It can be challenging to find a managed services provider that can meet your network maintenance and security needs. However, with proper research, you can make an informed decision. This article will give you a comprehensive overview of the various factors that will affect your decision-making process when it comes to choosing a managed IT services provider.
What are Managed Service Providers?
A managed service provider is a third party that provides business technology services. It typically manages and provides a set of solutions that are designed to meet the specific needs of its clients. It can also be proactive or reactive in providing these services.
As a managed service provider, it is responsible for the equipment or service that it provides. It manages the various operations related to the service, such as disaster recovery and technical support. The customer usually pays a recurring subscription fee. Through outsourcing the management of various processes and functions related to the technology, organizations can improve their operations and cut down on expenses.
With managed services, businesses can benefit from various advantages. These solutions can be used by both small and large organizations. One of the main advantages of managed services is that they can help teams fill the skills gap that they might not have available to manage on their own. They can be used by organizations that are looking to focus on innovation instead of mundane tasks.
Another advantage is that they can help organizations save money on their various expenses, such as training and staff. With a managed service provider, the costs are usually predictable and can be cheaper than those that are generated by in-house operations.
Reliability is another benefit of using a managed IT service provider. Unlike in-house operations, this eliminates the worry of potential outages. An in-house team might be handling multiple tasks, but an outsourced provider can focus on the security and health of the service.
What to Look for in a Managed Services Provider
1. Security is a Top Priority
Before you choose a managed services provider, you must understand their security strategy. Many of them don’t understand how to protect you beyond the usual software and patches. Ask them about their tools and how they can help you. Ask them about their security team and how they protect their own company. You want to make sure that they can defend themselves after all of your data and credentials are handed over.
2. They Make Your Business a Priority
You have probably tried calling a managed services provider multiple times to resolve an issue, only to feel that it wasn’t a priority. Most of them operate under an efficiency model, which means that they don’t have the necessary staff to handle the workload. If you choose them, you might end up with a short-staffed team. When vetting providers, ask about their capacity in the services they provide, especially the ones that relate to your specific needs as a client.
3. Easy to Communicate With
You should be able to speak with a representative of a managed services provider immediately if you need help. This eliminates the need for you to wait for days for a response. Another important factor to consider is their ability to provide you with the necessary resources to accomplish your projects on time and within budget.
4. Technical Expertise
A managed services provider should have the necessary staff members with extensive technical expertise to meet your needs. They should have a diverse team that can handle various tasks and workloads. Although some companies can provide a lower cost, if they lack the necessary staff members to support you, they might not be able to provide the level of expertise that you need.
5. Proactive Maintenance and Support
Another important factor that a managed services provider should consider when it comes to being proactive is their ability to keep up with the latest Microsoft patches. This will allow them to provide you with the best possible service. Being proactive involves having dedicated staff members and tools that can help ensure that your network is working properly. Having the right resources can help minimize your exposure to various issues.
6. Dedicated Onsite Support
Most businesses don’t have onsite support unless there’s an emergency. This means that the providers’ technicians have a high turnover rate and they might not have any idea what your business is like and how your security systems work. Having a dedicated resource for you can help create a synergy between your business and their support. This individual or team can help you align technology with your company’s goals.
7. Consistent Track Record of Account Management
A dedicated account manager is important for your company’s information technology (IT) function. This person can help you keep track of all of your account’s activities and provide you with the necessary insight to improve the efficiency of your organization. One-on-one meetings are an ideal way to present ideas and develop a formal planning process.
8. Incident Response, Backup Services, and Disaster Recovery Planning
A good backup and a regularly tested recovery plan are vital for security. When choosing a managed services provider, make sure they have the necessary products and services to address your needs. Before an event occurs, make sure that you have a mental checklist prepared, which includes the time it takes to get your network back online. Having this checklist can help you feel more confident that the managed services provider will be able to get your business back online quickly.
You should look for providers that have up-to-date technology information on their websites, blogs, and social media channels. The best ones will also regularly host training sessions and provide you with regular learning opportunities.
Before you start the process of choosing a managed services provider, make sure that you ask for references from both current and former clients. Also, get to know the employees of the company you’re considering to get a better idea of their culture and workload. When it comes to choosing a managed services provider, you must go beyond a sales meeting to get to know the company better. This is similar to how you would evaluate a candidate for a job. Conduct your own evaluation using best practices.