Enterprises see the value in outsourcing certain IT functions, such as cloud computing, infrastructure, and managed security; but choosing a managed services provider can be a daunting task. Choose the wrong provider, and you may be stuck lamenting problems like paying for services you don’t need or battling data backup problems or downtime.
The right provider is a technology partner that offers you customized, value-add services that reduce your costs and takes a proactive approach to prevent issues around downtime and business continuity. Before choosing a managed services provider, consider these five factors:
Guaranteed Response Times: You need to ask some clear questions about response times from a potential provider, such as how long it takes them to respond and how quickly they can resolve issues. You need to know what type of problem warrants onsite support, and explore the service level agreement to see what happens if agreed-upon expectations are not met.
Security: You need to ensure that your managed services provider is leveraging the latest security tools and techniques to protect your enterprise from malicious actors. They should not only protect customer data and systems, but also your proprietary company information. Look for services that include endpoint detection, web content filtering, domain name system (DNS) security, and mobile device management. If your enterprise is in an industry with heavy compliance regulations, determine whether they can support your needs. Overall, it’s important to partner with a managed services provider that supports a similar security philosophy to that of your organization.
Experience: Examine the previous and current customers of the provider you’re considering, as well as asking for reviews and testimonials. Request a list of references that have a technology stack similar to yours and are a similar-sized business. Choose a provider that has specific experience in your industry.
Service Availability: The right managed services provider will offer round-the-clock support and services. If you are shopping for a managed security provider, find out if the provider will offer IT monitoring on a shift basis that guarantees your systems will be closely guarded. This allows issues to be detected early and helps ensure that updates and patches are applied as quickly as possible. A provider should offer a variety of options for desk support, including email, chat, and voice for immediate responses.
Billing Predictability: One of the big advantages of outsourcing IT services is the predictability around costs. In any cloud investment, there can be hidden fees. In addition to the quote you receive, ask to see a current sample invoice to a customer so that you can identify any additional fees that aren’t being quoted. In addition, be sure to identify any services that you will be charged for that you don’t require for your business to run efficiently.
In closing, it’s also important that, when choosing a managed services provider, you identify a partner with a similar company culture that shares your principles around technology. To find the right fit, contact us at eXemplify.