You may have noticed that recently many IT consultants and professionals are calling themselves Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Managed Services are provided from thousands of companies across the world, so, what does this term mean, and how can your business benefit from an MSP?
We spoke with Adam Dodds, the managing director of Itopia on this subject and this is what we discussed.
What is Managed Services?
There isn’t one single definition, and here is what you should know:
- MSP’s monitor the health of your network and technology; they will proactively fix any issues and notify you of any outages.
- Managed Service agreements cover the maintenance and upkeep of your technology for a monthly fee.
- Monthly services from Managed IT generally includes applying all patches, fixes and updates to your computer systems and network infrastructure.
- Proactive (preventative) maintenance makes sure your technology is running optimally, and your systems are less likely to have an outage.
- MSPs are essentially an outsourced version of your IT department and in most cases, reduce the cost of your department.
- MSPs have many specialists who are certified and trained in the latest technology; it’s their job to keep up to date.
- Most MSPs operate remotely and provide on-site IT support when required.
What is predictive maintenance?
Performance and condition of equipment during regular operation are essential to keep track of, and preventative maintenance makes sure your technology is always working optimally. Also known as condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance has been standard practice since the mid 90’s.
The goal of predictive maintenance is to predict when equipment failure can occur, followed by preventing the failure via corrective maintenance.
The primary focus for many businesses for managed services is not only to reduce costs but to predict costs. Most managed service agreements are based around a monthly flat-fee with unlimited support hours.
If anything suddenly stops working, your provider will fix it. Helping your IT budget stay on track and predictable.
Ten essential questions to ask your MSP before you sign up!
What to look for when selecting your MSP
- Industry Experience – Make sure your provider will be able to foresee potential problems and also anticipate your operational needs with industry experience.
- Good References – Verify their experience and customer service skills with a few references.
- Longevity – Verify a provider’s history by searching for press releases or asking for financial statements.
- Insurance – Just like any vendor, you should check their policies.
- Billing Structure – Avoid providers who charge strictly by the hour. Look for an MSP who charge flat fees for certain services. Doing the job right the first time is ideal.
- Service Contract Scope – Make sure they offer a contract and list of services which covers the entire scope of your company’s needs, including computers, laptops, phones, tablets, payment systems, and even cloud computing.
- Agreeable Contract Terms – Look for a contract which allows you to add or remove services.
- On-Site Availability – Find out whether they handle all aspects of their services in-house or if they outsource.
- Staff – If they don’t outsource, ask about their staffing levels. You want them to have enough personnel to handle your business.
- Response Times – An MSP should be able to give you an upfront estimate of response times.
Need more help selecting a Managed Services Provider? Please speak with one of our consultants today.