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Are You Considering IT Managed Services?
As you’ve been following along, you have a clearer idea of what outsourcing your IT responsibilities to a managed service provider entails. But before you meet with an MSP and take the next step, we recommend asking the following fifty-four questions. Not just to the potential provider, but also ask your staff, mainly if your company employs an in-house IT team.
8 Questions to ask when developing the service
- What is your average network uptime performance?
- Do you have a list of tiered features and capabilities?
- Do you offer on-site hours built into the regular contractual fee?
- What metrics do you use to assess speed, reliability and overall performance?
- Is there enough flexibility to add or remove service offerings based on my business needs?
- Are you able to diagnose and remedy service issues remotely without the client’s IT team intervention?
- Do you offer customized solutions for different businesses regarding growth plans and achievable goals?
- Which software, professional services automation (PSA) or remote monitoring management (RMM) runs your managed services operation?
9 Questions to ask regarding your contract and fees
- How is my data retrieved should my contract be terminated?
- Can a break clause be initiated should I decide to terminate my contract?
- Is your service level agreement consistent for all customers or is this negotiable?
- Does contract flexibility include monthly and annual payments with capping on yearly rate hikes?
- Can you provide a comparison detailing the cost of on-premises versus cloud solutions over time?
- Will I need to purchase additional infrastructure when your managed services work with my business?
- Does your fee structure cover additional cost management that notifies when new charges get applied?
- Do you include an assessment of IT infrastructure before providing projected Service fees?
- If so, is this a separate cost?
11 Questions to ask regarding your data management
- Who will have access to my data?
- What methods do you use to protect data?
- Will my competitors be able to see my data?
- What redundancy gets built into the solution?
- Who owns my data if it gets hosted at your facility?
- How are data backups and disaster recovery handled?
- What happens to my data if you go out of business, are sold to or merge with another firm?
- What measures and processes are in place to protect my data against security breaches or data leaks?
- Ultimately, who is responsible for my data? You as the MSP, a third party, or me as the business owner?
- Do you host multiple clients on the same systems, in a multi-tenant environment or exclusivity in-area?
- Do you run your service operations through a 3rd party hosting providers or data centers? If so, can you provide or validate these?
12 Questions to ask regarding the MSP’s credibility and capabilities
- How do you train ad-hoc support?
- Do you employ a dedicated staff, or ad-hoc?
- Can I meet the team members providing my support?
- How many years have you been providing IT managed services?
- Would you classify yourselves as experts in IT Managed Services?
- What is your level of expertise in my industry regarding regulatory compliance requirements?
- What industry credentials or certifications, does your company, and your technical staff carry?
- How does your IT service desk team stay current with new technology developments and trends?
- Are your IT managed services primarily what you do or are they an add-on service to your business?
- Will you provide references and phones numbers to customers that are still doing business with you?
- What percentage of your business gets dedicated to managed services versus other business models?
- When I’m required to provide an audit trail showing compliance, how does your company handled that?
14 Questions to ask regarding the MSP’s support model
- How is support provided?
- How are complex issues escalated?
- What are the hours of emergency support?
- What are the satisfaction levels with your customer help desk?
- Will you provide references to call from any existing customers?
- Do you offer on-site support hours as part of the contractual fee?
- What are the first, second and third line parameters for escalation?
- May we discuss your managed service support levels with existing clients?
- Is emergency support available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?
- Do you include channels such as telephone, email, portal access, and live chat?
- What percentage of issues are confirmed as resolved at first contact by your helpdesk?
- Do you offer traditional break or fix support for hardware, software and other infrastructure?
- What type of training is provided, by your company, for my in-house IT staff to educate them?
- How do I guarantee the return on my investment covering Support and organizational IT knowledge?
Now that you have reviewed the fifty-four questions to ask when considering IT managed services, the answers you receive, from the managed service provider and your staff, will give you a clear picture of the direction to go in and what to expect as you move forward.