A managed services provider (MSP) is a partner that provides for all of your IT needs, from security to disaster recovery and everyday support.
Working with a managed service partner provides your business with numerous benefits, such as cost savings and access to dependable technical resources.
However, many business owners wonder how to choose a managed services provider who can deliver service that meets all of their needs. You will have to carefully define the scope of services you need, something that a managed services provider can help you with during consultation.
Availability, expertise with the specific systems and solutions your business needs, and other managed services vendor selection criteria are all vital to find a good fit .
In this article, we will examine some of the criteria that you should focus on when selecting a managed services partner. There are important questions to ask IT MSPs in each of these areas that can have a lasting impact on your relationship.
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A Closer Look at Managed Services Vendor Selection Criteria
IT Support Availability
Availability is one of the most important points to consider when choosing a managed services provider. You can’t plan when you’ll experience IT issues, so you need a team that is there whenever you need on-call support and rapid resolutions .
All businesses rely on a wide range of network infrastructure, systems, and applications to manage their day-to-day operations. When something serious happens, such as a network outage, it’s critical to get it back up and running as soon as possible.
That’s why selecting a managed services provider that offers 24/7 technical support is important. Not only does it ensure you receive rapid support, it also helps to improve productivity.
Having access to round-the-clock IT support enables you to resolve minor issues faster, allowing your internal IT staff to focus on what they do best instead of technical troubleshooting.
Additionally, if your business requires help desk services to improve customer service , 24/7 availability is vital because you don’t set your customers’ schedules.
Response Times and Resolution Rates
You should always be sure to include response times and resolution rates in your MSP qualifying questions . These are two criteria that will have a major impact on the effectiveness of the services your business will receive.
IT response times measure how long it takes support to resolve any given issue. This includes the initial call itself, how long it takes to route the ticket to the right person, and the time it takes them to solve the problem.
A good MSP will have consistent and quick response times included as part of their Service Level Agreement (SLA). Resolution rates for different tiers of support are essential as well. Ideally, you want your MSP to resolve most issues on the first call or contact.
When asking technical questions to qualifying MSPs about their resolution rates, be sure to inquire about Tier 1, 2, and 3 support and how they address issues as quickly as possible.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Getting information about disaster recovery and business continuity are some of the most important questions to ask during MSP discovery . Your business likely has plenty of customer, vendor, and operational data that you can’t replace if you lose it.
Disaster recovery from your MSP helps ensure that physical hardware failure, cyberattacks, and other issues don’t lead to the permanent loss of important data. Business continuity services can provide further support for your systems and applications to prevent them from going down.
How to Choose Managed Security Services
Cybersecurity is one of the primary, if not the most significant, criteria when deciding how to choose a managed services provider .
Keeping up with industry standards for security can protect your business from the legal and reputational damage of a data breach.
Small businesses often believe that their size makes them undesirable targets for cyber attackers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Research by Verizon shows that 46% of breaches affect businesses with less than 1,000 employees, showing that businesses of any size need reliable network and data security.
You should carefully consider how to choose managed security services . The right MSP can provide ongoing monitoring, anti-virus software, and other important aspects of cybersecurity.
Audits and Proactive Support
Managed IT services aren’t just about support when something goes wrong but also ensuring that things don’t go wrong in the first place.
A good MSP will give you access to experienced system analysts. These IT experts provide regular audits that evaluate the current standing of your hardware, software, applications, network, and cloud services to evaluate operational and security risks.
Cloud solutions have quickly become one of the most useful resources for businesses of all sizes. According to research from DigitalOcean , 35% of traditional small businesses are now cloud-native, relying on cloud services for their primary systems and applications.
Some of the important questions to ask an MSP should focus on cloud services. Having access to cloud resources, whether for remote access, data storage, or cloud-native applications, can greatly improve your company’s productivity and improve its bottom line .
Cloud services can be a tremendous resource, but they can also be difficult to implement with your existing workflows and systems. The right MSP can help you through this process with migration assistance and ensuring that all the required cloud security features are in place.
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Still Wondering How to Choose a Managed Services Provider? We Can Help
When selecting a managed services provider for your business, you should evaluate all of the criteria discussed here. Making the right choice can ensure continued productivity and security from your IT solutions for years to come.
With the right provider in your corner, you’ll also gain access to a trusted technology partner who can step in and assist you whenever technical issues arise.
XL.net is a Chicago-based managed service provider (MSP) that covers all of these criteria and more. Your business will receive ongoing proactive support from an experienced technical team.
Our monthly audit and alignment process can reduce your IT issues by 79.8%, while our complete suite of services can provide your business with a foundation to thrive and grow.
Contact our team today for a free consultation to discuss your needs and learn how our managed IT services can help you meet them.