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11 Things to Look for in a Managed IT Services Provider

October 15th, 2021 by Brian Wakefield

A team specializing in managed services

Whether you're starting your venture with limited resources or your business is in the growth stage, this is when you must consider managed IT services. This is the time when you need the experienced and trained team at your disposal as you can't handle all your business IT operations on your own.

With a seasoned MSP (Managed Service Provider) by your side, you can focus on your core services while the IT expert can take care of your IT network management and monitoring services.

However, it is essential to understand that not all managed IT services providers are equal. Therefore, you must first do some legwork to narrow down your choices and select the best managed IT services provider. Here are eleven crucial things to look for when shortlisting your MSP options. Take a look:

  1. Technical Expertise

    Generally, your IT team is responsible for aligning technology and business IT environment with goals. Different levels of technical expertise are needed to ensure business continuity and agility, such as basic troubleshooting and advanced network administration.

    Therefore, a managed IT service provider that offers substantial technical expertise can be invaluable in ensuring smooth business growth, scalability, and continuity. Hence, the first thing you should factor in when narrowing down your options is evaluate and compare the technical expertise of the managed services providers.

    Remember that an expert MSP will quickly take our all the strenuous tasks of managing your IT infrastructure — allowing your team to focus on things that matter most to your business.

  2. Customer Support Availability

    Technical problems can occur at any time when least expected. Your business can't afford long hours of downtime, especially in today's overly aggressive and competitive landscape. Regardless of your business size, or industry, if your business network crashes unexpectedly, IT downtime can lead to a direct impact on your bottom line and business operations.

    Although the cost of IT downtime is variable depending on the industry, losses can be significantly higher per hour during peak business hours. According to Gartner, the average downtime cost is approximately $5,600 per minute. Moreover, at the low-end, business downtime can be $140,000 per hour, while on the higher end, it is as much as $540,000. That is huge! Also, the study reveals that 98 percent of the companies say that a single hour of business downtime cost is around $100,000.

    But that is not the only cost that business owners incur. Downtime also results in indirect costs. The interruption can lower business performance and result in missed deadlines. Besides this, it can negatively impact your business reputation and lower customer base due to unavailability.

    So, it is vital to have a trusted and reliable Managed IT Services Provider by your side who is readily available at your service when you need them the most.

    This means that always look for a service provider who is available round the clock. With an MSP accessible 24x7x365, you know your business never has to experience long hours of business downtime. A service provider that is available round the clock will have the resources to assign qualified IT specialists to watch over your IT systems at all times. Rest assured, you will have a trained team of IT professionals monitoring your systems — all much needed to identify, detect, and overcome potential issues before they result in business downtime.

  3. Offers Security Monitoring Service

    Services offered under the umbrella of Managed IT are variable. This depends on the expertise of the managed services provider. Therefore, when opting for a managed services provider, ensure that they provide you services that matter your business the most.

    Cyber security is a growing concern for businesses across industries. It is crucial to have an MSP that goes the extra mile and provides reliable security monitoring services in conformance with the latest cyber security guidelines and conformance with GDR.

    The provider should provide services that:

    • Support encrypted systems

    • Offer firewall protection

    • Tailor their support services to your business goals and needs to ensure full security coverage

    Regardless of your industry, your business is at risk of cybercrime. There are a variety of cyber threats with new ransomware strains that are being created while malicious actors continue to demand increased ransom from the victims and hacked organizations.

    Whether it is phishing, ransomware, malware, or user error, the truth of the matter is that the potential of serious breaches in the security of small-medium businesses is growing.

    To avoid being a victim of cybercrime and data breaches, it is crucial to have a service provider that can help manage and monitor your business, ensuring that it is well-protected from all possible cyber threats.

    And in case someone tries to attempt, the service provider can immediately identify the risk and take much-needed actions to keep risk at bay and minimize the potential damages.

    Studies show that many SMBs are underprepared to face modern-day cyber security challenges. Moreover, nearly 71 percent of these businesses may not handle when exposed to cybercrime.

    Besides this, most SMBs with in-house IT teams don't have the expertise, knowledge, or resources to mitigate risk. Not only that, 96 percent of IT decision-makers believe that their companies are susceptible to external cyber-attacks.

    Managed security services also indicate the extension of the capabilities of the MSP you choose. This means that if the MSP is ready to tailor design security services or offer stand-alone security monitoring as a service, it shows that they are experienced and knowledgeable and have what it takes to keep your system secured.

    In other words, when you have an experienced and expert managed IT service provider as a partner, you can focus on your core business areas while they take care of your security needs. Such as partner will assess your business landscape by doing the following:

    • Vulnerability scans — Scanning systems for security flaws

    • Penetration Testing — Exploit the flaws to be identified

    • Document the results and provide clients with the best and necessary solutions to create a secure organizational landscape.

  4. Strategic Management and Support

    When evaluating different managed IT services providers, another factor to weigh in is strategic management and support. Look for a partner that can offer you a full business assessment as standard by providing complete strategic planning and risk management. Such a partner will assess your business inside out to provide you with the best action plan to enhance and optimize your IT infrastructure.

    In addition to this, some managed services providers go to a great extent. Not only do they offer support and management services for your business today, but they may also offer technology planning for the future.

    They may assist you with annual IT budget planning while looking for ways to save money and improve efficiency on technology to help your company grow to the next level. This also shows that your MSP has a forward-thinking approach, and you can rely on them to look out for your business's best interests.

