Having a full time IT support department is a huge expense for an SME. Yet, small businesses heavily depend on IT for their operations.
So what happens if you can’t afford a full time IT support?
You look for a top managed service provider.
A lagging website, extended downtime or lack of a particular IT resource could force clients to take their business elsewhere. Hence, it is essential to have a reliable company handling your IT support to avoid such instances.
Nonetheless, a bit of due diligence is required when selecting a suitable IT management services provider; to ensure you get the best fit for your needs.
If you are looking to procure IT management services, here are the main factors to consider in a potential company.
Start By Assessing Yourself
Before commencing the search for a suitable IT service provider, it is advisable to first asses your current IT situation; and determines what is lacking or needs upgrading.
Every industry has a set of IT requirements that differ with other sectors. For instance, law firms require secure database solutions more than they require artificial intelligence solutions. Hence, knowing what you need for your organization is essential to deciding on a suitable IT solutions company.
Make sure to document the number and type of computer/servers you use; any industry-specific software packages/ applications you utilize; whether you require remote access to your network and databases or do you prefer on-site access only.
A well-detailed list makes it easier to determine the minimum requirements an MSP should meet before you consider them.
What Collection Of Services Do They Provide
A critical factor in selecting a suitable IT management service provider is their ability to provide all the services and infrastructure support you require; under one roof. It would be pointless, to acquire database solutions from one company and acquire cloud computing solutions from another company.
Hence, when looking for a suitable MSP, make sure you look at companies that are offering all the solutions you need under one package.
Additionally, you want to look for additional services you may require in the future. As your business continues to grow, you will eventually need other IT services such as cyber-security. This may apply if your company handles online payments or stores sensitive information on servers.
Hence, when choosing an IT service provider, make sure you check for all the services you currently require, as well as the services you may need in the future.
A simple checklist could include:
- 24/7 remote support
- 24/7 remote website, database and network monitoring
- Hardware and software installation
- Periodical hardware and software maintenance and upgrade
- Data backup and recovery
- Cloud base solutions for remote access
- Remote and onsite diagnostics and troubleshooting
- Live cybersecurity monitoring for unauthorized access to your data network or systems
Screen Potential Managed Service Providers Based On Expertise And Reputation
When looking for an IT services provider, start by consulting other businesses in your area. Call as many firms as you can. Inquire about the IT services vendor they utilize as well as their reliability. If a company gets recommended more than twice; shortlist them as a potential candidate.
When reaching out to the potential companies, make a point of inquiring about all the service you require now and in the future. It is also beneficial to ask if they have worked with a business similar to yours. For instance, if they have worked with other, law firms, accounting firms, etc.
If so, ask them to provide you with the contacts of those companies as their referrals. Make a point of calling each reference and ask about the service provided by the referring companies. Key questions to ask include:
- How effective their solutions are for the businesses industry standards?
- How well and how often do they communicate with clients in terms of providing reports?
- What is their response time to various emergencies such as downtime, data breaches, etc
- How do they perform on multiple aspects of service such as periodical hardware and software maintenance and upgrades?
- How often do they conduct on-site checks to ensure everything is smooth?
- Do you have a designated technician on call?
- How good are they at consulting with the clients on their needs?
Again, make sure to shortlist your potential candidates based on the type of feedback you get from the referees.
Evaluating The Price Model Of Each Company
Now that you have a few remaining candidates, it is time to have a look at the costs. In a bid to provide price ranges for their customers, managed service providers offer payment models based on the services a client wants.
There are four types of price models, and they are as follows:
This model stipulates getting charged a flat fee for every device that gets monitored. The devices may include desktops, laptops or mobile devices. The advantage of this model is that a business can scale up and down the number of devices they want monitoring.
However, the pricing can get exceedingly high if the number of devices rises.
Per User Pricing
Per-user pricing is similar to the per-device model. Here a fixed rate gets charged per user irrespective of the number of devices in use. This model is suitable for businesses with high device utilization.
Tiered pricing involves providing a set number of services in a package. The packages can be tiered as basic, standard and premium where the basic is the cheapest but has the least amount of services provided. The premium package on the hand will have the most services offered but for a premium price.
The advantage of this model is that a customer gets to choose a package that provides the services they want. Unfortunately, depending on the scale of your business, there may not be a package inclusive of all the services you need.
This model is an all-inclusive package of every service available. It is an excellent option for businesses that need many services.
One advantage of this style of pricing is that it has value for money. However, if you do not need all the services provided, you are paying extra for unnecessary service.
Hence, when looking at the pricing models of an MSP, it is best to choose a company that offers a personalized pricing model. This allows you to choose the individual services you want and pay the appropriate amount for them.
Finally On Choosing A Suitable Top Managed Services Provider
Before signing the Service Level Agreement, there are a few extra checks to make to ensure you are dealing with a top managed service provider. These checks include insurance and warranties to guarantee you get compensated, should anything go wrong with the MSP.
Additionally, ensure the Service Level Agreement includes the details of your procured services. The details include:
- The duties of the MSP
- The terms of performance and termination of the agreement
- The warranty and insurance details.
If you need professional IT management services for your business, get in touch with us. Let our dedicated team of technicians provide you with world class IT solutions.