How to Find the Right Managed IT Service Provider
With security issues and the cost of IT taking center stage for many businesses in 2022, the value of managed IT service providers becomes clearer. According to a survey conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CTIA), 96% of respondents stated that managed IT reduced their costs. Of that 96%, 46% say having a third party handle their IT needs to be reduced their annual IT budgets by at least 25%.
Your company wants to take advantage of these extensive savings. The challenge you face lies in determining which managed IT service provider is right for your business.
What Are Managed IT Services?
According to Gartner, a managed IT service provider is any company that delivers services related to a company’s network, infrastructure, IT applications, or security. This support comes in the form of ongoing and proactive administration, with the provider typically learning about their client and suggesting improvements to their IT setup. That support also includes maintenance components, as the provider aims to maintain uptime and confront cybersecurity threats to ensure the client’s business stays operational.
As we move deeper into the 21st century, the benefits of managed IT become clearer. The right service can fill skills gaps in your organization, saving you money on hiring qualified professionals for an internal team. Managed IT services also ensure your network stays operational and provides disaster recovery options should a data breach or similar issue affect your company.
Tips for Choosing the Right Managed IT Service
With the benefits of managed IT established, we move onto a key question:
How do you find the right service provider for your company?
The following tips highlight the key elements to look for in a potential IT partner, making it easier for your business to choose.
Tip No. 1 – Look for Technical Capabilities
Credibility is critical when searching for managed IT services. Vendor partnerships with established brands demonstrate that a company is trusted by others in the tech sector. The same goes for certifications, which also demonstrate that your provider has taken the time to train its people on specific hardware and software issues that affect your business. Ideally, your provider should be capable of managing technology vendors on your behalf while identifying and confronting your company’s specific needs.
How do you determine a managed IT provider’s capability?
Ask some questions.
- What qualifications and certifications does the provider carry?
- Does the provider have partnerships with any major brands in the tech sector?
- If those partnerships exist, has the provider taken steps to improve their status with their partners?
Managed IT is a technical service, so you need to know that the providers you work with have the technical knowledge needed to enhance your business.
Tip No. 2 –Ask for References
Once you’ve established that your potential partner has the tech credentials, you need to learn more about how they work with clients. After all, the credentials act as a résumé. They tell you about the skills the provider brings to the table but offer little information about how they apply those skills.
You need to speak to previous and current customers to get that information.
Ask for references that you can contact to discuss the level of service the provider offers. Bear in mind that providers will typically provide positive references, meaning you’re getting a one-sided view of their services. Still, the presence of references helps to establish the company’s reputation, allowing you to see that they do good work for at least some of their clients. If possible, you can build on this research by looking for online reviews on third-party platforms, such as social media and the provider’s Google Business page. These reviews provide a less biased look at how the company works, allowing you to develop a balanced understanding.
Tip No. 3 –Location Is Vital
Though a managed IT service can often provide services remotely, there will be occasions when you need on-site support. That means the company’s location is vital. Having a local provider means you can have somebody on-site quickly if an emergency occurs.
Remote services tend to come with lower costs, which can make them attractive. They’ll often be able to handle the majority of your basic IT needs. But when it comes to complex issues, such as resolving emergencies, working on in-house infrastructure, and dealing with regional compliance issues, it’s usually best to work with a local provider.
Tip No.4 –Consider Your Needs Versus Their Offering
What are the essential services you need from a managed IT provider?
If you can’t answer that question, you’re not yet in a position to begin your search. Every provider offers something different, like qualifications in specific areas or access to ongoing on-site support. If you don’t understand what you need, you can’t determine if the provider can offer what your business requires.
The following are some common services the typical company needs from managed IT.
- Data protection
- Implementation of cybersecurity measures
- Ongoing network monitoring
- Access to on-site technicians
- Data backup and recovery
Prioritize your needs and compare them to what the provider offers. If your needs align with the offering, you’ve identified a potential partner.
Tip No. 5 –Ask How They Can Help Your People
Having access to external experts is all well and good. However, you also want your in-house teams to learn as much as possible. An educated team is less likely to fall victim to cybersecurity issues. Education may allow your team to resolve simple IT issues, meaning you spend less on managed IT services.
Ask your potential provider what, if any, training they provide. At a minimum, the provider should train your people on how to use new systems and software upon implementation.
Find the Right Provider to Manage Your IT Infrastructure
Selecting a managed IT provider is a difficult task because it requires you to understand what your company needs and look into several options. Qualifications and partnerships are important, but they’re not the only thing to look for. Speak to existing customers to find out how the provider works with its clients. Establish that the provider can meet your needs and has a local presence for on-site work. Finally, discuss training options to see how you can leverage managed IT to upskill your people.
At DTS, we offer a range of services, including managed IT, to businesses in the St. Paul, Bloomington, and Minneapolis areas. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you strengthen your IT infrastructure.