Choosing The Right Managed Service Provider For Your Business
IT outsourcing has been on the rise as businesses look to streamline their operations, lower costs, and reduce complexity. Today, over 34% of companies outsource some of their networking and IT operations, and almost half of them plan to spend more on outsourced security. Deploying managed IT services offers companies peace of mind and expertise.
But with the growing need for managed IT services comes a new challenge – finding the right managed service provider (MSP). With more companies relying on IT systems more than ever, you must have a competent service provider for your managed services. Here’s a step-by-step guide on choosing the right MSP.
Conduct an IT Audit of Your Business
Before you can contract the right managed IT services, first conduct an IT audit of your business. Take stock of your IT infrastructure and equipment, such as computers, networking systems, cybersecurity efforts, and software and cloud applications that your business uses. An IT audit will help determine the level, type, and depth of managed services you need.
Managed IT services are highly customizable and can be tailored to meet your unique business needs. A detailed IT audit will help the right service provider fill in the small or large gaps in your current IT management needs, expand your capabilities, stream your IT infrastructure management, and handle any complex projects that your business undertakes.
Assess Your Managed IT Service Needs
While the right managed service provider is best placed to advise you on how to make the best use of the services, it’s your responsibility as a business owner to determine what you need from their services. Managed IT services vary greatly between providers, so you should be clear on your needs. The right service provider should expand on your current expertise.
For instance, you may want to partner with a managed IT service provider who can deliver knowledge of cybersecurity and privacy compliance. You may also want a service provider that offers after-hour customer services that you don’t have the resources to provide. Think of your current and future needs and choose a provider that understands your needs moving forward.
Assess Managed IT Service Providers
The next step is to thoroughly assess different managed service providers to find one that best fits your business needs. As experts from a managed IT services Scottsdale provider note, there are critical areas you should focus on when assessing providers:
- Their scope of managed IT services and the specific services they provide
- Expertise in business cybersecurity – this is a core service or today’s businesses
- The tools, equipment, and solutions they use – opt for cutting-edge technology
- How long they take to set-up and run managed IT services
- Their online reviews and referrals from other satisfied businesses they work with
Be Ready to Provide Answers
Remember that as you assess providers, they’ll also want to know about your business. What systems and structures do you have in place? What do you want to be improved? Where are you most at risk? Where do you have inefficiencies in your IT infrastructure? Are your systems updated? How do you handle and store your data? Are your business applications connected?
Having the right answers to these questions will get you started when assessing the right provider for your managed IT service needs. If you’re not sure about where to start, most MSPs offer an IT auditing service that helps you take stock of your current infrastructure, identify risks and opportunities, and give you a way forward.
Experience and Expertise in Your Industry
This is a critical step when choosing a managed IT service provider. Examine their past and current clients in similar industries as your business. This will help you gauge their capabilities and experience in offering services. The ideal provider should have past projects and clients on their website that you can contact with ease.
What level of expertise in managed IT service applications do they have? What type of partnered solutions do they provide? What certifications and qualifications do their personnel have? What is their technical support capability? How do they communicate when it comes to changes, updates, and problems? Don’t hesitate to ask questions about their experience.
From the information you gather, you can start to understand if their service provider’s level of experience and expertise is right for your business. Some managed IT service providers specialize in the healthcare industry, others in retail, and others in multiple industries. Choose a provider with extensive experience and industry expertise for your business.
Make sure to compare service levels and prices from different providers before making a final decision. Once you’ve weighed your options and decided which managed IT service provider is right for your business, it’s time to sign a service level agreement. Read the fine print and raise concerns before signing.