How can you find the best IT service provider? When it comes to choosing between reliable managed service providers, the best business advice is to understand what sets apart the best IT service providers from the rest. 

If your online business plans include outsourcing IT services, be sure you're ready to do research and ask the right related question before investing your time and money. Beyond competitive pricing, the best IT service provider should be able to protect your online business and keep your data secure. It should also provide full assistance if you are in the middle of digital transformation. 

Services vary depending on the service provider; however, the best outsourcing solutions and your top picks should offer a wide range of services and boast positive customer service ratings. To figure out whether a managed services provider is the right choice for you, or narrow the selection down to your top picks, ask the following questions and any other related questions before negotiating a contract.

Are You Offshore or Local?

The way the IT service provider handles their business operations is an excellent indicator of the customer experience you should be expecting. Offshore solutions usually offer lower prices but lack the language capabilities and on-site support. They can handle monitoring and ticketing remotely, but local issues that may need immediate attention just can't be solved with offshore solutions. With offshoring, there's also the issue of unreliable internet speed, which results in slow download speed and upload speeds. Online home-based businesses need peace of mind that their overall business doesn't suffer just because their offshore outsourced provider doesn't have a reliable internet provider. 

On the other hand, local MSP companies will likely use business internet providers that you also use and trust. They also behave proactively and offer assistance quickly and effectively. The difference in availability and skills can influence the way you grow your business ideas. The bottom line is the best IT service providers can usually be found in your backyard. 

Do You Have Any SLAs in Place?

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a commitment between a service provider and a client. These agreements are essential when it comes to response times. You want a reliable service provider that can react as soon as possible to keep your data secure and issues managed. Without an SLA in place, you could end up waiting hours or even days before your service provider responds to your request. The best IT service providers usually have some sort of SLA or targets in place that they adhere to, to make sure you're getting the support your organization requires. 

What Is Your Team's Skill Set, and Does It Align With Our Business Objectives?

If you want to get the best out of outsourcing, you want your service provider to be very familiar with your online business operations. Depending on the skills of their staff, they can either completely understand your goals and objectives or, they could fall below your required standards and cause problems further down the road.

Are You Willing to Provide Testimonials or References?

The default benchmark of success has always been customer satisfaction. Go through their web page and look for testimonials and previous experiences. Even if you find something, don't stop there. Browse the internet for more information that may be found in forums and review websites. Any kind of information provided by their previous customers will be worth your while.

How Long Have You Been in Business?

MSP companies aren't something new in the market as such business models have been around for years now. Companies with a good reputation already have an established track record, so you should consider historical data. If they are in business for years and have no red flags in terms of customer satisfaction, you should consider taking a closer look.

How Do You Define Your Services, and What Is Included in Support?

Before investing your time and money on a service provider, be clear about the kind of services and support they offer. It should also be evident what kind of services you will be getting according to their pricing model. Figure out what kind of platforms, data storage, and applications they offer. Determine how and if they resonate with your online business model and current needs.

Are You Proactive?

When it comes to outsourced services, there is a big difference between a proactive and reactive approach. Proactive service providers keep a close eye on your overall situation and provide valuable information when needed. By analyzing and processing available data, they can recognize potential problems and solve them even before they become an issue. A reactive approach is entirely different and considers offering assistance only when the client requests it.

Do You Offer Around-The-Clock Coverage?

24/7/365 coverage has almost become an industry standard, but not all MSP companies offer such services. With things like network monitoring and average response times, you want non-stop availability. If a problem occurs in the middle of the night, there will still be someone available to address it even though your in-house team isn't present in the office.

Are Security and Data Backups Included?

Most of the information in your company is considered sensitive data, and you will want to protect your business data. Good outsourced solutions will include the security and protection of your data. Cyber attacks are present now more than ever, and your service provider should be able to prevent such events from happening. Ask them if they use cloud storage or data centers and how they keep them secure. 

How Often Do You Test Backups?

Storing backups is great, but they are only as good as their ability to be restored. Whether the company leverages cloud storage or data centers, look for companies that take care of your backups and frequently test them.

What Is the Contract Duration, and How Transparent Is It?

Once you hire an outsourcing service provider, you will need to sign a contract. If you don't pay close attention to the details, you may end up signing a terrible deal that is binding. If you are dealing with professional businesses like Managed Solution, you should be able to test the services and cancel if you feel like it. In this case, there is a 60-day, no-fee opt-out clause that guarantees customer satisfaction.

Do You Offer Contract Flexibility?

If you are planning to scale your online business, you may require adding or removing staff members in your remote team. A flexible contract allows you to do so. However, a flexible contract doesn't always mean that you will get the best service all the time. Outsourcing companies with small teams will struggle to provide additional staff in these situations, so you should always look for solutions that aren't understaffed.


Our best business advice if your business plans to find an alternative to an in-house IT team, you should be on the lookout for service providers with updated business technology and full transparency. Start by checking their account management background and try to notice any red flags that might cause suspicion. For validation purposes and to protect your overall business, you may even want to contact other companies that use their services. 

Keeping your data secure should be a top priority. Protect your business and be sure to ask any related questions regarding their data storage, data backups, business internet speeds, and the measures they take to protect your business. A reliable and skilled service provider can be your shortcut to success. Cost reduction and assistance on-demand are just a few pros of outsourcing, but they play a crucial part in staff management. But, as always, it is all about making the right choice.


WTF is a VPN?

