A managed IT service provider can often provide an ideal way for companies to get top-tier IT service at a reasonable rate. Hiring top-level people as in-house employees will tend to be more expensive, even if there are certain inherent advantages to on-site service. Of course, companies don’t necessarily have to choose between managed and in-house IT, as a mixed approach can be (and often is) used. Today, we are going to talk about the things that separate a high-quality MSP (managed service provider)from a low-quality one. You can consider this as a guide for choosing the best-managed service provider in Philadelphia.
This is the most important factor of all, and it should be considered first. Those who perform IT services will require access to your network and a lot of your data. Although you can restrict access to that data on a “need to know” basis, there is no way around the need for trust. Sure, you could go with the cheapest MSP around, but that is likely to represent a security risk.
Of course, it isn’t just about the price. We mentioned that factor because the bargain-basement services don’t tend to offer high quality and they don’t tend to vet their employees very well. Reputation is a better indicator of trustworthiness. Online reviews and customer testimonials are a great place to start, although you want to avoid those that come from the company itself. Independent verification is definitely the keyword here.
A Reputation For Quality
When you are looking into the reputation of an MSP, quality is almost as important as trust. You want to make sure that previous customers were happy with the services provided and that they lived up to all their obligations. There is no point in outsourcing your IT needs if you don’t get people with sufficient expertise.
A Good Service-Level Agreement
Any decent managed service provider should tell you about a service-level agreement when you are seeking their services. They should bring it up without your having to ask, as this shows a commitment to said agreement. A service-level agreement is basically a contract between you and your MSP. They guarantee a certain amount of network uptime, which should be in excess of 90%. For example, a 90% uptime guarantee would mean that they are guaranteeing you will have no more than 10% downtime each month.
Apart from uptime provisions, an SLA spells out the obligations clearly for both sides. It also makes the MSP legally liable if they fail to meet the conditions of that contract, so it’s a good way to make sure you get good service. Any MSP that fails to provide an SLA is not worth employing. Those whose SLA documents are full of sneaky loopholes are also not worth employing.
If your MSP is going to take primary responsibility for your IT management, you need to be able to call on their help anytime. Any managed service provider should have ways to contact them for support at any time. People sometimes work outside of established business hours, particularly in the case of remote workers. As such, you just never know when some tech support will be needed.
Even if your MSP is trustworthy in every way, your security could still be compromised if they are negligent on their end. That is why you should look for an MSP that emphasizes security in all its operations. In this case, we are mainly talking about the ways in which your data is handled.
If your MSP is serious about security, they will be using encryption and firewalls to protect your data, both at rest and in transit. They should also be willing to minimize the number of their employees that have privileged access in the first place. They should also be using network monitoring combined with threat management software to keep their own systems as secure as possible.
Look For Experienced And Insured Companies
It is often a good idea to avoid new MSP companies that have not yet established their reputation. Their services are often cheaper, but they are simply too much of a risk for organizations with a large amount of sensitive data to protect.
On the subject of protection, an MSP should also have general liability insurance with a clause for errors and omissions (commonly abbreviated as “E&O”). The purpose of this is very simple: It ensures that the MSP will be liable for any mistakes that they (or their employees) make. If those mistakes end up costing you money, they are obligated to cover those costs.
Flexible Service Plans
If these people really know what they are doing, they should be able to show flexibility. Companies that try to push you into following one specific structure might just be too limited to do things your way. This should hold true whether you are looking at their services or the rates that are charged for them.
In general, you can either pay an MSP by the month or by the job. If you need regular and comprehensive service every month, the monthly fee might be more efficient for you. If you don’t need assistance on an everyday basis, it is probably going to be more cost-effective to pay by the task.
As we mentioned earlier, you can use an MSP as your primary IT provider or you can simply use their services to augment your existing IT team. Again, you want a company that is willing to be flexible and accommodate your desired structure.
At PCH Technologies, we hold ourselves to a high standard of service and we expect that you will do the same. Don’t settle for substandard service that could even turn out to be a security risk. We offer managed IT support services that can be contacted 24/7, and computer IT services that are second to none. To find out more, call us at (856) 754-7500.