As technology becomes an integral part of many business aspects, there is an increasing demand to keep the IT systems up-to-date and to proactively implement strategies and solutions that will make the IT infrastructure more efficient. However, meeting this increased demand is among the big business challenges faced by small and medium enterprises. It can make IT departments feel overwhelmed and overstretched, and soon unable to cope with all the tasks at hand. If not resolved, this can lead to potential problems with the IT infrastructure. To avoid this scenario, more and more businesses turn to Managed IT Support to meet their IT needs.
Managed Services Provider (MSP) guarantees the necessary expertise and skill set that can help ensure your business’ long-term success in today’s tech-driven business landscape. Furthermore, the benefits of a managed IT service model are hard to ignore: predictable costs, scalability, availability, and faster adoption of new tech updates.
Whether you’re planning to outsource your IT needs for the first time or replacing your current MSP, you have to realize that Managed IT Support Providers are not the same. They differ in size, capabilities, cost models, delivery approaches, and methodologies. So, when vetting out potential MSPs, be sure to carefully consider the following key aspects.
Check the profile of your prospective MSP. You want their roster to include tech specialists and engineers whose capabilities are beyond your present in-house IT team. One of the major reasons why you outsource IT functions to MSP is access to experts and specialists. Getting experts within your team can significantly benefit your IT infrastructure as they can provide fresh, better and strategic solutions.
Years of experience
Along with the increased demand in IT services is the mushrooming of IT outsourcing providers. While some of these new entrants might be able to provide an excellent job, you want to entrust your IT network to experienced managed IT support company. Managed providers who have been in the field have wider experience that span several industries, different customer sizes, a variety of organizational structure, and a range of technologies, networks, and infrastructure.
Network Operations Center
Working with a managed IT support company that outsources its Network Operations Center (NOC) can present potential new challenges. If your MSP utilizes a third party NOC, there is a possibility that this contract provider is also contracting out the work. This makes it important to validate a managed service’s NOC. If the provider uses the third party, be sure that it is compliant to regulatory mandates. This is particularly true among businesses that deal with classified data or are in a heavily-regulated industry, such as healthcare, financial, and legal services.
While your MSP needs to be competent in resolving issues and troubleshooting errors, a proactive approach to prevent glitches from occurring must be the top concern of your MSP. Experts at an Ottawa Managed IT Services Company, Symple advise you to ask your prospective provider about their preventative measures. Examine their strategies as well as how they utilize data analytics and root cause analysis to prevent future issues. Avoid service providers that focus too much on break-fix approach. Resorting to temporary fixes reflects the lack of a long-term IT plan. Go for a provider that focuses on prevention instead of fix, proactive rather than reactive approaches.
Automation is vital to ensure the efficiency of your IT infrastructure. It removes tedious, repetitive and time-consuming tasks thereby allowing you to spend more time on important functions. Utilize a managed IT support with experience in automation to unburden your IT staff of menial tasks.
Compliance to standards
Work with an MSP that complies with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which is a framework that outlines the best practices for the secured and efficient delivery of IT services and its other aspects. Ask the prospective MSP if they are ITIL-certified. This will help ensure that they know and implement IT best practices.
Service Level Agreements
This is an essential part of your contract that you should not miss out. Basically, Service Level Agreements stipulate the remedies and penalties, including credits, in the event the provider fails to deliver the agreed services. SLAs should be enforceable and not just for record purposes. It would help to have a “review” clause in your terms, so that you can regularly check and revise the SLA in case your technologies and/or IT demands change.
Finally, you want to choose an MSP that can handle your present and future technology needs. As your business expands, expect your IT demands to also change. So, when vetting a Managed IT Support provider, ask about how they deal and address increased demand from their clients. You want to know about their contingency plans, in case of sudden requests for additional services or manpower.