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3 min read

How to Evaluate a Managed IT Provider in 5 Simple Steps

Nick Bambulas
Written by Nick Bambulas

According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Cost Technology Survey, companies report their greatest internal threats as maintaining the reliability of their systems, closely followed by the recruitment, development and retention of IT talent.

That means a modern, networked company is trying to manage threats from hackers and unreliable systems while facing a potential staffing shortage. Given these facts, finding a dependable technology partner to keep your technology investment safe is crucial.

If you are a business executive today, you're probably looking to control costs, grow your company and manage a digital transformation, all at the same time. More and more, businesses are engaging a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to control IT costs, transform operations with digital innovations and simultaneously protect against cyberthreats. 

When considering a Managed IT partner, having a reliable, experienced and professional staff is vital to success. But how do you determine if your IT services partner is up to the task? Here are the criteria we recommend businesses investigate when interviewing or considering an MSP:

1. What’s the Word on the Street?

You will want to make sure your MSP has a good reputation. Given that a quality MSP is a large investment for most companies, the stakes are very high. You want to work with a company that has a reputation for strong customer service and doing the right thing. 

Find out how experienced the managed IT staff is, how many IT service professionals it has on staff and the qualifications of those staff members. Get testimonials or customer references to make sure an MSP has been able to help other companies like yours.

2. Is an MSP Strategic?

Digital disruption and innovation are reshaping the business landscape and the impact is only increasing. That is why it is important to assess the complex and difficult question of how an MSP helps strategic thinking. Make sure that an MSP approaches its service agreement as a strategic partnership.

Technology isn't perfect. But an experienced and professional MSP will help you navigate thorny problems and face questions honestly. They should also have processes in place to create and execute a strategic roadmap to ensure your technology infrastructure grows and evolves with your business. For example, Elevity offers ongoing business reviews and technology roadmap meetings to help keep the technology solutions aligned with the company’s business needs. It’s a continuous, iterative approach to technology that aims to evolve as your technology needs inevitably change.

3. Is an MSP Bankable? 

The financial stability of an MSP will ensure you have the support, services and technology you need in place when you need them. According to the Deloitte Global Cost Technology Survey, 69% of respondents report data security as one of the most important tasks facing their IT department.

Given the current cybersecurity threat landscape, companies are assuming more risk than ever before. As a result, so are MSPs. Businesses need to work with a provider who has the resources and capabilities to recover themselves - as well as their clients - from a significant security breach. 

4. Are They Responsive to Your Needs?

Once you determine an MSP has the technical capabilities and resources you’re looking for, find out if those services and support staff are available 24x7x365. Are they truly staffed during off-hours, or is someone on-call and being pulled out of bed to remediate issues in the middle of the night? Is one technician responsible for all issue remediation, or is there a pool of people that can be tapped into for immediate response?

5. How Advanced is an MSP’s Cybersecurity Service?

Given the intense threat environment facing businesses, an MSP must have a mature and complete cybersecurity focus and approach to IT. This is especially true because the threat landscape evolves rapidly and it takes vigilance to stay ahead of the threats.

Defending a network from attackers and criminals takes a multi-layered security approach combining powerful software with a suite of security services to deliver both foundational security and highly advanced protections. MSPs must work to constantly ensure they are trained and staffed to deliver a multi-layered security approach to clients, so that if one layer of protection is vulnerable or fails, there are others protecting you. Ask lots of questions to ensure the provider can truly deliver a proactive and multilayered approach to security.

A company with resources and a staff of business consultants and analysts can help you not only keep your current technology infrastructure up and running but can help with long term projects. A Managed IT company that can help implement business process and consulting services can help you push your business forward, not just maintain a status quo.

If you’re ready to leverage the knowledge of a Managed IT provider, reach out to the team at Elevity today.

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