Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) is one of the most cost-effective ways for small businesses to get more out of technology and maintain a competitive edge in the modern marketplace. In many cases, it presents the only practical and affordable alternative to having your own in-house IT department, but it’s also not a small decision, especially when security and uptime are at stake.
MSPs have been popping up everywhere in recent years thanks to the widespread availability and evolving capabilities of cloud technologies. However, not all MSPs are equal. Some focus on specific services or industries and might not be the best fit for your organization’s needs. Every business has a unique set of IT requirements and goals, so before you sign any contract, you must ensure that the MSP you choose can align with your goals.
#1. Local presence
In the age of cloud computing and anywhere-accessibility, it might seem counterproductive to restrict yourself to evaluating MSPs in your specific area. But in spite of the ubiquity of remote support technology, an MSP on the other side of the state may not offer the same level of service as the one located just around the corner. A local MSP is more likely to understand your market and come to your office to help resolve issues that require on-site presence.
#2. Industry expertise
Many MSPs take a one-size-fits-all approach, claiming the ability to work with businesses in all industries. This line of thinking is usually a red flag, as every industry faces its own set of challenges. For example, healthcare organizations are subject to industry-specific compliance obligations, which means they should only consider partnering with an MSP that understands their industry and has the tools and expertise necessary to achieve compliance. Industry expertise is especially important in the case of these highly regulated sectors.
#3. Dependable partners
When you partner with an MSP, you’re not just partnering with one company. Since MSPs are usually certified by various vendors such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, you have access to everything from cybersecurity to data-governance solutions.
MSPs serve as a bridge between your business and the world’s leading technology solutions providers. As such, it’s important that any MSP you choose to work with is transparent about their technical partners. After all, you need to know where your data is going to be stored and what systems will be in place to protect it.
#4. Strategic planning
A dependable MSP isn’t just a vendor. They’re not there to sell you something only to leave you to fend for yourself afterwards. Instead, working with an MSP is a long-term partnership that offers many of the same benefits as having your own in-house IT department, albeit without the enormous costs involved.
Your MSP should have your business’s unique interests at heart and should develop a strategic plan that will work now and for years to come. In other words, they should have a vested interest in developing a tailor-made IT infrastructure that aligns with your corporate goals and is ready to adapt to the constantly evolving demands of today’s market.
#5. Service reliability
When you’re migrating your operations to the cloud, it’s imperative that your employees enjoy at least as good a user experience as they did before the migration. If they end up spending more time staring at loading screens or struggling to work with unresponsive web-based interfaces, then both productivity and morale will suffer.
Your mission-critical systems must also be protected by favorable service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee a minimum uptime. Unexpected downtime can become enormously expensive, so your SLAs must also stipulate a maximum resolution time for unforeseen issues. Any potential technology partner should be able to demonstrate an impeccable track record of living up to the commitments stipulated in their SLAs.
Hudson Valley IT Services LLC is here to help you stay ahead of the competition with the technology and expertise you need to thrive in today’s market. Give us a call today to find out how.