Operational efficiency is at the core of all businesses, big or small. But not all businesses are equipped to maintain that efficiency. Small businesses may have limited IT resources meaning they quickly fall behind on updates and network management, placing the company’s system at risk of an outage or breach. For many, the solution is managed IT services.
However, there are several things to consider before handing over your IT to a MSP.
A successful IT infrastructure depends on the service you choose for your business. An expert IT service provider should be able to effectively audit your existing IT environment and recommend ways to consolidate, save and optimize performance. It is crucial to evaluate the services offered against the needs of your business.
Here is a checklist of service components you must expect from your managed IT service provider
Security is a key component of any IT service; it takes on an even more critical role when network monitoring and support services are considered. Your managed IT service provider should likely have a complete plan outlining security protocol. Intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, firewall settings, and encryption should form a part of the service package along with the details on how the services are carried out. Ideally, encryption should be at the file level.
2. Infrastructure Administration
Basic server maintenance, network administration, storage maintenance and typical network issues must form a part of all managed IT services. Ideally, a managed IT service should envelope everything you need to be performed on your network leaving you to focus on your business. It helps to create a requirement list of current IT service needs and align that with the managed IT services offered so as to ensure all aspects are covered.
3. On-premise, or Remote Helpdesk Support
Is the managed service provider local or will they be providing remote support? If your support service requirements are cloud-based, then remote support is fine, a Helpdesk style support is a standard practice among manage managed service providers. However, it is crucial to pay attention to the hours of support extended. A round-the-clock, 24/7 support is optimal as network failures can happen anytime. Many managed service providers do not extend a 24/7 support service, in which case covering business hours and some weekends should be a minimum. Support beyond business hours may be made available for an additional fee or be a part of a premium service contract.
4. Network Monitoring
Monitoring is critical with all of the network vulnerabilities that can interrupt your network. Many solutions allow managed providers to monitor every aspect of your network. Ensure your managed IT service provider covers remote users, mobile devices and virtual machines. Every aspect of your network should be covered including intrusion prevention and detection along with firewall configuration and monitoring.
5. Data Backup
Data backup is an essential component of managed IT services. If the service provider plans to have a cloud-based back-up solution, then find out how secure the cloud is. Additionally, consider asking is the backup is hosted on a private or a public cloud.
6.Disaster Recovery Plan
All managed IT service providers must extend a disaster recovery plan. A complete location-dependent disaster recovery plan is something that should be included in the details of an IT service contract. Having peace of mind in knowing if and when disaster strikes your business will continue moving forward is essential to any managed services contract.
7. Policy Establishment
As your business scales, policies related to your IT infrastructure will have to be updated. These policies may include security, data monitoring, bring your own device etc. Production and updates to policies should form a part of managed IT services either as a part of a package or an additional service.
It is imperative to take all these service components into consideration while choosing a managed IT service provider. Additionally, factor in these questions to ask the service provider of your choice:
Who is responsible if equipment is damaged during maintenance?
What type of damage is covered?
What is the expected level of performance?
How often is maintenance performed?
Who executes the maintenance, and how do they do it?
If you are assigned a dedicated technician by the service provider, how do you contact that person?
At CSG Technologies, we do not just offer off-the-shelf solutions to which you must align your needs, we align our solutions to your requirements by tailoring them to meet the specific needs of your business. Making them available all day, every day. Talk to one of our experts to find out more about our managed IT services today.