8 Things to Look for When Hiring an IT Managed Services Vendor

Your business’ data is highly valuable. Think about it. If you weren’t able to access your data, could your employees get their work done? Could you communicate with clients? Could business go on as usual?

Even more, the IT managed services company with whom you work largely dictates your data’s safety.

Consider that Cisco reports that new cyber threats grow 14 percent, year over year, while businesses struggle to keep up-to-date on security measures.

The measure of your business data’s security depends greatly on the expertise and capabilities of your managed services partner.

When it comes time to hire a vendor, or you’re ready to switch providers, here’s what you need to consider:

  1. Competency

How much training and experience does the provider have and does it match your systems/needs? What certifications do they hold? Do these match up to your short- and long-term needs? Do they have recommendations you can talk to?

  1. Availability

Is the team big enough to serve your needs? What’s their bandwidth? The managed services provider has to have the availability to take on your project and respond promptly to your IT support and services needs, so be sure to talk about this aspect.

  1. Flexibility

Can the vendor provide the services you need? Do you want a retainer agreement, hourly arrangement, or fix-it only? You may be ready to dive in and have an IT provider deliver the spectrum of managed services. Or, you might need a vendor who can help you develop a disaster preparedness plan, or another one-off service.

  1. Responsiveness

If you have an issue, how responsive will the managed services vendor be? How long will you have to wait for help? What is their standard of service and average rate for ticketing and response times? solutions? You’ll want to choose a provider who delivers 99+% rating on average, which means they have the solutions in place and proper scaling to deliver on their promise.

Check out our free ebook on how to keep your company safe from the biggest IT security threats.

 

  1. Proactiveness

What kind of systems will the provider put into place to prevent problems from happening? This factor is just as important as how quickly and swiftly the vendor responds to problems. Remote monitoring and access should be part of the managed services offerings to ward off trouble before it starts.

  1. Dispatching

When a problem arises, what kind of response systems is triggered to get you the help you need? If your vendor has highly trained technicians and best-in-class remote monitoring, it all means nothing if they can’t direct the help to the right place. So ask questions about what happens when an alert is sent and what happens if the call goes out in the middle of the night.

  1. Escalation

Quality managed services providers will have an escalation system in place and workflow rules that will bump your request to the next appropriate person or level if it happens to fall through the cracks.

  1. Reporting

Ask about reporting and billing, too. You should be able to get an itemized report for the month’s bill, if for instance, you are contracting them managed service provider for 10 hours of work per month. A reputable vendor will have no problem providing you with this kind of report, because it shows they are transparent and want you to see the value they’re delivering.

Final Thoughts

The managed services provider model works for the majority of Fortune 500 businesses. And it can work for you.

Selecting the right IT services provider means you’ll have peace of mind that your data is secure and systems are running smoothly. You’ll also have an expert by your side if something should go wrong. They’ll know exactly what to do to ensure your company is operational and can meet its business goals.

Don’t wait until something goes awry in the middle of the night to find out that your IT provider is incompetent. Properly vet the vendor from the start by asking about these eight qualities.

What do you look for most in a managed services vendor?

 

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