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June 21, 2017

How to Choose a Managed IT Service Provider

Bringing IT in-house can be expensive, and for many small to medium-sized businesses there isn’t enough work to justify a full-time role.

How to Choose a Managed IT Service Provider

If that’s the case, then a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) could be a great fit. Choosing the right MSP can help your IT work harder and smarter, freeing up your time to focus on what you do best. We’ve listed the things you need to look for to find the best MSP for you.

Anytime, Anywhere

IT problems don’t pop up conveniently, but your MSP should. Make sure they have experts available 24/7, 365 days a year. They should also have alerts running for all your devices so they can monitor them effectively, no matter where your team is. You never know when you’ll need them. IT surprises are never fun. An MSP can help keep things predictable so you can focus on your core work.

Don’t forget about onsite and offsite options. When your team has an IT question or issue, sometimes it’s best to meet with your IT expert in person. Face time can help train employees better, and perform physical check-ups and maintenance.

Can They See Beyond IT

Are they willing to gain a deep understanding of your core business? Look for a provider who asks questions about your day to day work, not just the IT infrastructure behind it. Understanding what you do each day is key to making sure the technical foundation is there to support you. This way, the MSP will be able to recommend the right software, data storage, and train your team to use new assets as your needs change.

Budgets and Fees

Small to medium-sized businesses need IT to run smoothly, but in-house IT can be pricey. An MSP acts as an extension of your team, minus the overhead costs.

Look for an MSP provider that is paid a flat fee instead of only getting paid when there is a problem. This way, they’ll be paid to prevent issues, not just solve them. By being proactive instead of reactive, you and your MSP both get great results. A flat fee will help your budgeting be more predictable, and make accounting happy.

Unlimited Support

This is where a flat fee pays off. You won’t have to call accounting to make sure you can afford to solve an IT issue, you can just call your MSP and get a solution started. Unlimited support should also include user compliance, asset tracking, and help with all your servers, networks, security, software, and hardware. When it’s time to upgrade assets, an MSP can use their bulk purchasing power to get you the best prices.

A good MSP company offers routine monitoring, but they should also include unlimited remote support hours to prove that their monitoring is doing the job well. This way, you can solve IT problems without waiting for someone to come on site. The better their monitoring is, the less unexpected support hours they’ll need to give. If they provide great service, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Scalability

Most providers will have different plan levels depending on how complicated your IT needs are. Plans should be fairly customizable though, because business can pick up fast and you don’t want to be stuck with a one size fits all deal. You’ll need a provider who can handle your growing IT needs now, and moving forward.

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