Choosing the Right MSSP: 5 Important Questions to Ask 

For all small and medium businesses, technology is at the core of your business. Your IT environment is critical to your daily operations and efficiency, yet you don’t always have the time or resources to manage it. This is where a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) can help.

An MSSP acts as an extension of your company’s tech team and is intricately involved in managing and maintaining your IT environment. However, “not all MSSPs are created equal”, and there are certain elements you should first understand to be sure you’re choosing the right MSP for your IT and business needs. 

There are 5 important questions to ask when choosing who to partner with for your IT security and support requirements, considering them will help you to evaluate your current MSSP or guide you towards the right choice of MSSP. 

The Benefits of Working With an MSSP


You cannot afford to spend valuable time dealing with IT support issues. The correct MSSP partner will offer you key services to keep your business IT landscape running smoothly, productively and most important; securely. 

This service offering will include, helpdesk support, health monitoring software for your devices, secure backup services for your data and cybersecurity awareness training for your staff. You no longer require an IT technician to come running to fix a broken PC, you require solutions that keep your business IT up and running with constant remote monitoring and correction. You need to click on your chat icon and receive immediate technical support, not a 25 minute wait on a phone call. 

At Your Cloud Works, your Security is at the core of every service that is provided. An improved IT security culture at your business will improve the safety of your IT landscape. That is why Your Cloud Works shares free ongoing cybersecurity education.

Not everyone in business is an IT expert, or even knows what questions to ask their IT provider. In fact the answer that is often heard is: “We are quite happy with our current IT provider.” Why? Because that, sadly, is the easiest answer, but might not be 100% accurate. That is why we have chosen to reveal these 5 key questions. Before committing to a service agreement with any partner, though, you should ask that MSSP these five important questions:

1. What support and services  do you provide?

Business is conducted at all hours of the day, so it’s important that your MSSP has 24×7 support resources available day and night—in case your network crashes or you have server trouble. 

You may need a mixture of support packages across your team: Business hours only for some users, and 24X7 for others. Your MSSP needs to provide both options, and a clear pricing difference between the options. 

Time is often seen as very important in service level agreements, but the reality is that you will always require immediate support and a reasonable solution asap. If we are being clear, your MSSP should be offering instant remote support with a professional technician, and clear standards of solution or repair times according to specific scenarios. 

Look for an MSSP that offers complete business hours online/phone support, antivirus and DNS protection for every device as standard. Endpoint monitoring 24X7 through software that alerts your MSSP to any changes or dangers on your computers, servers or network. Please ask your MSSP what security awareness training they are offering for your staff members. This training, your first line of defence, is often overlooked. 

Having access to these services will help you minimise unwanted downtime at your business, secure every aspect of your IT landscape and protect your data from all forms of cybercrime or “user innocence” as some call it when a malicious email link is clicked. Your Cloud Works is an MSSP partner that provides all of the above.

2. Do you have experience working within our industry and/or with similar-sized companies?

It’s essential that your MSSP has experience working with a company like yours. To get a sense of that level of experience, ask to see case studies or current customer references that you can speak to. The MSSP should be more than willing to provide these resources if they have great relationships with their clients. Most MSSPs will already offer these resources on their website.

Your Cloud Works specialises in small and medium business clients. They offer specific solutions designed to protect and support you in all aspects of your business IT landscape. They are cloud specialists that focus on security and GDPR compliance, offering ongoing cyber security staff education, for all areas of business. As we have clearly seen in recent years, the increase of cybercrime against SMBs has had much to do with the increased levels of sensitive data that your business manages today. Bank details, health records, personal and private data, property history, and the sensitive list goes on and on.

3. What are your service standards?

It’s important that MSSPs have well-defined service level agreements (SLAs), which outline specific service standards for every relationship. This is an interesting area, because often what is promised is actually impossible to fulfill. 

This is the area that includes many “What if” questions. What if a manager is working from home and their laptop has a problem at 11pm? What if we are breached through a ransomware email? What if our internet goes down? These and other questions are everyday worries that need clear answers from your MSSP. 

These standards are not only about response time, fix time or solution time. You should be asking about GDPR compliance standards, cyber essentials credentials and technical expertise in each of the service areas. There should be specific areas that your MSSP doesn’t cover, and maybe requires third party involvement, all of which should be detailed in your monthly agreement and their Business Privacy Policy. 

Transparency and open communication has been a hallmark at Your Cloud Works through over 20 years of experience in IT Security and Support. They build affordable monthly security and support packages for your business requirements. There is no one size fits all IT support policy at Your Cloud Works. 

There are no hidden costs or unnecessary add-ons to your packages. Onboarding and migration services are punctual and complete, and no large upfront payments are required. That is the transparency and honesty that mark the service standards that you are looking for from your MSSP partner.

4. Are there any technology requirements?

You need an IT provider that can meet your specific needs. Ideally, your MSSP should be able to seamlessly integrate their solutions with your existing business systems.

Without getting too technical or overusing jargon to explain this point. An experienced MSSP should be able to take an aerial snapshot of your IT layout, understand all the components and how they all interact. This understanding comes through a series of questions answered by your key team members, and often years of experience in IT.

Your MSSP should then be in a position to calculate your requirements and create a monthly agreement that provides security and support to cover all of your business requirements. An experienced MSSP partner will suggest ideal solutions for you, but also alternative solutions that are still functional, and suit your budget plans. Microsoft, Google or both, Cloud or on-premise, should not be a problem for your MSSP today. 

5. What are the real monthly costs for our business?

Time for Change Cloud Services

Of course this is a very popular question, in fact this is the question that often motivates small businesses to look at changing their current IT partner.

This question has so many possible answers. If you look at your current costs, what do you actually include? Monthly software subscriptions, invoices for IT support services, currently monthly IT costs, hardware replacements or repairs, staff IT training costs, cloud services, internet services, Wifi and so the list goes on. An audit of current IT costs can, in itself, be an entire project.

It is annoying when the answer over the phone is: “Well that was never actually included in your monthly support agreement.” It can happen more often with hardware damage, but should not be a regular occurrence with your MSSP. Your growth and change should also be something that is contemplated by your MSSP, planned for and calculated ahead of time. 

You have clear, flexible options with Your Cloud Works, where each element of your chosen package is clearly explained to you. 

Many new customers have chosen the complete Gold package for a fixed cost  per month, which additionally includes: Full business hours helpdesk support, Endpoint Protection with constant device monitoring and alerts with Webroot Antivirus Protection, DNS Security and SAT. 

There may be additional security and support elements, or software that you require for your business: Office 365, Google G Suite for Business, Email filtering, professional backup services, Hosted Desktop Services, internet services or hardware supplies. All of which can be considered separately or as a single monthly package cost.

Can Your Cloud Works clearly answer the monthly cost question? Yes, they can discuss both your current costs and your IT requirements for an affordable monthly agreement.

In conclusion just get clear answers to these 5 questions:

1. What services do you offer? 2. What experience do you have in our business sector? 3. What are your service standards? 4. Are there any technology requirements? 5. What are the real monthly costs for our business? Ask Your Cloud Works these questions, some time soon.