While the demand for managed IT support services is growing, so is the supply. A quick search in Google will get dozens of hits. But which one should you choose?
A company may have excellent recommendations, prices, and set of services, but are they right for you? The only way to make a final decision is to set up an interview with the company’s representatives and ask them several key questions.
In this article, we’ll list the most important questions to ask your potential managed IT service provider. Don’t hesitate to be straightforward and demand answers.
1. What services do you offer?
Many managed IT support companies have a long list of services on their website. However, in reality, they may only supply certain services for specific packages, or work with third-parties to deliver what they promise.
Before going to a meeting, take the time to consider which services you need. Be ready to ask the representatives whether all of them are available. Does the company have a sufficient number of specialists providing these services? Do they plan to outsource work to other companies?
There isn’t anything wrong with your managed IT support company working with other companies to find specialists. It’s rather common. But if this is the case, ask them which companies they collaborate with and how such partnerships affect pricing and response time.
2. What type of protection against cyber criminals and hackers do you offer?
One of the key services offered by your managed IT support company should be security. Even if your company isn’t dealing with sensitive information, it has plenty of data to lose. From antivirus software to cloud security, your potential managed IT service provider should have a plan to protect your company.
While asking this question, find out if the company has had experience working with businesses similar to yours. If not, they may take a long time coming up with proper security measures.
Can the company offer your employees a list of things to do to avoid security breaches? Does they offer advice about common security measures? Does it monitor your network 24/7?
Another important thing to consider is a disaster recovery plan. Each business should have one. Even if you already do, your new managed IT service provider should tweak it according to the latest requirements and strategies. Ask them if they can create such a plan, and how long it would take to complete.
3. Will I have a dedicated representative?
Managed IT support companies work with numerous clients. Depending on their size and availability, these providers can assign a dedicated representative to your company.
According to managed IT experts at PreciseIT, such an assignment can simplify the collaboration tremendously. You’ll always know whom to call in case of a problem without waiting in line. These representatives may not solve problems directly. They are responsible for finding the right specialists and monitoring response time and work quality.
If the company can’t assign a representative, you have to be ready for a slower response time. However, such companies usually set lower prices for their services.
While asking about the representative, find out about the working hours. Does the company offer services round-the-clock? If so, do they charge for off-hours services separately? And what is the response time?
4. Can you provide references?
The best way to find a top-notch managed IT service provider is to ask for recommendations from people you know. If none are forthcoming, you have to look for reviews and testimonials online. However, the best information comes from existing clients.
A respectable managed IT service provider won’t have any problems sharing contact details of their clients for references. Don’t hesitate to make several phone calls to find out how well their doing their job.
Go further and do more research about the company. More often than not, you can get sufficient information from Google. Pay special attention to the company’s website; is it well-designed? A poorly designed website is a huge red flag for an IT company.
5. Can you explain your payment scheme?
Managed IT services can be tricky. Some of them could be listed in the contract while others are provided separately. Find out what you’re going to be paying for. How does the company charge for its services?
There are several ways to pay for managed IT services:
- You could pay a flat fee per user per month. This model covers all user devices.
- Another payment method is “all-inclusive”. For a flat fee, you get all the possible services at any time. Such a scheme is pricey but may be suitable for large companies.
- Alternatively you could pay per device; a flat fee that would include all services related to one device.
Find out which schemes are available. Most likely, you don’t need all the services offered by the company today, but you may need them later, so ask the representative whether you can add more services later on.
6. Is there any fine print?
Most likely there is. Asking such a straightforward question could help you gain priceless information. For example, some companies may have special conditions for all-inclusive services. While others may raise rates after the first month.
7. Do you offer proactive maintenance?
Proactive maintenance is one of the top reasons why many companies choose a managed IT provider. However, not all of them offer such a service. Find out how frequently the provider runs updates and what resources they use to follow the latest trends and technologies.
If you get hesitative or unclear answers to any of the above questions, consider looking for another provider. Since the variety of such companies today is impressive, you’re bound to find the best option for yourself.