It’s impossible to run a business without using technology these days. Whether you use computers to schedule appointments and enter patient data, or whether those computers run all of the machines in your manufacturing plant, you need your technology to work for you. Your job is hectic enough without having to worry about IT support, too, which is why it’s so important to have someone in this position. Having internal IT support or a managed service provider to work with your network exclusively (or alongside your internal IT) will ensure that your technology runs smoothly and reliably 24 hours a day.

Do you feel like you’re getting this out of your current IT support or MSP? Use the checklist below to deduce whether you’re getting the service you need and deserve.

  1. Do you feel as if you’re communicating well with your IT support or MSP?

    Good communication is the most important component of a good managed service provider. If you aren’t feeling heard by your MSP or internal IT guy, it might be time to switch to someone else.

  1. Are you getting frequent and redundant backups?

    How often is your network backed up? Weekly? Daily? Hourly? Is what you’re getting now sufficient? Our clients all require different backup times, but a great MSP should be able to help determine what is best for your business.

  1. Can your current IT keep up as you grow?

    One of the benefits of a good MSP is that they can adjust their services the more you grow. What you need now, as a business with 10 computers, won’t be what you need later as a business with 50. Since MSP’s have access to top industry tools, they can easily keep up with you. 

  1. Is your current IT monitoring your network 24/hrs a day?

    Another great thing about an MSP over internal IT support is the 24 hour a day access. Your IT guy goes home at 5, but an MSP is always working behind the scenes. MSP’s have tools in place to inform both you and the support team when there is a major issue that needs fixing right away. 

  1. Are you getting what you paid for?

    IT support is expensive, there’s no doubt about that. Whether you’re paying the salary of internal IT support, or whether you’re paying a monthly fee to an MSP (hint: they’re likely to be about the same price), you should view network support as an investment. So, are you getting great service at a decent price? If not, look elsewhere. But beware! The cheapest option will always give you the worst service. You get what you pay for in this industry.

  1. What does your business continuity plan look like?

    Do you have a business continuity plan? Do you even know what one is? You definitely should! Your MSP or internal IT support should absolutely ensure that your business has a plan in place in case of a disaster like data loss due to employee error or natural disaster.

  1. Are you up to date with government compliances when it comes to internet security?

    When working with sensitive data, you should be aware of any government compliances that apply to you. The largest and most well-known of these is HIPAA. The right MSP can partner with you to make sure you are following all the rules to ensure the safety of your data.

  1. Do you have network assessment and security audit documentation?

    When working with an MSP, you should receive a network assessment and security audit before they even sign you on as a client (hint: if they don’t, run the opposite direction! They don’t know what they’re doing.) This documentation is yours to keep, and should be updated periodically. 

  1. Does your IT support have industry certifications?

    Staying educated is hugely important in a fast-moving industry like technology support. Does your internal IT support or MSP have certifications for the software and hardware they use? If not, you may want to a) get them the materials they need for the certifications (if you have an internal IT guy) or b) switch MSPs to a company that takes their job more seriously. 

  1. Are you tied down with a contract?

    When working with an internal IT guy, this most likely doesn’t apply. However, if you are stuck in a contract with an MSP, it may be time to think about switching. The best MSPs know that their reliability and great service are all that’s needed to have your loyalty. For example, we allow a break in contract at any time if you feel you aren’t getting the service you deserve. No one wants to be stuck in a contract they resent, and we don’t want that for our clients either.

  1. Is your IT support focused on understanding your unique business technology needs?

    Every company is different, and every business has issues with technology that are unique to them. This is why communication is so important. A good MSP will sit down with you to discuss the issues you are having that are specific to you and your business. Then, they’ll come up with a plan to fix these issues and make sure you are included and informed through every step.

So, what do you think? How many boxes were you able to check? How many were left unchecked? How many unchecked boxes is too many? Ten? Five? Even just one? It’s important to know what you’re getting into with an MSP, which means upfront and consistent communication is absolutely key. It’s also vital to understand that an MSP is an investment in your technology. You hear “you get what you pay for” in this industry quite a bit--and it is absolutely true. When it comes to shopping around for an MSP, choosing the cheapest option can often get you into trouble. While shopping for prices can seem like the smartest idea, it’s far more important to shop for services and reliability. Find the MSP that makes you feel confident about the future, and you’ve found your perfect partner.

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