Pit Falls to look out for when choosing how to Manage IT for your business. What should you expect from a Computer network Managed Service Provider (MSP)?
There are many different ways to get your business computer working correctly. Companies can choose to be proactive or reactive. Reactive services include The IT Guy, Internal IT, and a Break-Fix IT Repair Service or Shop. For instance, some folks will wait to find solutions until a problem arises and they can no longer work around it. At this point, they search for a Computer IT Repair Shop, and a tremendous amount of hope and responsibility is placed in the hands of the IT shop to fix the issue or get back lost documents. During this desperate scenario, some shops can take advantage of its’ customers and their valuable information
Reactive computer repair services have harmed the relationship between the customer and the technology providers. The trust businesses create with IT repair companies is broken. When a system is not working the customer not only loses productivity from the staff, but they also get stuck paying a large bill from the IT company.
The only time a reactive IT company makes money is when their customers are hurting. This causes suspicion for the business owner. Making them wondering if the computer problems are on purpose.
Taking care of computer repair problems as they arise takes a toll on your wallet, productivity, and sanity. No longer does the company have control of the cost or data. Businesses are at the mercy of the IT Guy and that’s not an ideal position for any company.
Why IT companies changed their business model
Managed Service providers flip the reactive IT business model. Putting the financial burden on the IT companies shoulders. An example, a system is not working. A customer has a fixed monthly agreement. The MSP spends unlimited time to get systems working. This encourages the MSP to have all systems working properly all the time. MSPs want the systems working. Now companies and the MSPs have the same goal – to have all systems working with little downtime.
Internal IT is better than the IT Guy if you have a great Chief Information Officer (CIO) within a tech team. What tends to happen to the internal IT person or Team is they only know what they know. It is important to realize they only deal with the products they are familiar with and have worked on for years. They see no need to look at new options or upgrade to a less expensive or better product. MSP not only looks for efficiencies in your current environment but looks for ways technology can make a business better.
Internal IT people are also hard for C levels to manage. Now, executives are asked to manage a segment of the business where they lack expertise. Keep in mind having executives as IT experts is not the most productive use of their time.
Having an Internal IT person can create fear. What if the IT person leaves and takes all the network functionality information with them? This is called the hostage situation.
Managed service providers have different technicians inputting all their information into one database along with managing the site. If an MSP loses an employee all your information is safe, lives within the MSP, and service can continues as normal for your staff.
An MSP is a business in your community and needs to follow good business practices. Unlike the internal IT, or employee that is your IT helper, MSP must keep their good reputation. The best MSPs are completely transparent and work well with other technology trades.
Great MSPs want to know your business needs inside and out. Use their valuable expertise to your advantage by simplifying your business operations. Have them becoming your single resource for meeting all your technology requirements while accomplishing your business objectives.
Don’t be a hostage. You have rights. Look for an MSP willing to place your company as an equal user role with the programs you use. Professional MSPs will be accommodating to other service providers that will take over accounts.
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT
Look for an MSP that has all the bases covered. When picking an MSP there is plenty to consider. With this in mind, make sure your business and the IT companies can work well together. Ask yourself, is your business culture the same, and are they considering your business goals seriously? Make a decision that will support your team in the matter you expect to be treated.
The MSP should have a full suite of tools to support your team including:
Local Help Desk
Outsourcing your IT or any other part of your business can be scary. It is important the MSP you choose has a local help desk and understands your employees and business. Look for a company prepared to invest in a long relationship with you. Provide your staff with access to technical help and expertise whenever they require it. By resolving issues in a timely manner, you reap the benefits of improved efficiencies with less downtime. The Best Managed Service Providers provide Tray icons for screenshots, ticket requests, chat, and remote control.
The importance of On-site Support cannot be looked over. Find a company available to your team by phone and onsite. A great MSP will have a weekly onsite presence to build trust between them and your team.
Expect to get reports on the health of your network. Also, this should be available to you on the MSP’s Customer Portal usually located on their website.
