Tips to Help You Find the Right Managed Service Provider
Are you planning to outsource some, or all, of your IT functions? You might have noticed that there are many IT managed services advertised out there. Now, the challenge is to find the right IT firm that suits your business. Keep in mind that IT plays a core role in your business success; you should not gamble when hiring one. In this regard, let’s look at some key factors to help you pick the right managed service provider for your business.
1. Where is the IT firm located?
It isn’t just about knowing where the head office of the company is located but also the location of their IT infrastructure. Knowing the location of the servers is important, especially if you intend an IT firm to provide you with services like cloud hosting or Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), as it will affect your services as well. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other laws can immensely effect how data is stored, especially if your business is running in a highly regulated sector, such as financial services or legal.
2. What is the range the Managed Service Provider covers?
If you have the ambition to move premises and expand your business into different countries and you wish to have the same IT firm running your business, get to know the geographical area that the managed service provider covers.
3. Are there varied levels of IT support services?
Many IT firms have taken a step to devolve different IT solutions they are providing to their clients for different budgets and requirements. Look for an IT firm that beats other managed service providers. Inquire about the kind of services they provide and check if they suit your needs. Other firms may offer a consolidated service at a manageable price compared to their peers. The choice of service levels IT firms provides includes:
- Ad-hoc or pay-as-you-go support
- Break-fix support
- Managed service support
4. Are there any guaranteed response times?
It’s usual to expect guaranteed response times in the case of a problem when you’ve brought the Managed Support Provider on board. However, the exact response time may vary depending on the level of the support you are willing to subscribe to. There might be varied response times for different priority levels as well.
It’s good to differentiate between response and resolution times. For example, if the company indicates, say one hour, go ahead and ask them to clarify if this means that they will respond to you within an hour or they will resolve your issue within an hour.
Also, you should be a bit cautious when the company guarantees to resolve an issue within a certain time frame. You should expect a target waiting time for an issue to be fixed, but at times, it can take longer than expected to get to the root cause of the problem.
5. Do they do remote management and monitoring?
As a rule of thumb, prevention is always better than cure. It implies you need a company that offers around the clock monitoring and is proactive in approach, taking preventive measures. It certainly will help you avoid problems that would cause major disruption to your business.
6. Is there a dedicated account manager?
It’s of great help to have a direct point of contact at your IT firm who you can build a long-term relationship with. They will get to know your business and plans better, thus allowing them to align your goals with their service. It is normal to expect to have some dedicated contacts you can deal with from the provider.
7. Will I get a dedicated engineer?
It is reasonable for the company to have a technical staff with different areas of expertise, and you expect for the MSP to assign the best-suited engineer to your business.
8. Do they work with specific software and hardware companies?
It’s not a big deal if the firm works with specific manufactures or not, but be keen to see if they put their vendor relationship above your business needs. If the company is vendor-agnostic, be sure they will focus on finding the best solution for your requirements rather than their source.
9. How can you raise your IT problems?
IT problems are a bit frustrating; therefore, you want to make sure it’s easy to contact the company. Clarify from the IT firm if it has a dedicated number, an online support request system, or a direct email address. Also, they should be clear how you would contact the service desk out of the normal working hours.
The list of factors is not exhaustive, but it will give you a good foundation guide when looking for the company that may be your IT support provider. Don’t be in a rush and ensure you pick an MSP that suits your business.