10 Crucial Questions You Need to Ask Before Hiring an IT Services Provider
If you’re in the market for an IT services provider, don’t make a choice you’ll regret down the road. We have written this article to help you make the right call.
Your IT environment is arguably the backbone of your entire business operation. You depend on a robust IT infrastructure for nearly every aspect of your daily activities. What’s more, IT represents a significant investment in terms of both time and capital for businesses of all sizes.
To reap the maximum benefit from your IT assets, you need to outsource your IT services to a capable managed IT services provider (MSP). It is therefore vital to ensure that a prospective MSP is the best fit for your business.
As a leading IT services provider for businesses throughout Western Michigan, Micro Visions has worked with the representatives of many companies in your position. Most of them say that choosing the right IT services provider from the many options available is a daunting task. Perhaps most challenging is how to avoid being trapped in a counterproductive relationship under a lousy MSP contract.
Some of the more prevalent concerns we hear, in no particular order, are as follows:
- Recurrent IT issues.
- Routine tasks take days to complete.
- Poor network security.
- Having to pay avoidable extra charges.
- Being sold unnecessary additional services.
- Lack of familiarity due to a high turnover rate.
- Data loss and business interruptions because of weak backups.
The list goes on. To safeguard your business, we want to equip you with information you can use to choose a reliable MSP. To help you with the selection process, we’ve come up with a list of questions.
So, How Do You Know You’re Hiring the Right MSP?
It can seem like a tall order, but making the right call ultimately comes down to asking the right questions. While we realize that your business is unique, and only you can craft the more precise questions that best address your concerns, the following list is meant to give you a gentle push in the right direction.
That said, here’s a list of ten essential questions you need to ask before hiring an IT services provider:
- Do They Answer Their Phones or Outsource to a Third Party? It’s essential to determine how long they take to respond to IT issues and whether they operate after regular business hours.
- Do They Provide Round-The-Clock Monitoring? Cyber threats never rest or take a day off, and neither should your MSP. Hardware glitches don’t wait for regular business hours. 24/7 monitoring, management, and maintenance are crucial for the smooth running of your network.
- What Is Their Data Backup and Recovery Plan? Technology failures and security incursions are bound to happen from time to time. You need to protect your critical data and applications by ensuring your MSP has a reliable data backup and restoration plan. A good plan should involve multiple backups, both onsite and in a cloud environment. This will provide optimum data redundancy to ensure business continuity.
- How Often Do They Verify the Backups? Simply having a good plan in place is not enough. A dependable MSP should also test and verify the backups at the very least once per week. Anything less puts your business at unnecessary risk.
- Do They Provide a Network Map? Your MSP should provide you with detailed, written documentation of your entire network. A transparent network map is crucial as it outlines all the information you need to navigate your IT environment.
- Do They Practice Vendor Management? Verify the boundaries of responsibility regarding applications and integrated systems. For example, you will want them to offer to coordinate services if your VoIP telecom goes down, not to tell you that it’s not their problem that you’ll have to call your telecom provider. You will want them to take ownership, not to point the finger at another vendor, and assign you the task of solving it.
- Do They Have Service Standards and Processes? They should have documented processes and standards for service, not allowing technicians to do things “their own way individually.” They should have and track service metrics such as average response time and average client satisfaction scores.
- Do They Provide Strategic Planning? A quality MSP will provide a strategic technology roadmap based on your business goals and budget priorities and will meet with you regularly to review and update the plan as needed.
- Do Their Staff Have Recent Qualifications? The tech world changes at a rapid rate. To remain current, your IT services provider needs to ensure their technicians undergo regular training.
- How Do They Manage Progress on Tickets/Projects? Your MSP should offer regular status reports, updates, and follow-up emails and phone calls to keep you in the know.
The wide variety of options available today presents a challenge in choosing the right MSP for your business. We hope that these questions will assist you in that choice.
Ready to Outsource Reliable IT Support for Your West Michigan Business?
At Micro Visions, we are eager to provide honest answers to all the questions above. Our team is excited about offering your Grand Rapids and Western Michigan business the level of IT support it deserves.
Contact us now to get started.