Remote Monitoring and Automation
Monitoring your systems is a basic function of IT Managed Service Providers. There are several tools available to give tech teams notifications on occurring issues. To demonstrate, one of my favorite sensors lets Help Desk teams know when a hard drive is starting to overheat. This notification saves so many hours of labor for the customer and MSP. The MSP can replicate a new Hard Drive from backup and schedule the replacement with the employee.
Deploying a proactive monitoring system, ensures all network problems are detected and resolved, often before you are even aware an issue exists. MSP’s keep your business running while minimizing disruptive and unproductive downtime.
Providing one support phone number for all IT vendor relationships allows an MSP to manage your IT vendor relationships plus technical issues are resolved quickly and accurately.
Virus Definition Monitoring/Management
Most Anti-Virus software vendors roll out definition updates quite frequently. It, therefore, becomes essential for MSP to keep a constant watch of these updates so as to secure the network desktops.
Spam Definition Monitoring & Management
Anti-spam refers to services and solutions focusing on blocking and mitigating the effects of illegal emails – or spam – on email users. MSP works with email providers and Internet Service Providers (ISP) to achieve this objective. MSP’s work with different types of anti-spam systems integrated with the email systems.
OS and Third Party Patch Management
Whether your machines are behind the firewall or remote, physical or virtual, patching your critical operating systems and apps in a timely, effective, and cost-effective manner is a must.
Key Application Maintenance
Application maintenance goal is improving software performance making it highly agile, adapting it to a changing environment and, of course, troubleshooting it when the need arises.
Managed Service providers will take on the role of Systems Administer for each company they work for. The MSP will be responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems; especially multi-user computers, such as servers.
Scheduled Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is the name of the game for Managed Service Providers. When working with an MSP you will likely pay a flat fee which includes many services. The goal for a great provider is making sure customers are up and running and downtime is minimal. This all happens because of preventive maintenance. MSP teams spend their time constantly looking at the performance of the overall network and making improvements when needed.
Licenses & Subscriptions Management
Subscriptions and Licenses need to be renewed all the time. Expect your IT Team Service Provider to keep track and update as needed. Updating Licenses & Subscriptions is just part of an MSP’s job.
3rd Party Applications
Most business have a Business Software like Quickbooks, AMS, and ACT. Find a service provider that responds to the business software’s technical support. IT needs to manage software tech support. The best MSP’s will feel like a part of your company, and act as if they are part of your team. Managed Service Provides will need to work closely with other tech teams and represent your company.
The customer portal is a feature you will find only within the best MSPs . It is important to have your information available to you at any moment and only one click away. Business information should be easy to attain through a protected Log-in process allowing access to all updates on a per-hour and per-incident basis.
Back Up-Storage, Backup, and Disaster Recovery
Your data is too important to put at risk and natural disasters can occur anytime. An automated Cloud and/or On Premise Backup Systems provide reliable storage while simplifying the retrieval of valuable customer data like financial and business information.
Utilize the knowledge and expertise of professional consultants, who develop strategic technology roadmaps to fit your business needs. A professional MSP will not only fix any computer network issue but looks into the future and see ways technology can improve your business. Quarterly or monthly meetings should be a requirement when you are choosing who will be managing your computer systems.
Look for an MSP utilizing a monitoring system designed to track the availability and performance of critical networking components, including designated servers, and managed networking gear (e.g. routers, firewalls, managed switches, etc.). Monitoring systems provide the MSP with real-time alerts responded to by the help desk or an on-site IT service team.
Keep in mind that not all MSPs are the same. Aim for a company prepared to manage all Desktops and Servers along with backups and gives you reports on the health of your network at least quarterly.
At Talon, we’re the technology experts, so you don’t have to be. Talon makes sure that your business is tech-savvy and cutting edge. We want our clients to be free from the worry of their IT and responsibilities so they can be the best in their field. We believe in creating long-term business partnerships, and it all starts with a conversation. Contact us today for a free consultation.