Tips on Hiring an IT Services Provider
A Managed Services Provider (MSP) is typically an IT provider that manages a range of network, application and system support services for its customers. Their approach is usually proactive or under a subscription model, rather than reactive. In other words, they don’t wait for something to break before they step in. Instead, they work to continually maintain and improve IT and associated systems and maximise business continuity and productivity, all while keeping costs down.
With an MSP in place, you will have more time to get on with the business of running your business because you can spend less time worrying about keeping their IT systems up-to-date and operating at maximum performance.
So how do you hire a MSP?
Ask for a Recommendation
Talk to other business owners that you know have an MSP in place and ask them for a recommendation. If their
MSP is doing a good job for them, chances are, that same MSP will do a good job for you too.
Don't just take the IT providers word for it
It’s easy for someone to tell you they can do a good job. But can they really? When hiring an MSP, check
their references. If possible, find companies similar to yours, or companies with the same systems or requirements, and seek their honest
opinion on how the MSP performs for them.
Look beyond the sales rep
You might establish a great connection with the MSP’s sale representative or account manager but, remember,
this is not the person who’ll be delivering the services. Look beyond this person and into the business. Do those people really have the
capabilities to do what you’re asking? Are they the right fit for your business?
Recruit with rigor
Recruit as you would if you were hiring a new employee. Treat the search the same. Carefully assess the MSP on their capabilities and experience. Develop a shortlist of favourites. Take the time to meet with and interview representatives from each company. Talk to other companies they’re already working for. Consider the cost and the best fit for your business.
Consider the 5 questions listed below.
1. Can you work with me to meet my unique needs?
MSP's should customise their solutions according to the requirements of your company. The MSP should answer three fundamental questions:
- What is my business problem?
- How will you address it?
- Why are you the best provider to resolve it?
2. What security measures do you have in place?
Your MSP should insist on remotely monitoring your network 24/7/365 to keep critical security settings virus definitions and patches up to date to prevent problems before they start. A conscientious MSP knows that the security of their customers’ data is paramount.
3. What kind of redundancy should I expect?
Even the most robust platforms fail once in a while, and a backup solution may be worthwhile. Talk with the provider to see what maintenance services are included in your package. Equally, important; see what is not included to avoid any billing issues later.
4. What kind of reporting and communication do you provide?
Your MSP should provide you with monthly status reports and quarterly business reviews. It should be able to establish a chain of communication, so you can get support immediately.
5. What kind of support do you provide?
Before contracting with an MSP, it is important to know the level of support provided.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Are there formal escalation and ticketing procedures?
- Do they answer their phones live and have emergency after hours support?
- Do they monitor the services on your behalf?
When choosing an MSP, doing your homework can really pay off. A reputable service provider will be happy to answer these, and any other questions you may have.
We successfully support many businesses across Australia of varying sizes and industries. If you'd like to talk to us about how we can help you support the success of your business then please call us on 1300 478 738 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience
having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT
Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.