A good IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) will quickly establish itself as a vital and cost-effective extension of your in-house team. Select them well, and you can rest assured your network infrastructure and mission-critical applications will always offer peak performance.
However, with so many providers to choose from, how do you distinguish the exceptional from the average or ineffective? We’ve come up with a few handy tips to help you search for the perfect external information technology support partner.
Look for a support partner committed to developing long-term client relationships
Effective managed IT services should present solutions that will meet your current needs and develop a long-term roadmap outlining the steps that will help your network play its part in growing your business and getting you to where you want to be in, say, five years.
This roadmap should be a flexible work-in-progress, with those leading it possessing the agility to adapt to changes in your business or the landscape more generally and incorporate new technological developments.
A commitment to ongoing, straightforward, honest communication between provider and client is key to enabling the ongoing IT infrastructure improvements that will help fulfil your business ambitions over the long term.
This all largely hinges around trust. You should have confidence that your chosen provider is working in your best interests by offering impartial, dependable advice based on best practices. Due to their expert knowledge, the power balance is stacked firmly in favour of the provider. Trust will, for instance, reassure you that you’re not being encouraged to invest in expensive solutions you don’t need for the financial gain of your provider.
Of course, trust must be earned, and this can take some time. Therefore, the other significant advantage of finding an MSP committed to long-standing relationships is their opportunity to win your trust over time through the consistent quality of service, a customer-centric approach, and a demonstrated ability to meet and exceed your expectations every time.
Make sure they’re willing to take the time and get to know your business
Because every business has different needs, tailored IT services and support approach is an absolute must. Suppose a potential provider looks to be offering you a cookie-cutter solution. In that case, it might be time to continue the search! There is no one-size-fits-all solution that could meet the unique needs of every business.
Once engaged, your chosen partner should commit to developing a thorough understanding of your current network set-up, business needs, challenges and future ambitions. Regardless of budget, resources, or your work’s nature, a solution can be developed to resolve issues and boost performance.
Make sure your chosen provider starts by conducting a thorough audit of your current network set-up. These insights will make sure they can make the most appropriate recommendations for your network management in the future. This might include server upgrades, changes to your data backup process, or new approaches to your use of cloud computing, amongst many other things.
Another vital element of the getting to know you process involves asking about your future business objectives, vision and goals. That way, plans can be made to solve immediate problems and set you up for future success.
A proactive approach is essential
Although having access to 24/7 technical support from an expert team committed to resolving urgent IT issues quickly and effectively is important, your external support partner should be doing so much more in support of your business. Improving your network to boost performance and preempt problems before they arise is equally crucial.
One of the best things about MSPs is that they live and breathe everything IT, every day. This means they are continually across all the latest innovations in an incredibly fast-moving space. This is excellent news considering enterprise technology has come a long way in recent years and is a more affordable and realistic option for small and medium businesses today than it has been in the past.
Therefore, choose an external IT support provider with the high-level technical knowledge needed to appropriately and proactively advise you on the latest industry-leading technologies to consider.
Find a support partner that can support your ‘new normal’ way or working
An increasingly remote workforce is likely to demand new approaches to security, device management and collaboration.
The modern MSP will insist on robust security measures as standard due to an awareness that network security is more critical post-2020 than it ever has been before. This results from the new and emerging risks associated with having more people accessing business data from more devices and locations.
Substandard cyber security measures bring real threats that can wreak havoc over your network and cause significant financial losses and reputational damage associated with data loss. Making sure you have the latest strategies and tools in place to protect your critical information and applications and allow for business continuity and swift disaster recovery in the event of a breach should therefore be a top priority when looking for your ideal IT support partner.
On top of that, businesses with remote workers will require effective platforms that enable their people to collaborate from geographically disparate locations as they did when they were all working from the same location.
Microsoft Office 365 has proven itself to be a popular solution during the past 18-months, supporting mobility and collaboration by offering secure access to business data from any device or location. A good MSP should be able to make intelligent suggestions for the most appropriate platform for your business and the approach to set-up and implementation that will make sure you get the best out of it.
Essential IT and our team of experts can proudly claim to offer all of the above and a wide range of additional support services! We’re always happy to chat, so give us a call today and ask us how our strategic thinking, long-term outlook, and proactive approach can benefit your business.