Small-to-midsize businesses used to be able to store their IT “infrastructure” in a closet. Maintenance was minimal, and network security was simple. IT was handled by the office's most tech-savvy employee, whose responsibility was to tell employees to reboot their computers when things went wrong. We no longer live in that scenario. Increasingly complex networks and cloud-based infrastructure have become the norm.
In today’s business world, many business owners recognize that designing, deploying and maintaining secure, compliant networks that can support modern business applications cannot be done in-house. IT staff in many organizations recognize that they need outside assistance with day-to-day tasks so they can concentrate on strategic initiatives.
IT Managed Services: What Is It?
Despite the complexity of today’s networks and a lack of in-house resources, many companies use managed IT services to manage and secure their networks. Managing and monitoring your network remotely is possible with the skills, certifications, staffing and advanced tools provided by managed IT providers. Additionally, they can optimize service delivery through close relationships with IT vendors.
Choosing the right managed IT provider is the first step. So, if you’re wondering what to look for in a good managed services provider, here are ten things you should look for:
1. Technical Expertise
Selecting a managed services provider should be based on technical expertise. If the provider lacks the skills to do the work, it doesn’t matter how cheap or responsive they are. Your business should work with a provider who understands the technologies it uses, has partnerships with leading vendors and maintains product certifications.
2. Budget Predictability
The project should be protected from cost discussion (and hidden costs) by transparent and predictable pricing agreements. Look for vendors who are willing to provide unlimited concurrent software licensing, which will allow you to scale users, volumes and matters without incurring additional fees. For instance, consider service providers who charge separate fees for analytics and users.
3. Right Industry, Right Size
In a law firm with 25 employees, a managed IT solution will be different than in a manufacturing company with 2,550 employees and five satellite offices worldwide. Ideally, you’ll find a managed IT company that has served organizations in your industry of similar size. If not, find a provider with experience addressing similar challenges and addressing similar concerns.
4. Customized Solutions
Even a provider specializing in your industry cannot offer a one-size-fits-all managed IT solution. Your managed IT provider should be able to adapt their solution to meet your specific needs. Look elsewhere if a managed IT provider’s solution requires you to change the way you operate.
5. High Availability
Does your facility go dark at 5 p.m.? Probably not, so the managed services provider can’t turn off their lights. Ensure you have 24/7 support — not just on-call support. As required by the problem or according to your preferences, your managed services provider should be able to provide you with on-site or remote support.
6. A Good Reputation
Choose a managed service provider with a good reputation that has been around for a long time. Consult references and speak with some of the business’s existing clients to determine whether the services were delivered as promised, whether contract commitments were met and whether the business was easy to work with. Providers should be able to work closely with organizations to plan discovery strategically, and their personnel should be proficient in multiple phases of e-discovery.
A good provider should offer the latest e-discovery technologies, such as technology-assisted review (TAR) and advanced analytics, to limit review time and costs in large matters. Clients often find that providers who have built their own e-discovery review platforms are more responsive to their development needs.
8. Compliance-Driven Organization
In recent years, regulatory compliance requirements have become more complex and numerous. Complying with regulations has become a day-to-day responsibility rather than just an annual audit. You should be able to see how the managed IT provider monitors your IT environment from a compliance perspective and addresses potential problems proactively. Additionally, you should be able to obtain documentation supporting the compliance of the managed IT provider.
9. Favorable SLAs
In general, service-level agreements (SLAs) favor the provider, as they are written primarily for their benefit. Managed IT service providers should not do this. Don’t let SLA terms restrict your ability to offer services, define roles and responsibilities, manage performance, escalate processes or even terminate the relationship.
10. Vendor-Customer Relationship, Not Partnership
Managed IT providers who care about your organization’s success will show genuine interest in it. You should be able to communicate with them about your challenges and goals, and they should be able to tailor the product accordingly. You should be able to reach them whenever you need them. If you’re viewed as a strategic partner rather than a customer, this will happen. Making a decision about your managed IT provider should not be based solely on marketing claims and price tags. Your organization can benefit from the right provider, but you can lose out if you choose the wrong one.
Take a moment to consider the qualities mentioned above. Make sure you do your homework. Your organization needs a managed IT provider that fits its needs. You will undoubtedly benefit from this approach in the long run.
Boost Your Business’s Performance With Managed IT Services
It doesn’t have to be difficult to take your business to the next level. An outsourced managed services provider helps you maximize your business resources. Providing comprehensive technology solutions is what US Resources does. Located in Virginia, US Resources is a nationally recognized provider of managed services. We provide remote and onsite IT support, management and monitoring to small to medium-sized businesses.
If you're wondering 'How can a good managed services provider help me?' -- let us explain! Business owners depend on us for reliable and professional IT services. IT nightmares can be solved once and for all by our team of talented IT professionals. Whether you need cloud services or data backup, we can provide you with what you need without going over your budget. If you’re interested in exploring why fixed fee works, check out our free eBook here.
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