What You Need from a Managed IT Services Provider
A managed IT services provider can take responsibility for as few or as many of your technology needs as you want. It’s a busy market, so you have plenty of choice. These are some key points to consider in what you need from a Managed IT Services Provider.
Check What’s on Offer
The definition of a managed IT service provider has changed over the years and still varies between some businesses. Originally, it mainly covered hardware installation and maintenance, for example, setting up networks or physically mending PCs. Today, it usually covers most aspects of IT, including sourcing, installing, and updating software; providing tech support for software problems; and overseeing security and disaster recovery.
Some providers are tied to particular software developers or systems. This can be helpful if you use these tools, as the provider may have particular expertise or access to better deals. In other cases, you may prefer to use a managed service provider who isn’t tied to specific technologies, as this keeps your options open, particularly as your needs change.
Almost all managed IT service providers use some form of subscription pricing. However, not only do the costs vary, but so does the way they are applied. Common examples include a flat fee based on the general size of your business, a fee for each covered employee, or a fee for each covered device. Make sure you get good value while thinking about what happens if your company grows (or you have to downsize).
Make sure you understand the way the provider offers support, for example, whether it is by phone, in person, or over the internet. As well as knowing what times support is available, you need to check how quickly you can expect a response. You may want a provider who will offer a speedy response and fix for urgent problems, though you may need to define what events qualify.
Good providers will take your data security extremely seriously. Indeed, protecting that security is often part of their job. Don’t be afraid to ask about their procedures for vetting their employees and any physical or technical measures they use to stop leaks or data misuse. It’s common to have a non-disclosure agreement that says they can’t reveal or pass on any information they encounter while providing your services.
Proactive Not Reactive
Look for providers who go beyond simply fixing problems as they arise. The best providers will find ways to improve your tech setup, reducing the chances of future problems. They’ll also have the experience and judgment to plan and adjust as your company grows and your needs change.
Many businesses and employees now use mobile devices for work, particularly since the pandemic. Make sure your managed services provider’s offerings take this into account, for example, with security and connectivity management. Good providers will have experience of how this works in the real world, particularly the sometimes murky topic of “bring your own device” where employees use the same device for business and personal work.
If you want to learn more about how a managed IT service provider can help your business, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.