Choosing a Managed IT Provider

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child, however in business it most certainly takes a full team to manage your company’s IT. Similar to your specialties, most people on the IT team aren’t jacks of all trades. Instead, each has his or her own specialties: One person might consider themselves a networking guru, while another is a master at cybersecurity.

Unfortunately, hiring a full internal team to manage all your company’s IT needs can get very expensive. You’ll have to pay a full salary for each employee — which isn’t exactly peanuts. While salaries depend on experience and location, according to Indeed.com, the going rate for a basic IT Support person averages around $52,000 a year!

Run those numbers through your calculator and you can see how you’ll easily wind up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for something that diverts focus from your core business competencies.

That’s exactly why so many small and medium businesses (SMBs) have turned to managed services providers (MSPs) for help.

MSPs have economy of scale working for them. By supporting multiple SMB companies simultaneously, it allows them to charge less for basic IT services while enabling them to offer a wide range of expertise. Of course, that assumes you’ve hired a good one. A bad MSP can result in poor communication, network outages, lack of follow-through, and general mistrust. And with your business technology at stake, a partnership with a bad vendor can really cost you.

Luckily, by asking a few simple questions, you can push past the sales pitch and get a better idea of your future with any MSP. Here’s what you should always ask a prospective provider before you sign a contract.

What is your up-time guarantee?

Did you know that every minute of downtime costs businesses an average of $5,600? Because of this, most MSPs include some sort of up-time guarantee in their services agreement. Generally, the standard is 99.9 percent, but really good MSPs may offer 99.999 percent or more, which is known in the industry as “five nines” or better.

How is IT support work provided by your company?

When faced with an IT emergency, you don’t want to be wondering if your vendor’s help desk will really have your back. Find out how IT support is managed: Do you outsource your support team members? Is support available 24×7? How do we contact you when we need something? Answering these questions gives you insight into the MSP’s response abilities.

How will you help us prepare for our future needs?

Anymore, your business needs change quickly, and the technology backing those needs changes even quicker. Your business needs an MSP that is flexible enough to take on additional projects and services as needs arise. They should also guide you as you consider new technologies.

What security services do you offer?

Breach Level Index estimates that nearly 15 billion data records have been stolen since 2013. Attacks are getting even more sophisticated with social engineering, fileless malware, ransomware, cryptomining, and many other emerging types of cybercrime. Your company needs an MSP that can offer you top-tier security services, such as monitoring, firewalls, email filtering, antimalware software, and more. Your MSP must also be able to explain their security practices and tell you how your company data is stored by any external vendors they use.

How will you reduce our IT costs?

When hiring an MSP to help cut IT spending, make sure they actually follow through on that promise. Can they automate parts of your workflow to save you labor hours? What kind of routine maintenance is included in your services agreement? Are there any additional fees not outlined in your SLA? Keep in mind that a cheap MSP may cost you money in downtime and miscommunication in the long run.

Why should we hire your company?

If a questions is good enough for an employee interview, it’s good enough for vetting a vendor. A prospective MSP should be able to explain what sets them apart from their competition. Whether it’s their industry expertise or their long-time experience, your MSP should qualities that make them stand out. At Secarus, our leadership and staff have a long record of providing great service using vendor partnerships which distinguishes us from most providers.

Want to learn more about what makes Secarus special? Contact us today to hear about our Managed IT Service Plans and get the kind of IT support your company deserves.