As businesses grow, so do their technology needs and SME’s can find it increasingly difficult to manage their IT infrastructure. Which is why many are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) for help.
A crucial ally for many companies, a good MSP can help you scale your business, save time completing complicated tasks and create significant cost savings across the board. For example, the costs of running a support desk with multiple people can be significant, but with an IT support partner, you can take full advantage of your technology investments while simultaneously making more effective use of your in-house resources.
Choosing the right partner for your managed services needs is important and a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are 6 things we think you should be looking for when evaluating a Managed IT Services partner.
Service level agreements
To ensure you and your services partner are on the same page regarding requirements and deliverables, it’s essential to have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place. SLAs define how your IT support partner responds to your issues and requests. They should reflect the partners reliability and provide confidence in the support you will receive. Ensure these cover the the kind of services provided, agreed hours of cover and the priority of your issues or requests.
Scope of work
A detailed scope of work including what to expect should be reviewed to ensure this meets your business requirements. For example, you may have a critical server that requires proactive maintenance 24/7. If your agreement is based on business hours support only, you may want to look at adding an exception for this one server. Transparency is key here.
A good IT support partner should view your relationship as a partnership. How do they help your business achieve its goals? Good communication is vital.
You need to ensure you are getting value for money and good levels of service. Most good IT partners will provide regular service reviews annually or sometimes quarterly. These should be more than a discussion of just how the support is going. They should cover what value you are getting from the partnership and what challenges are facing the business and how the support partner can help.
As you both will be working together for the same results, it’s important that your managed service partner is proactively monitoring and anticipating potential problems. If the providers sole focus on what is running smoothly and not what could be at risk, then they aren’t being proactive when managing your infrastructure.
Of course, your partner should be solving problems as they occur, but it is worthwhile to anticipate any issues before or have solutions ready to tackle the problem. This way you can focus on your core competencies rather than worry about technical issues.
Incidents and crisis management
How does your current IT partner deal with an IT crisis? If your data centre was to experience downtime or your desktop services were to fail, would your IT partner be there immediately to get you up and running? Ensuring you have the right levels of support when you need it is essential. This regularly goes beyond contracts and is a cultural consideration.
Trust and security
Is your support partner being reviewed for how they handle their own security and data? For example, some businesses undergo a third-party audit and independent security testing. This ensures you know that the support partner is diligent enough to keep your records secure.
Another thing to consider is managers should approve all script changes, adding a layer of protection against human error, as part of an ITIL. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a set of detailed practices that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business as part of a managed process.
When it comes to finding a managed service provider, it pays to find a good fit. While each company requires different things, MSPs who deliver in these areas will generally perform well and help your business grow.
Need some help in your search for the right Managed IT Services partner? Bridgeall have been delivering responsive managed IT services and support to public and private sector clients across the UK for almost two decades. Take a look at some of the services we offer or get in touch to speak to our team of IT experts.