Comparing managed service providers (MSPs) isn’t always easy—especially if IT isn’t your forte. Without an advanced technical background, how can you determine which vendor offers the best value? How do you know they’ll be able to cover all of your company’s unique needs? As an office manager, these are questions you’ll likely ask as you compare managed service providers .
The good news is, even without a background in IT networks, you can still adequately assess a MSP’s worth. Most importantly, you need to know there are several services you should expect as a standard offering. To help you qualify your partnership with a quality provider, here are 7 services you should expect to receive from them:
1. Network Monitoring
An issue with security, software, servers or email can not only affect your company’s reputation with you clients, it can also cost big bucks from hours lost to downtime. Managed services providers should offer 24/7 network monitoring to ensure any problems that arise within your system are immediately addressed and resolved. Network monitoring is a necessary safeguard to reduce the risk of downtime and security breaches by identifying issues before they become larger problems.
2. 24/7 Customer Support
Many network issues are completely unpredictable, but a great managed services provider is prepared to handle anything at any time. That means providing support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If your managed services provider can’t promise you that, move on—there are many others who will.
3. Cloud Computing
Switching to cloud computing can help your company save money on technology, and enhance productivity and efficiency. If your managed services provider doesn’t offer this service, the company is behind the times. Your managed services provider should be able to host your applications or servers in a secure, off-site data center, and allow you access to your data and desktop functions any time, from any location with an internet connection.
4. cybersecurity basics
Hacks and security breaches can happen to anyone, but working with a managed services provider who offers quality security and virus protection will greatly reduce the risk. At the very least, your provider should install web security software for all users (antivirus), network security, malware protection and secure configurations .
5. Strategic Planning
Don’t settle for a managed services provider that doesn’t have a clear plan for your company’s future. Your managed services provider should inherently monitor trends and, as a standard of practice, always update your network where needed. At the least, your provider should address update concerns with you and provide you with monthly reports. The solutions they equip your business with today should also be adaptable to collaborate with future improvements and innovations. A good team will possess the foresight and experience to help you strategize for your company’s future.
6. Competitive Pricing
As the old cliché goes, you get what you pay for. However, while this is certainly true in the case of managed IT providers, it doesn’t necessarily mean the provider with the highest prices offers the best quality service. Additionally, if a provider is promising rates well below the average it could be an indication its service quality isn’t worth your investment. Instead, look for competitive pricing and always ask why services are more or less expensive than a provider’s competitors. Keep in mind cost will depend on factors such as the size of your company as well as any add-ons or custom work.
7. Proven Track Record
Given the importance of digital connectivity, your choice of managed services provider is critical to your company’s success. Be sure to do your homework and make sure the provider has a proven record of client satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Research each provider online, and read customer reviews. Trust your gut. If you think a provider is bad business and if it don’t offer the above services, move on to a reputable managed services provider that does.