By Romain Dillet as written on
You’re watching a movie. A criminal is trying to evade a crime scene in a sports car on the highway. A helicopter is following the car from above. The car enters a tunnel with multiple exits and the helicopter loses track of the car.
A VPN works just like the tunnel in this movie scene — it connects different roads and turns them into one, and a helicopter can’t see what’s happening inside the tunnel.
I’m sure many people around you have recommended you a VPN service. They usually tell you that a VPN is great, it lets you watch geo-blocked content, avoid the Great Firewall of China or browse the internet securely. VPNs are great, sometimes. But using a VPN can be as dangerous as not using one if you don’t know what you’re doing.

What the hell is a VPN?

If you have multiple computers, phones and tablets at home, you are using a local area network. These devices are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network and you can even transfer photos or movies from one computer to another without using the internet. Local area networks are private networks by design.
A VPN is a virtual private network. It lets you remotely connect to a private network. For instance, your office might be using a VPN for remote employees. This way, you can establish a connection with your company’s intranet and use your computer as if it were in the office. You’re virtually in the office, using your company’s Wi-Fi network.
Using a VPN is quite simple. Usually, a company or a developer installs a VPN server on a computer at home, in your office or in a data center. Then, users with the right credentials can connect to this server using a VPN client. There are many VPN clients out there on computers, mobile devices and even routers. Windows, Android, iOS and macOS even come with a basic VPN client in your device’s settings.
Let’s say you’re establishing a VPN connection on your computer. Your computer and the VPN server will start a point-to-point connection and all your network traffic will go through this connection. Think about this connection as a tunnel between your computer and a server. This tunnel is usually encrypted, and everything goes through the tunnel, from one end to another.

Why should I use a VPN?

Many of you probably first started using a VPN for work, especially when you’re working from home. There are a few advantages in using a VPN for a company. For example, it lets employees access office servers that aren’t connected to the internet, as you’re all connected to the same private network. Back in the days before cloud-hosted Office 365 servers or the G Suite, many companies were managing their own email and calendar servers. IT services could force you to connect to the company’s VPN first to access your emails and calendar events. It’s a good way to protect sensitive information.
But there are a few drawbacks as well. When you use a VPN connection, all network traffic goes through the VPN, including your internet traffic. Your company’s IT service could enforce strict browsing rules and prevent you from using Twitter. Or they could even watch and record your internet browsing habits to find a good excuse to fire you later down the road (too much Reddit, kthxbye).
But office environments aren’t the only use case for a VPN. If you live outside of the U.S., you know that a VPN can save the day when you’re trying to stream something from HBO Now, Netflix’s U.S. movie library, Hulu or one of the many streaming services that restrict you from using them abroad.
Many companies provide access to a bunch of servers around the world so that you can pretend you’re in another country. As I told you, once you set up a VPN connection, all network traffic goes through a tunnel and HBO’s servers will think that they’re sending data to a customer in the U.S. They’re sending data to an American IP address indeed (the address of the server), but everything is then sent through the VPN tunnel to your device on the other side of the world.
Sometimes, the VPN server doesn’t have enough bandwidth to upload the movie through the tunnel in a good resolution and your movie will look like crap. Sometimes, content companies like Netflix try to ban IP addresses that belong to well-known VPN servers, rendering this trick useless.
And finally, if you’ve traveled to China or another country that blocks many internet services, you’ve been relying on a VPN to connect to Gmail, Facebook or Twitter. China blocks websites at the network level. You need to connect to a VPN server outside of China to access those websites. Just like Netflix, the Chinese government tries to ban IP addresses of popular VPN services, making it more difficult to establish a reliable connection with a server outside of China.

Should I use a VPN to be secure on the internet?

Many coffee shops or hotels don’t spend too much time securing their Wi-Fi networks. Just like at home, it means that a user can see another user’s computer on the local network. And if there’s a hacker in your favorite coffee shop, they could snoop on your internet traffic to learn some information about you.
This was a serious issue a few years ago. Many websites didn’t use a secure connection on their login page. Hackers could get your bank account’s login and password and steal all your money.
Not using the Wi-Fi network at all was the best way to avoid that. But if you really needed to checked your email account, you could use a trustworthy VPN server to prevent snooping — nobody can see what’s happening in the tunnel.
Things have changed quite a lot. Now, a vast majority of internet services have switched to HTTPSand end-to-end encryption to make sure that nobody can see your private information, even without a VPN.
All of this leads me to today’s false assumptions about VPNs. No, a VPN doesn’t mean that you’ll be more secure on the internet. It depends on the VPN server.
When you use a VPN to change your country, avoid censorship or protect your connection in a coffee shop, the VPN server at the other end can see all your network traffic. You’re just moving the risk down the VPN tunnel, and it can be quite dangerous if you’re not careful enough.
Assume that all the free VPN apps that you see in the App Store and Google Play are free for a reason. They’ll analyze your browsing habits, sell them to advertisers, inject their own ads on non-secure pages or steal your identity. You should avoid free VPNs at all costs.
When it comes to paid options, some of them promise you internet privacy for $5, $10 or $20 per month. But look at the privacy policy and terms of service first. I’ve seen plenty of VPNs that log your internet traffic, share information with law enforcement and more. Read the small print.
And even if the privacy policy looks good, you’ll have to blindly trust them as it’s hard to verify that they actually do what they promise they’re doing. In many cases, a secure home connection with a MAC address whitelist is better than connecting to some random company’s VPN server. You don’t want to give a stranger your home keys even if they say that they promise they won’t break into your house.
As for encryption, some protocols aren’t as secure as you might think. L2TP with a pre-shared key for authentication can be decrypted for instance, destroying the concept of the unbreachable tunnel. A secure server running OpenVPN with a server certificate is more robust.
All of this might sound a bit complicated, but the bottom line is quite simple: a VPN is great and can fill different needs, but don’t do business with someone shady.
Learn more about internet censorship in China:


Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.