Managed services providers (MSPs) help business owners with little time or IT expertise to keep their networks up and running. They have become a popular choice for business owners who need end-to-end support for their IT needs in recent years. This article will share some criteria that you can use when evaluating a managed service provider.
Service Level Agreements
You should ensure that the managed service provider has an SLA with your organization. A service level agreement (SLA) is an agreement between an organization and an outside vendor or partner that outlines what each party will do to ensure high-quality service delivery.
SLAs should be written clearly so that both parties know what they’re getting into when entering into a relationship. Still, they also serve as a benchmark for measuring performance after delivery has been completed. This will ensure that they clearly understand what you expect and how they will meet those expectations. In addition, an SLA can help you avoid disputes and even lawsuits if something goes wrong.
It’s not enough to fix problems when they arise. Good, IT support companies will also have a system of proactive maintenance to prevent problems that could pop up in the future. This includes regularly scheduled updates and maintenance based on the typical lifespan of your equipment and software. It also includes plans for replacing outdated or broken systems before they become a problem.
A proactive managed services provider will apply patches and updates when released to fix issues before they happen on your systems. They won’t wait until there is an issue with the device or the network before they apply those fixes. Instead, they will watch for the release of new security patches or enhancements and apply them to your systems before you even realize that there was an issue. So don’t forget to look out for this when evaluating a managed service provider for your company.
A Stable Network with Redundant Components
A well managed service provider will have a secure network with redundant components if one piece fails or needs maintenance down the road, such as patching or upgrades to software or hardware components. Having a reliable network is crucial for any business that relies heavily on technology, especially on uptime for revenue generation, such as call centers and e-commerce sites that sell products or services online through their websites and mobile app.
Remote Monitoring and Management Systems
Remote monitoring and management (RMM) systems allow the managed services provider (MSP) to maintain your network and proactively reduce time spent on support. Most RMM tools are agent-based, meaning a piece of software is installed on each server or workstation that allows the MSP to monitor its status and perform tasks at will. Essentially, it acts as an agent of the MSP, helping them provide the best managed IT support possible.
You need a remote monitoring and management system to manage your network from anywhere at any time remotely. This gives you full control over your network, which means better security and fewer problems with your network infrastructure overall.
Backup and Recovery
A good managed services provider will be able to provide you with a solution for backing up your data and recovering from a disaster. The best providers offer redundant backup systems, remote storage options, and disaster recovery plans for when things go wrong. Ask how often backups are performed, how long they’re retained, and where they’re stored. You’ll also want to know what sort of disaster recovery plans are in place if a server goes down or an emergency disrupts operations at your building.
Data Protection Policies
A provider’s data protection policies should include a commitment to maintaining one or more physical copies of data at offsite locations and daily backups that allow for near real-time recovery in the event of an outage or disaster. The company should also provide access to backup media through secure means so that you can restore data if necessary without having to rely on the provider for assistance or additional fees.
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of a good employee support system. After all, it can be hard to identify and measure an MSP’s performance in this category. An MSP that prioritizes employee support can better attract and retain quality employees, which means they’re more likely to provide quality service and support for your business. This is one of those things that you’ll need to keep in mind as you go through evaluating a managed service provider.
As with most industries, finding the best-managed services provider for your company can be a challenge. But as you can see from the criteria provided, it’s just a matter of evaluating the most important features of your company. And once you’ve done that, it should be relatively easy to find a great MSP to partner with and save yourself some time, energy, and money.