Technology is continually changing, and keeping up with the updates to your crucial infrastructure and software can feel like an overwhelming task. Many organizations begin to look for an IT managed services provider as they start to scale, but how can you know who to trust? You’re placing your mission-critical systems and devices in the hands of a technology partner. Here are some key questions that you should ask any new IT services provider to determine if they will offer you the impressive level of service that your business deserves.
1. Your IT Services Provider Should Listen
While there are similarities between businesses in the same vertical, no company is exactly the same as any others. Your IT managed services professional should take the time to listen to your concerns instead of immediately offering cookie-cutter responses to the problem that they assume you have in your organization. A true partner will listen to your needs and then slot in their proficiencies to make your organization stronger and more resilient.
2. Have Availability That Meets Your Business Needs
Are all of your problems going to occur during working hours? Probably not — and your IT managed services provider (MSP) should have qualified resources available around the clock so your customers and staff aren’t left waiting in the event of a service outage. Carefully read through any offering contracts or service agreements to be sure that the response times meet the needs of your business before you make your final vendor selection.
3. Provide Recommendations for Key Strategies
Whether that means budgeting or disaster recovery planning, a true technology partner will always be on the lookout for ways that they could save you money or help improve the efficiency of your business. This could come during the budgeting cycle, when they let you know that some of your hardware could be replaced in the coming year. Another time that your IT managed services partner should help your business is by leveraging their knowledge of various industries to share best practices in backup and disaster recovery.
4. Retain Security Experts on Staff
Cybersecurity is a constantly changing realm, and it would be very challenging for a single staff member to keep up-to-date with security advances as they’re made available. Keeping software patched and hardware updated is also a very time-consuming task, making these two ideal ways to leverage your managed services provider. You should be able to feel confident that your MSP is regularly running security tests and actively monitoring for hacks.
5. Proactively Update and Test Your Systems
The time when you could rely on reactive technology management to maintain the security of your systems and data is gone. Instead of waiting for something to break, your services provider should be actively seeking upcoming updates and creating a schedule for an application that is consistent with the needs of your business. This will help your business stay on the right track for reliable growth in the future.
6. Help Appropriately Scale Your Business Infrastructure
Making a single wrong decision early in a technology build-out can have disastrous consequences down the line. Your IT managed services provider should have the experience with businesses similar to yours that allows them to peek into the future and curtail any decisions that might cause your business to be less flexible or scalable in the future. While customizations are nearly inevitable when it comes to technology, a truly remarkable services provider will look for and recommend tools that are an exceptional fit for your business first — before they recommend expensive platform changes.
Finding the best IT managed services provider requires time and trust on both sides, but everything starts with open dialog. Your team must be able to detail your current needs as well as how your business is expected to scale in the future as well as a rough timeline. Your IT services provider should be able to tease these details from your project team so you have a shared understanding of how to move forward in lockstep. From a deep understanding of cybersecurity to a willingness to listen to your needs: an awesome IT managed services provider is not a mythical creature!