If you’re evaluating a managed service provider, make sure they offer the services and expertise you need as well as scalability to grow with your company.
The global managed services market size was worth $219.59 billion in 2020, and it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6% to $557.1 billion by 2028.
If you don’t have an existing IT department or need more help, the most popular solution has become to hire a managed services provider (MSP). An MSP is a third-party outsourcing company that can shoulder responsibility for your company’s IT services, such as infrastructure, network, security, and applications. It can reduce costs, boost service quality, and allow your staff members to focus on their core responsibilities. If you find the right MSP, you’ll have a partner you can depend on at a time when the threat landscape online isn’t for the faint of heart.
You might be wondering what to look for in a managed services provider. That’s an essential question, and to begin to find the right provider, you need the right answer. Continue reading to learn more about evaluating a managed service provider.
Effectively evaluating a managed service provider includes reviewing its security testing and monitoring regimen. Security protocols don’t remain static—they’re subject to change. There are also hackers who devote their time and effort to:
- Creating increasingly potent viruses
- Finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in software and infrastructure
- Attacking networks
An MSP worth hiring will have systems and processes to monitor your infrastructure and perform network tests to ensure everything functions as it should. Testing and monitoring around the clock will help protect your online assets from hackers.
Any MSP will understand the importance of backing up data. If there’s an incident where data is compromised, you’ll want to know that the third party you hired has things under control. One of the most important managed service provider best practices is to perform regular backups. Ask any MSP you’re considering about the frequency of backups. Backups should be conducted at least once a day. If a higher frequency is better, the MSP will advise you. But don’t sign a contract with an MSP that won’t do backups at least once daily. Whether it’s your corporate network or your cloud services, you must ensure your data is safe. Losing data can be disastrous, making regular backups vital.
Your business needs to hope for the best but plan for the worst. That’s why a disaster recovery plan is essential. If hackers, a natural disaster, a terrorism incident, or even a storm cripple your corporate network and cause unplanned downtime, you need a way to recover quickly. The alternative, something you’ll want to avoid, is:
- Data loss
- Slashed efficiency and productivity
- Reputational harm
- A hit to the corporate bottom line
You need an MSP that will work with you to develop a one-size-fits-one disaster recovery plan. The service provider should provide continuous availability so that you don’t suffer unplanned downtime. If there’s a problem, the MSP should either resolve the issue remotely or send a service person to get to the bottom of the matter. But don’t assume this is the case. Ask any MSP you’re considering about its disaster recovery planning strategy for your business.
Another way to choose a managed service provider is by asking about availability and response time. This is one reason it makes sense to work with a local MSP. If onsite assistance is required, a local MSP can quickly dispatch a team to visit your location, find the problem, and get the issue fixed. If you’re experiencing downtime, you need help sooner rather than later.
An MSP worth hiring will be proactive rather than reactive. Instead of waiting for something to break and then scrambling to fix it, a reputable service provider will seek to safeguard things so they don’t break. You don’t want to put a lot of faith in a third party that’s always playing catch up. Find a service provider that will take preventative measures to keep problems from materializing and jeopardizing your operations. Being proactive involves network monitoring, updates, patches, security, and regularly assessing technology needs for your company.
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Considering how to choose a management service provider also involves reflecting on scalability. In other words, you’ll want to know if the MSP you hire can meet your needs as your company grows. It must have sufficient staffing to meet your business’s evolving IT service requirements. Look for an MSP that can seamlessly scale to meet your needs.
Don’t overlook the importance of industry expertise when looking for an MSP. Businesses industry-specific pain points and challenges, so it’s necessary to find an MSP with experience working with companies like yours.
Ask for references if you’d like to contact people at businesses that have worked with the MSP you’re considering. Such references can answer specific questions about what it’s like to work with the MSP. You can also check out online reviews and customer testimonials to get the nitty gritty from businesses like yours.
When considering what to look for in a managed services provider, you must also focus on the service level agreement (SLA). An SLA details the level of services a client expects from a service provider. It lays out the metrics by which the service level guarantee is calculated. Comb over any SLA you get. Specifically, focus on expected response times and how problems will be addressed.
When evaluating a managed service provider, consider the MSP’s complementary services. It can be tiring to have to find a bunch of service providers for different needs. If the MSP you’re considering offers other needed services, you can save yourself some headaches.