When it comes to managed service providers, there’s definitely no shortage of companies offering their services on the market.
Managed IT services mainly involve infrastructure management, network monitoring, backup & recovery, and security. They can also include IT support, virtualisation, storage and mobility.
An increasing number of companies are becoming aware of the benefits of using an MSP to handle their IT resources. Hence, the number of providers will only continue to grow. But this can pose a challenge for you. The choice can be overwhelming and you will probably need some tips on choosing the best managed service provider for your business.
Why companies use managed service providers
No business, big or small, can function without proper IT infrastructure in place. But maintaining your systems at peak efficiency doesn’t come cheap. As an SMB owner, you can’t always afford an IT department. The alternative is hiring a single IT specialist to handle IT issues in-house. However, you can’t expect them to be knowledgeable about all possible issues that may arise.
And if you do have your own internal IT team, they will sometimes find themselves facing a task that exceeds their abilities. Fortunately, partnering up with an MSP takes the burden off your IT staff. This allows your own team to focus their attention on projects crucial to your business growth.
So, how do you pick the best provider for your business?
There are many MSPs out there, so choosing the right one may not seem like the easiest task in the world. After all, you’ll be giving control of your key IT systems to a third party. Here are the 7 main traits you should look for in a high-quality MSP:
1. Sincere interest in your business operations
The right MSP shows genuine interest in your business. To provide the best service, the MSP needs to gather as much info as possible about your business and goals. You need a good MSP that takes time to understand the way your company operates across the board. This way, they can tweak their services so they fit into your daily operations just right.
Make sure your MSP offers multiple service models designed to accommodate different client needs.
On the subject of interest, it goes both ways. Talking to MSP reps and reviewing their brochures isn’t enough to reach a decision. It’s a good idea to visit their offices, meet their team and see their work environment firsthand. Even a brief visit can tell you a lot about their staff, work dynamics, and overall work ethic.
2. Around-the-clock service
When it comes to choosing a high-quality MSP, 24/7 availability is a must. You may work from 9 to 5, but your IT systems never sleep. Problems don’t choose a convenient time to pop up. Failures can just as easily happen after hours, on weekends, or during holidays.
24/7 availability also means talking to a real person any time you call, not an answering machine. In case of severe crash or emergency, a good MSP will dispatch a team on-site ASAP. This way, the problem can be fixed fast, with minimal service disruptions.
Continuous service is the only way to reduce chances of system failure and downtime. Besides, it’s one of the main perks of having an MSP take care of your IT resources. You are hiring someone to oversee, diagnose, and fix issues whenever they arise. Continuous monitoring and fast response times will help ensure nearly 100% system uptime.
3. Prompt response
Your provider must be able to respond to all of your requests without delay. Look for a provider that offers guaranteed response times and treats your IT as their own. Prolonged downtime takes a toll on your productivity and creates unnecessary costs.
The response time usually depends on the severity of the issue and the number of people affected. A company-wide outage prevents your business from functioning. Such issues demand response in a matter of minutes. In contrast, if the issue only inconveniences one user, it can take a bit longer for the MSP to respond.
Either way, the MSP should promptly confirm they have received your request. They should also inform you when you can expect the issue to be resolved.
4. Data and system security
Cyber threats, data breaches, and ransomware are running rampant nowadays. As cybercriminals get more creative, security becomes a major concern for any business. The same should be true of your MSP.
If malware does succeed to breach your security, it can inflict serious damage; Perhaps even bring your operations to a complete halt. Your ideal MSP must offer a wide range of security services to safeguard your data. This includes threat monitoring, vulnerability scans and firewall management. These actions help the MSP detect weak spots and prevent unauthorised access.
Needless to say, the MSP should use premium security practices to protect their own data as well.
5. Backup and disaster recovery
Digital data is extremely vulnerable to corruption and loss. System crashes and hard drive failures are bound to happen to any business sooner or later. Your MSP can help you recover your data using the various retrieval tools at their disposal. The right provider will be able to achieve this in a matter of hours to keep downtime at a minimum.
The same goes for emergencies and unforeseen events, like earthquakes and floods. High-quality MSPs will ensure the safety of your critical files and help you create a solid disaster recovery plan. They’ll perform regular backups of your “critical files” and store the copies off-site. If a disaster strikes and your infrastructure is destroyed, you’ll be able to upload a backup copy and resume operations quickly.
6. Dedicated Account Manager
This is the best way to make sure your business gets the attention it deserves. A dedicated account manager is a person your MSP assigns to take care of your needs. He or she will be your go-to person for any questions and concerns you may have.
In essence, you’ll be able to talk to an IT expert that is familiar with your business needs and operations. A good account manager will also identify and suggest cost-saving opportunities. So, you won’t have to waste money on services you don’t need.
The main benefit of having an account manager is that it helps your MSP learn more about you as a customer. This, in turn, allows their IT teams to gain better insight into your needs and act proactively.
7. Industry knowledge
The right provider has an in-depth understanding of your industry, its requirements, and standards. Information technology is a complex area. To handle all customer issues, your MSP has to be well-versed in various aspects of IT management.
On this note, the right MSP won’t limit their services to your IT systems. They will also suggest ways to improve your overall operational efficiency and workflow.
A competent MSP will have a highly qualified team of IT experts able to tackle various issues; Be it network administration, server maintenance, storage solutions, or security. To make sure their expertise matches your needs, you can ask to see their resumes.
Also, make sure you check the provider’s track record. Skilled MSPs are able to retain their clients and keep them happy with excellent services and support at all times. Lasting partnerships with multiple clients speak volumes about their reliability and quality of service.
As a managed service provider, Inspired Techs embodies all these traits. When you choose Inspired Techs to handle your IT resources, you gain access to an entire arsenal of know-how and skill. We take care of your IT resources, while you finally get your peace of mind.
To be sure that you get exactly what you need, contact us for a complementary assessment of your IT needs today.