Ordering takeout from a restaurant you picked based solely on the quaint pun in its name is an entertaining way to explore your neighborhood’s culinary offerings – it also means you’ll end up with meals that vary significantly in their palatableness.
It's a similar situation with managed service providers (MSPs). What's included in the "service" can vary significantly from one to the next. One might manage licenses and vendors, and another doesn't. One might provide team member training and informative monthly reporting, while another might fall silent once the contract is signed. The problem is, you might not realize what you're not getting until you're already locked in.
A standout MSP will be both proficient in their services and reliably communicative – they'll respond quickly, stay ahead of storage and maintenance needs, and keep you apprised of how things are going.
(It’s also good to understand the differences between technology support, MSPs, and services management.)
10 Things Your MSP Should Do for You
- Responsively Communicate
Communication should be clear from the start: expectations, timelines, and what’s included in the service you’re paying for. When you email or call, you deserve to get an expeditious reply. You should be kept in the loop about what your MSP is doing – and they should communicate before you have to ask.
- Share Monthly Reports
Regular monthly reports, as well as change and infrastructure documentation, are a standard way to keep you apprised of an MSP’s work. More importantly, those reports should include useful information about how this affects your business in a format that makes sense to you.
- Provide 24/7 Support
If there’s a technical issue on a Saturday that’s disrupting business operations – you need help ASAP. Not all business happens during regular business hours Monday through Friday and business continuity is critical.
- Earn Your Trust
Your MSP should earn your trust, and keep earning it, by the service they provide. Ensuring a business’ technology runs well is a big responsibility and it’s most successful with long-term partnerships.
- Keep Your Business Secure
Through proactive monitoring, detection, and data protection, your MSP should keep your business as secure as possible. That said, no business can ever be 100% free of risk, so your MSP should have a sound response plan in place and implement it immediately when needed.
- Manage Your Storage
You should never bump up against maxed-out storage. Your MSP should proactively manage your company’s cloud storage and file syncing and sharing and bring recommendations for improvement far before it becomes a problem.
- Train Your Team
Whether training your team to effectively use newly implemented software or training them on how to spot and avoid a phishing attempt, your MSP should help ensure your team knows how to use their tools and keep company resources secure. (This is important, considering 1 in 3 data breaches involve an insider – often a person who doesn't realize they've put company data at risk.)
- Manage Licenses and Vendors
Acquiring licenses, verifying what’s in use and what isn’t, and managing vendors – these are details that often fall through the cracks. Your MSP should ensure they don’t. Many of our clients find that having a one-stop-shop for managing all of their technology is a huge help with time and cost savings.
Like anything we expect to function smoothly over an extended period of time, your systems require maintenance, which includes patching and general hardware upkeep. It sounds so basic to deploy patches to software – but it often doesn’t happen! And that has lead to some of the most costly data breaches we’ve seen in the news in the past year.
- Give a hoot
A quality MSP will genuinely care, and it’ll show in how they communicate and work – and how they take care of your company’s best interest. IT isn’t just about technology – it's the backbone of a business running optimally so ultimately, your MSP needs to be your business partner.
In search of a managed service provider who can walk the talk? Reach out to us. We’d love to chat about how we can help.
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