As managed service providers seek to outsource work to one another, you'll need to do your homework before signing on the dotted line. Generally speaking, I believe most managed service providers are honest, hardworking entrepreneurs. But there are a few horror stories in the managed services sector -- the most famous one involving former Compulinx Managed Services CEO Terrence Chalk.

The former New York MSP owner allegedly stole his employees' identities in 2006 and now faces separate charges for allegedly trying to defraud a Connecticut BMW dealership, reports Channel Insider's Chris Gonsalves. Chris has been tracking the Chalk story since 2006, when he reported for VARbusiness and ChannelWeb.

Gonsalves' reports are timely reminders to make sure you pursue thorough background checks before signing MSP-related partnerships.

Over the next few months, you'll hear more and more about outsourcing management systems that allow MSPs to coordinate work with one another. Autotask and OnForce plan to announce joint work on such as system at XChange '08 (August 17-21, Dallas). Such systems could help to speed customer engagements and extend an MSP's geographic reach through partners.