Sarah Halphen | November 18th, 2022

Service Provider

Sarah Halphen | November 18th, 2022


Choosing the right service provider is among the life events worth fretting over to ensure the best decision is ultimately the one made. The process usually entails asking yourself—and often your potential company—a battery of questions: will this alliance be mutually beneficial? Can I trust them, and will they always be honest? How will they support me, especially when it’s burdensome? Answering these questions with certainty does not come easy, which is why it becomes important to take the advice of those whom you trust and have been there before.

What to Look For In A Service Provider Company

When searching for the right IT and cybersecurity company, it’s imperative to not only consult current clients but also understand industry best practices and know precisely what it is you need from the relationship.

Given the current state of the cyber threat landscape, it is no longer enough to have an IT company that is merely supportive, affordable, knowledgeable, and available; they must also have a platform with an industry-leading toolset and the ability to provide your business with a strong cybersecurity posture. A strong company should minimally have services in place that include proactive assessments, active monitoring and support, and rapid response in a worst-case scenario. This is especially true if working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) as they have seen a drastic increase in cyberattacks since last year’s breach of Kaseya servers.

Threat intelligence indicates 90% of MSPs have experienced a cyberattack in the trailing 18 months, demonstrating a need for more than just service support from a potential company (SOURCE). It is essential for all businesses to have the protection of a 24x7x365 Security Operations Center (SOC) capable of remediating threats on their clients’ behalf. Furthermore, there is no indication that such attacks will slow as small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) onboard with Managed Service Provider companies who then assist in migrating business-critical data to cloud storage making immediate response vital.

 Whether you are an SMB seeking an alliance with a successful Managed Service Provider or an enterprise operation in need of more robust cybersecurity, there are several similar keys to look for in a company.

If searching for an MSP Company:

 Ask how they assist customers with asset management and infrastructure planning. An organized Managed Service Provider is a good company that will show you how they lay out documentation in clear and easy-to-read language. They should also plan for a full device life cycle, so you have an accurate look at the future of IT costs.

  • Verify they have transparent and uncomplicated pricing. The best Managed Service Providers have clear packages of their offerings. They will not nickel and dime you with add-ons or upsells. If they have trouble producing a quote or telling you what the cost of their services is, do not walk, RUN.
  • It is important to choose a company that will provide their security baseline as part of your service. If they cannot articulate it, then they likely do not have one, which is a huge red flag. A dependable Managed Service Provider will have a security baseline based on your industry and compliance needs.

If solely seeking a cybersecurity provider, there is a slightly different set of must-look for:

  • It’s vital to understand the kind of alerts they can ingest on your behalf. Furthermore, the alerts need to be monitored on a 24x7x365 basis. A good SOC should be monitoring Windows events, e-mail, and Firewalls at a bare minimum. If they can integrate with third-party storage or communication software, that is a bonus.
  • Does the SOC prove compliance with SOC2 or similar frameworks? This is hugely important for keeping in compliance for anyone with Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) or similar requirements. A good SOC will not only be able to provide this immediately when asked but is happy to discuss their controls to ensure their own security.
  • A worthy company must have the capacity to not only solve problems as they arise but also prevent them from occurring in the first place. A meaningful SOC company will emphasize proactive over reactive support, which would include active monitoring and real-time threat remediation. Being an alert factory is not enough, as most businesses do not have the staff to address alerts around the clock.

Without regard to the type of company your business is seeking, there is a final must-ask question: what kind of service-level agreement (SLA) do they have on support requests? A good company will not only have a clear policy, but it should include a clause for breach of SLA that translates into dollars back to your company. The hallmark of a good Managed Service Provider is responsiveness, which should never be an issue, particularly with a SOC, but it is nevertheless important to have in place.

For any business or MSP seeking to enhance the cybersecurity posture of themselves and their clients, SpearTip is an ideal company as our cybersecurity services can be tailored to meet the needs of each unique business. Reach out to our team for more information regarding how we support our clients’ growth.


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