can take to focus on projects, or solutions, as they aren’t calling off hours from a monthly quota, others are aware that inhouse teams can be overworked and understaffed, constantly dealing with time-pressured “urgent” issues and never freeing up time to innovate or strategise. In addition, a common issue can arise when large amounts of critical knowledge are held by a single individual. Particularly prevalent with specialist skills around Solaris, Linux or even applications like Oracle databases, this “key man risk” is a serious flag on an operational risk register, mitigated by delegation, expanding the team, sharing responsibility with a different team, or by outsourcing.

As we have outlined the cost savings that can be achieved with outsourcing, hiring a team is expensive. Especially one that needs to incorporate a diverse range of skills and expertise to cover a range of operating systems like Windows, Solaris and Linux.

WTL has deep expertise in the world’s leading enterprise technology, including Oracle Solaris and Linux, employing some of the country’s most experienced engineers and architects to ensure that customers can take advantage of the technology, without worrying about training or skills shortages. WTL works closely with its customers to understand if and how outsourcing some of all of its IT resources can benefit their business, fitting in with existing teams where necessary. Every business is different, generating different types of data and will require different systems to meet its business needs. For some companies, especially those in a growth period, moving towards more complex systems, or approaching commercialization, outsourcing some responsibilities to a board level individual who can help drive strategies forward is the right solution

Outsourcing IT to an MSP can be a flexible, smart approach which allows a business to free up resources allowing them to focus on the important elements of growing the business.

If you are unsure whether outsourcing your technology operations is right for you, give WTL a call today.

Useful Links

Statista Global reasons to outsource 2019

Top 10 reasons to outsource

Advantages of outsourcing services

10 Benefits of working with a Managed Service Provider