What to look for in an IT Managed Services Provider

Managed IT services

IT Managed Service Providers

IT infrastructure is an important asset to any business. A managed services provider ensures smooth and efficient adaptation to your business landscape. However, if you’re struggling to manage your ever developing infrastructure, it may be time to consider some help. An IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a contractor that will be able to manage your network-based services, applications and hardware. In fact, if you’re looking for an MSP, you’re not the only one. It has been reported that in 2014, 11% of companies’ IT budgets will be spent on MSP’s. Choosing the right MSP for your business is an enormous decision though and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your MSP will act as an extension of your workforce and will be very involved in managing and maintaining your business, so consider who you use carefully.

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What to consider.

To help you find the right MSP for your business, we have put together a checklist of key items that you need to consider. Make sure you question your MSP about each of these before making any final decision:

  • Reputation and Experience – Find out whether they have a good reputation in the industry and ask to see testimonials from other clients that they work with. Also check how many years experience they have working within the industry.
  • Services – Make sure they provide everything you are looking for to help keep your IT infrastructure stable and adapting to the increasing pressures of your business. Every company is different though, each with various requirements and so it is important that they are able to adapt to your unique needs.
  • Security – It is critical that your systems stay safe from viruses and other attacks so find out how your MSP plans to tackle security issues.
  • Proactive Approach – Managing a system is not just about making sure it is running smoothly in the present, but making sure it runs smoothly in the future too. Find out whether your MSP takes a more proactive approach to work. This will help you in the long-term as it can mean systems are maintained to try and prevent issues occurring, rather than waiting for a problem to appear before fixing it.
  • Response Time – Whether you’re a large or small business, down-time costs you money. It’s therefore important to find out what your MSP’s response time is, to make sure you can get any issues fixed as soon as possible to reduce the effect on your business.
  • Price and Cost Savings – Although your decision should not be based solely on price, it is still something that you should consider. It’s also important to ask your MSP what cost savings they can provide you through managing your IT infrastructure.

Any reputable MSP should be happy to answer these questions, as well as any others that you may have.

Dealing with change

Technology is rapidly changing and so it is important for you to keep up-to-date. A managed services provider will help manage your IT infrastructure, but it will also adapt it so that it moves along with the constant change in technology. The key area we see big changes in are the way our systems are set up. The cloud is now having a huge effect on businesses, creating a much more flexible, reliable and effective system for businesses to work from. Any MSP that you work with should talk you through cloud computing, to see if this is something that would benefit your business in the long-term. Another area that should be considered when moving to an MSP is data. There are huge amounts of data being collected and stored by companies every day and so storage and security is now more important than ever. Make sure your MSP understands your data and can put a structured security and back-up strategy in place to manage and protect it effectively.