  5. Experienced

    It's said experience is second to none, and we couldn't agree more. Seek partnership with a company that is both well-reputed and experienced in managed IT services. This will give you the peace of mind that you are working with an expert who knows what they are doing and can provide you the level of monitoring, management, support, and assistance you need to keep your business up and running.

    An experienced MSP will work with you cohesively. They invest time understanding your pains and aspirations and identifying potential threats to put the best measures in place. Besides this, an experienced MSP has a diverse set of clients.

    This means they have profound knowledge in handling various types of situations. Hence, they can easily suggest the best MSP plan and services to maintain and ensure smooth day-to-day business operations.

  6. Scalability

    Scalability is yet another factor to consider. When selecting an, IT managed services provider, keep your business growth goals in mind. Prefer a service provider that has the capabilities to scale up their services as your business grows and transitions from a small business to a medium-sized business.

    This is an important factor because your business demands today may not be as critical as what you will have in a few months. Therefore, you need a partner that understands your ever-changing business needs. Reliable managed services providers are those that can offer scalable services. Such service providers can adapt to all technical needs of your business network and fulfill your requirements. Through this, you can ensure that your IT infrastructure will keep up with the growing demands of your business.

  7. Leverages advanced technologies and processes

    A great MSP keeps abreast of emerging techniques and technologies, enabling them to offer sophisticated solutions to help your business cut down on manual tasks.

    And you won't have to worry about decoding all the technical jargon — an MSP will make sure complex solutions are straightforward to understand.

    Due to this, your business not only gets to implement the latest tools and processes quickly, but you also won't have to spend a lot of money to acquire these.

    MSPs are the ideal partners for companies seeking to grow their business while saving on costs across the board.

  8. Transparency

    Not all IT managed services providers will be open and transparent about their processes and approaches. Nonetheless, knowing about:

    • How does your MSP partner approach different situations?

    • What tools, techniques, and processes does your MSP use and rely on to deliver you the best services?

    • How do they work?

    Being knowledgeable about all these things encourages accountability, openness, and transparency. All this is vital to ensure a long-term and trust-based partnership. It ensures better visibility along with streamlined collaboration.

  9. Proactive Service

    A reliable managed services provider makes IT management as smooth, seamless, and easy as it can be. Such a service provider doesn't react to problems as they occur. Instead, they do all they can to identify potential threats and take timely measures before they occur.

    For example, it is MSPs' responsibility to monitor and detect network bottlenecks before users experience network connectivity difficulties. Furthermore, if the systems slow down, the MSP must know how to restore to its previous pace swiftly.

    Put simply, to ensure smooth business operations, you must receive proactive support from your managed services provider. It eliminates technical problems from escalating and keeps your systems secure.

    A proactively managed service provider can help you make the most of the latest technologies and find new optimization, innovation, and improvement opportunities.

    A trusted managed service provider actively communicates with their business clients. They follow a proactive service approach and make sure to touch base regularly with their clients.

    This is a huge deciding factor because when an MSP goes the extra mile and celebrates a client's success and reassures them that they have everything in control, it demonstrates their commitment to their business.

    And that is something you must consider when you're looking for an IT MSP because the last thing you want is to experience a long downtime before your MSP can figure out a way to resume your operations.

  10. Ticketing Systems

    One of the most secure and organized ways to track website issues as they occur is to have a proper ticketing system. You must be able to view the helpdesk queue at any point, and your MSP must have the expertise and workflow to ensure that no helpdesk tickets are lost, neglected, or delayed. In other words, they should be resolved promptly.

    Most small managed services providers use simple software and basic tools to keep track of the customer service needs. However, this mostly limits their effectiveness and consequently leads to delays or forgotten responses. They may apologize to you for the delays instead of investing in the latest tools to maximize efficiency.

    Therefore, when narrowing down your options, don’t forget to find out how your MSP deals with tickets. Do they have a ticketing system? Can you submit a ticket? Do they automate workflow for prioritization and allow you to see tickets in progress? All this information is the key to determining if your shortlisted MSPs can be relied on for a fast response to your tickets without delays.

    Seek for an MSP partner that is ready to prioritize your business, implements integrated and best security functions to eliminate silos in an organization, and lowers the risk of security threats, leading to faster response times and keeping risks at bay.

  11. Daily Backups and Cloud Solutions

    Using an MSP is a great way to manage your IT. However, before you make your final selection, make sure that your managed services provider has the capabilities to provide you with consistent and automatic backups — backed up on a remote server for safety.

    This is a vital factor to consider because reliable and continuous access to cloud backup services ensures data protection, especially in today's time when businesses are constantly up against the threat of cybercrime.

    More importantly, business owners can quickly recover from disasters. Most cloud backup solutions provide advanced security features like disaster recovery to ensure smooth and continuous operations without any disruption and interruptions.

    Although cloud computing is not immune to disasters, it is the best method to keep its data protected presently.

In a nutshell, there are many IT managed services providers in the market, but not all are the same. It is, therefore, advisable to invest your time in doing the legwork. Do your due diligence and research the market to evaluate managed IT services providers based on your needs and requirements.

If you need to manage IT services right away, then look no further. Consider partnering with us. At BTS Technologies, we are experienced, trained, and have unmatched expertise in managed services. We are responsive and available at your service 24x7. We can provide you with tailored IT managed services as you need to help you ensure smooth business operations and scalability process without any disruption. Give us a chance to serve you.

Posted in: Managed IT

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