Efficiently operating and maintaining a business’s IT network, systems infrastructure and overall technology needs requires the right expertise. That’s why many small and midsized businesses partner with a managed service provider (MSP) to take on that responsibility, allowing business leaders and staff to focus on running other crucial areas of the business. Outsourcing IT needs can have several benefits, such as saving on hiring costs and customizing a plan that aligns with a business’s technology goals, but it requires selecting the correct MSP to make it all happen.
So, when it comes to selecting an MSP, how do you differentiate between mediocre and top-tier providers? If you aren’t sure where to start, here are five must-have services all leading MSPs should be offering:
- 24/7/365 Maintenance and Support
Your MSP should be able to provide responsive and friendly support to you and all your employees no matter where they’re located. Although an MSP may perform their work from a remote location, you may want to consider picking a local vendor for when they need to come onsite. A great vendor should also have 24/7 on-call support, so no matter when a potential IT mishap or vulnerability may occur, you can rest assured knowing a resolution will be found in a timely manner.
- Managing Vendor Relationships
Do you currently have multiple vendors you use on a regular basis? Is managing them difficult and time-consuming? A great MSP handles them all and should be your one go-to contact for vendor relationships.
- Experience With the Specific Tools You Need
Not everyone needs the same tools and software in order to run their business efficiently. Your MSP should understand your business structure and goals to customize the tools you need accordingly. While standardization is important, you should never be offered a “one-solution fits-all” solution.
- Cloud Backup Services and Disaster Recovery
No one can predict when disaster will strike. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a cyber event, your MSP should have a thorough disaster recovery plan in place to ensure your business is unaffected when the unexpected occurs. Your MSP should also safely back up your data to a remote server and manage important updates automatically. Knowing your data is safe and secure should be a huge priority for any business, no matter what industry you’re in. Considering today’s cybersecurity landscape, clean backups and disaster recovery plans are two of the best insurance policies for businesses.
- A Plan for the Future
Think of your MSP as another invested team member of your company. They should provide you with an analysis of current trends and what to expect in the IT world. Coming up with a plan for the future is crucial to saving time and money as well as helping your company adapt to new technologies. This process is typically led by a Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO), a role commonly included as part of an MSP offering responsible for owning a business’s IT strategy. A suitable vCIO should have a perfect blend of business acumen and technical expertise, and to do their job effectively, they need to have a seat at the table.
There are many other services an MSP can offer, but these guidelines should help you determine which MSPs are worth reaching out to and which may hold your company’s IT department back. Creative Planning Business Services has an experienced team with a range of managed IT options. Contact us today, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have about selecting us as your MSP service provider.