Running a successful business today requires flawless business continuity, higher productivity, and 24/7 protection from potential cybersecurity risks by using the right technologies. But, the ever-evolving tech landscape often makes it a challenging task to build and maintain a productive and secure IT environment.
Sometimes, even your in-house IT team may have difficulties in addressing all your tech needs. That’s why you should consider hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP). With managed IT services, you will not only be able to get the most suitable hardware and software, but also save considerable money and time.
As the success of your business will depend on the IT company you choose, it is imperative to choose the right one. However, finding a good tech partner in a market that is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.6% from $178.5 billion in 2019 to $309.4 billion by 2025 globally, is easier said than done.
To jumpstart your search, you can use the following tips.
- Consider an MSP with the Same Industry Experience
Obviously, you will need to hire an experienced managed service provider. It is, however, best if you can find a company that has catered to different businesses in your industry. For example, if you run a financial services firm, consider hiring an MSP that has worked with chartered accountants, investment firms, and insurance and banking-related companies.
An MSP with relevant industry experience can quickly hit the ground running for your business as they can understand your tech needs better. They can also anticipate any pitfalls or potential problems well in advance. As a result, your tech transformation will be seamless and swift.
- Make Sure the MSP Is Available Round the Clock
Most businesses use IT technologies as they can work 24/7. In other words, your cloud-based applications, firewalls, servers, and overall IT network will continue to work round the clock. This means your business could face a tech-related emergency, be it hardware failure or a data breach, at virtually any time.
That’s why the MSP you choose should also be available 24 hours and seven days a week. Most importantly, they should respond to your requests quickly because the survival of your business depends on it. So, make sure to hire someone who is available round the clock and acts within the guaranteed response time.
- The MSP Should Offer Robust Cybersecurity and Network Monitoring
As your computer network is vulnerable to internal failures (both software and hardware) and external cybersecurity threats, your MSP needs to provide you with robust network monitoring and cybersecurity measures. With round the clock monitoring, your managed service provider will be able to detect any unusual activity on your network quickly and take appropriate action.
On the other hand, robust network security measures like two-factor authentication, latest firewall, antivirus, and antimalware, among other things, will help you reduce the risk of a potential data breach. Given that the global average total cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86 million, paying a little extra for automated and advanced network monitoring and cybersecurity makes perfect sense.
- Make Sure Your Needs and MSP’s IT Services Match
Although the MSP has similar industry experience, their IT services should match your business requirements. They should not only offer the managed IT services your business needs, but also deliver the expected level of performance, efficiency, and agility.
For example, if you are a healthcare-related business, your MSP will need to ensure HIPAA-compliant data storage, usage, decommissioning, and discarding. Can your MSP offer the IT services that match the level of performance required as per the said regulation? If not, you should consider hiring someone that does.
Remember, if there are any gaps between your expectations and the actual offerings, your business is more likely to suffer. If you still want to go ahead with the same MSP, at least make sure to address the inefficiencies before putting pen to paper.
- Ask for References
Another important factor you need to consider is the references. In this digital world, most MSPs will have a website, along with a presence on social media and local review sites. Make sure to check out the customer testimonial section on their website and the comments on their social media accounts and third-party review sites. It will help you understand what their existing and ex-customers have to say about their IT services.
You should also ask the managed service provider for references. Any professional MSP will be more than willing to share references with you. Talk to their clients to understand more about the potential MSPs work culture, performance standards, transparency, and technical skills. It will help you choose an IT company that is the best possible match to your expectations and work culture.
- Understand How Much You Will Be Paying
Although this shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision-making, you will still need to consider it. You should always work with an MSP that maintains complete pricing transparency. You shouldn’t have to pay any hidden charges, at any point, during your contract period.
The pay-as-you-go pricing model is one of the most common payment plans used by MSPs all over the globe. However, each managed service provider will have their own pay-as-you-go model. So, make sure to study their pricing structure carefully before signing the contract.
You should also check out the clauses and rules related to late payments, penalties, and insurance. A professional MSP will have a proper insurance policy in place. It helps protect you from any damages caused by the MSP’s technicians or workers.
Consider and compare the overall monthly or annual costs you will have to pay for the managed IT services from different vendors. You should make the final decision after a careful comparison of all these factors.
Choosing the right managed service provider will not only protect your business from cyber threats but also help you increase your productivity. As you may already know, however, finding a suitable tech partner is a daunting task. You can use these six tips to kickstart your search. Good luck!
If you need to know more about how an MSP can help your business thrive, feel free to connect with Mid-coast Tech on 207-223-7594 for more details.