What to look for in a managed services provider

What to look for in a managed services provider

Chances are you're like a growing number of business owners who have decided to hand over their IT management to a managed services provider (MSP) because you were tired of dealing with technology troubles on a daily basis.

Outsourcing many of your IT-related responsibilities to an MSP will allow you to concentrate on other important aspects of your business. But before you make the decision, you must carefully evaluate your potential provider to make sure they have the following qualities.

24/7 availability
This is perhaps the most important aspect when selecting an MSP. You’ll want to partner with one that offers a round-the-clock help desk team to ensure that you and your staff’s IT needs are always met and support requests are addressed promptly, regardless of whether it’s a weekend, holiday, or 2:45 am.

Expertise in disaster recovery
The value of an IT provider isn’t truly tested until you have to restore your backups after unexpected events like floods, fires, or hardware failures. Should a disaster occur, you need a partner who has helped you create a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan that covers everything you need to get your business back on its feet.

Commitment to documentation
Your business is going to encounter unique problems for which there’s not always a textbook “fix,” so it’s essential that your managed services provider can document them as they crop up. An MSP that has a good documentation strategy in place can look back at the logs to observe problems your business has faced before, and develop a plan to prevent them from becoming a recurring issue.

Vendor management
A legitimate MSP is one that will be able to work with other technology partners. So you should seek out an MSP that has experience working with other vendors and can secure discounts on bulk purchases, negotiate on your behalf, and make sure you get contract terms that are in your best interests.

Business advisory
Most MSPs will assign you a personal account manager who will sit down with you and create a technology roadmap that outlines your business’s current and future IT needs. He or she will serve as your point person for all things technology, making sure you are aware of the latest applications, compliance updates, and cyberattacks to watch out for.

Proactive monitoring
Ideally, your MSP will have the technology, expertise, and manpower to proactively monitor your business networks and data. They should have a way of seeing the status of all your systems and the alerts they are generating. In addition, there should be personnel specifically looking over these dashboards and responding to service tickets.

A team player
Unfortunately, many IT providers have a bad rap for lacking in people skills. It’s up to you to gauge whether your potential partner is as good at working with your staff as they are at solving technical problems.

MSPs give you access to top-shelf equipment and IT professionals. Plus, you’ll have to pay only a nominal monthly fee for all the services your company needs. Download this eBook to find out what the right MSP can do for your business, and whether or not you’re ready to partner with one.