MANAGED SERVICES ARTICLES
10 Critical Questions for your Managed Services Provider
Choosing the right Managed Services Provider (MSP) is critical to ensure the efficient and effective management of your IT infrastructure. The MSP you choose, in effect, becomes an extension of your IT department. Choose the right MSP and your company can increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve profitability and customer service. Choose the wrong MSP and they can become a burden on your IT staff, costing your company valuable time, resources, and money. Asking the right questions is important when establishing this kind of partnership. Here are a few critical questions that will help get you on the right track.
- Does the MSP have the internal resources to help you stay current?
Rapid and ongoing change in technology makes it very difficult and very expensive to keep hardware infrastructure secure and up-to-date. Plus, there is the challenge of acquiring the expertise required to keep your systems running smoothly. The MSP should help to ensure that companies who do not have the internal expertise are able to stay current with their IT hardware, software, and security infrastructure while staying within budget.
- Are they vendor independent? Do they provide flexible IT hardware and software services to meet your business needs?
Many MSPs are tied to specific software or hardware vendors meaning you may need to change the software and hardware you are using. Your business users may also need to undergo costly employee retraining and unnecessary added costs during transition. Always go with an MSP that is not tied to specific vendors, and one who will recommend the product that best meets your needs.
- Do they offer competitive subscription pricing?
Many MSPs will try to close a deal by offering a low initial rate and then charge ancillary charges that can cause your budget to skyrocket once you have already transitioned your business. Always ensure that the rate being charged is an all-inclusive monthly subscription fee for a pre-agreed upon level of service to ensure you stay on budget.
- How secure is their data centre?
The MSP’s data centre should offer clients at least N+1 redundant systems to host their network, applications and data to ensure continuity of service and data security. Most major MSPs don’t advertise who their key clients are in order to keep their data safe but will share this with serious potential clients. Ask about key clients as part of your vetting process to ensure you are in good company.
- What accreditations has the MSP achieved?
When an MSP has and maintains recognized and respected accreditations (SOC 2©, for example) it is confirmation that they meet the criteria for security, availability, process integrity, and confidentiality principles. The accreditations process requires that a company has a set of procedures in place, follows them, and is audited on a regular basis by a third party to ensure they are in fact following them.
- Can they make your business more competitive?
You want to partner with an MSP that will help you achieve efficiencies as your business grows. They should help you to take advantage of fast paced innovations while providing the personalized guidance you need to fully achieve the benefits. They should also help clients take advantage of opportunities by capitalizing on technology infrastructure that meets a business’ unique needs.
- What is their suite of services?
When partnering with an MSP, you want to ensure they can provide you with the services that best meet your business needs. If you can get all your services in one location, it makes it easier to manage your IT infrastructure. Ensure that they can provide you with all the services you need, from maintaining and supporting your cloud infrastructure, to mainframe services, disaster recovery and Managed IT consulting services.
- Do they have long-term IT experts on staff?
All MSPs have IT staff, but many of them have high turnover. Choosing an MSP with a wealth of long-term in-house talent with decades of experience guarantees businesses a continuity of service. Long-term employees also have a vested interest in ensuring customer satisfaction. As they get to know your business, they are more likely to make recommendations that can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month.
- Is their customer support user friendly?
When you have an issue that needs to be resolved, can you get a live body to help you resolve it quickly and efficiently? Your business operations depend on ensuring the MSP is available when you need them. They should have a 24/7/365 service desk to provide you with exceptional service in the event of an emergency, and they should have defined service level measurements designed to ensure your issues are resolved in a timely manner.
- Is the MSP the right size for your company, and is your company the right size for the MSP?
Will your company be one of hundreds or thousands of nameless customers, or will your MSP get to know your employees by name, as you get to know them? The level of service you receive may depend on this. The right sized MSP will ensure that every client from FP200 companies, to small and medium sized businesses, receive the same exceptional level of service. Making sure they are the right fit for your business will ensure you receive the highest level of service for your investment.
To find out more about how Cover-All Managed IT Services can help your business achieve its objectives, give us a call today at 1-833-COVER88, or visit our website at https://www.cover-all.ca/managed-hosting-services/