What is Managed IT Services
Managed IT services allow businesses to delegate their IT operations or outsource their IT to an expert third-party organization that specializes in handling some or all of the responsibilities associated with your IT operations. Sometimes the organization just lacks the manpower or they just don’t have the internal skill set to properly maintain their network, servers, workstations and other IT devices. These third-party organizations, known as Managed Service Providers (MSPs), are responsible for the entirety or portions of a business’ IT systems, as agreed upon in a written Service Level Agreement or commonly referred to as an SLA. Essentially you are shifting the risk associated with your hardware, software and network performance over to the Managed IT Service provider that you made an agreement with.
An MSP is NOT born overnight.
Do your homework when hiring the right MSP, as they are all different? MSP's do not become MSP's overnight, at least the good ones don't. A well seasoned MSP should have a comprehensive on-boarding process in place and the on-boarding doesn't just happen overnight. Ask for the well before you signed the agreement.
5 Benefits of Hiring a Managed Services Provider:
1. Lower Cost of Ownership: It may be cost prohibitive for an SMB to self manage their technology internally. This is why many companies are seeking managed service providers to help lower total cost of ownership and reduced system downtime.
2. You Get More with Less: On-top of saving money, an MSP can help the SMB get more for less-ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery, improved computers, servers & network performance, minimize risk against ransomware & malware through enhanced security, all while you are saving time not having to worry about technology.
3. Proactive Maintenance: Hiring an MSP to monitor and managed all of it systems ensures that problems will be identified and resolved before they become larger more costly problems.
4. Data protection: Managed Service Providers assumes the responsibility of your data-therefor, you can ensure your data is backed up, secure and a seamless process is in place to get you up and running in the event of a server failure or any unforeseen disaster.
5. Enhanced Security: Keeping patches, up-to-date, security device management and adding additional advanced vulnerability monitoring and management, greatly helps to ensure you will not fall victim to the latest malware stacks. Added layers of security and monitoring are available for regulatory compliance and protecting sensitive data.
8 Must ask question when Interviewing an MSP
- What does your on-boarding process look like and can you step me through what that looks like? -
An MSP should be able to provide you with a comprehensive outline from start to finish. Proper on-boarding should at least last a month to 3 months depending on the size of the organization.
- What documentation software do you use? Step me through the process on how you plan on documenting our network?
A seasoned MSP should be using a documentation management tool (NOT there ticketing system) to fully document your network, workstations, servers, devices, software, vendors, passwords & warranty ect.
- How often do you meet with us to discuss our Technology needs?
The MSP should have a dedicated Technology Consultant or a vCIO Virtual Chief information officer that is prepared and meets at your office every quarter to discuss IT strategy planning and budgeting.
- What type of backup system do you have?
An MSP should always include an onsite NAS based backups & offsite cloud backups since they are the ones responsible for managing your IT environment, and that includes protecting data.
- What is your process in the event our server ever crashes?
With the right tools in place the MSP should have you up and running in minutes not hours by virtualization the down system to the attached device.
- Do you provide us with reports to ensure you are proactively maintaining our systems?
An MSP should be able provide you with a single page easy to read report on a monthly basis.
- How do you handle expiration, warranty, software support expiration etc.
A seasoned MSP should have the tools that generates an automatic ticket if any sort of expiration happens is triggered, whether it is server warranty or domain host expiration is coming up. An expired domain name can bring your companies email down for hours. This is why on-boarding does not happen over night.
- How can you ensure that a ticket is handled in a reasonable time frame?
An MSP should be metric driven and have a well defined SLA fully integrated into there ticketing system i.e. (30 minute ticket response). Once the ticket is entered into the system by the end user the time starts, if the response is not met the service manager is notified.