Think of the last business partner you selected for your company. Was it your accountant, attorney or financial advisor? Evaluating your IT consulting firm and even more specifically, your managed service provider is one of more important business decisions you'll make. The right managed service partner helps to build reliability and performance into your company’s IT environment – and takes problems and support costs out.
A study by SpiceWorks done in November 2017, shows the budget breakdown by company size which states smaller companies are more likely to shell out more for managed hosting, while larger companies are more likely to invest in managed cloud infrastructure in 2018. Here is the Managed Services budget portion breakdown for 2018: Managed hosting (12%), managed storage/backup (9%), managed hardware support and maintenance (9%), and managed security (9%). What does it all mean? Managed Services allow you to augment your existing IT staff and infrastructure by partnering with a dedicated IT firm to take care of your network, servers, computers, and all your technology needs. Choosing the right partner for your Managed Services needs is an important business driver. Here is a handy checklist of things to look for as you are evaluating a managed services provider:
You don’t work 24 hours a day, but your computer network needs to and so does your IT provider. When choosing any managed services offering, you must make sure your provider is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your business, clients, and employees depends on it.
Fast Service and Response Time
Not only does your provider need to be available all the time, they need to respond quickly to your needs and problems. Make sure that your IT provider doesn’t forward calls to a call center, but actually responds in a timely manner. Look for a guaranteed response time.
Annual IT Budget Planning
A good managed services provider will sit down with you and assist in your technology planning for the future. Oftentimes, they will act as a virtual CIO for your company so make sure your managed services provider is forward-thinking and looks out for your interests - just as a CIO should.
Disaster Recovery Planning
If your business is hit with a weather disaster, vandalism, or other outage, are you prepared? A good managed services provider will help you plan for the future, protect your data, and make sure your business can recover from a disruptive event.
Third-party Vendor Partnerships
An advantage of using a managed services provider is that they handle technology vendors for you, saving you time tracking down multiple vendors for service and support. When evaluating a provider, look at who they partner with and make sure they have expertise on the tools you use.
Local On-Site Maintenance and Support
Make sure you choose a vendor that is available for onsite support. Using a local provider is a huge benefit to making sure you have the best service.
Daily Backups and Cloud Services
Using a managed services provider is a great way to ensure your data stays safe and secure. Make sure your provider provides automatic and consistent backups, backed up on a remote server for safety.
Security Testing and Monitoring
A good managed services firm will help protect your network from cyber-criminals and hackers. Make sure that your plan includes regular security testing and monitoring for attacks.
If your employees are fighting with technology, they can’t get their jobs done. Make sure your IT managed services provider is available to provide fast answers to technology questions and use remote access to resolve issues quickly.
At a busy, growing company, often the temptation is to only fix technology when it is not working. A managed services partner will make sure you are pro-actively running the updates you need now to avoid problems later.
Select Your Managed Services Provider Carefully
Whether it is improving efficiency by saving time, saving money on problems before they occur, or avoiding costly disasters and repairs, a managed services provider can bring great value to your business and improve your bottom line. Finding a true partner to look out for your technology needs will help your business grow to the next level.