Managed IT services are a great way to optimize your IT situation. Companies use them to outsource all or part of their IT duties, which can bring a number of advantages. In most cases, these services save more money than they cost, making them very cost-efficient over time. However, you do need to make sure that you choose a high-quality managed service provider if you want to reap the full benefits. Here are some of the things that you should expect from a competent MSP in Florida.
1. A Strong Emphasis on Security
Florida is one of the more rich and prosperous states in the U.S. As such, Florida usually sees more cyber attacks per year than most other states. Just last year, someone hacked a water treatment plant and attempted to poison the water supply. Thankfully, that act was prevented, but it’s still a sobering wake-up call.
Any managed IT services company in Florida should be aware of this fact and should be prepared accordingly. They should talk a lot about security, and they should give you plenty of options and ideas. You want to make sure that these people are willing to focus on the most important thing.
2. No Subcontracting
Trust is of the utmost importance when choosing an MSP. Because security is such a big part of what they do, and because they will have access to your network, you need to make sure you can trust your MSP. Thus, you should probably avoid any company that subcontracts work to other third-party companies. Trusting one company is an acceptable risk, but trusting those subcontractors is just unnecessary.
3. Knowledge Of Your Industry
It is generally a good idea to choose a managed service provider that knows how to work within your industry. Obviously, the needs of each industry are different, so you want to make sure you have people who know what they are doing.
For instance, let’s say you operate a retail business. Your needs would be quite different from those of, say, a scientific research company. Even if much of the same technology is involved, the needs and methods will differ greatly. When you talk to your MSP for the first time, you should ask about their experience and make sure they have worked with your type of company before.
4. Help On Every Level
An MSP should provide a wide variety of services, allowing them to help you with every IT-related problem. They should offer remote and on-site support, monitoring, file verification, VPN servers, cloud servers, and all sorts of other things. An MSP is supposed to provide generalized IT services on a wide variety of topics. There are other types of services that are more purpose-specific, such as an MSSP (Managed Security Services Provider). If a person is going with an MSP, they should expect a company that offers all-around service.
5. Plenty Of Questions
A good MSP company should do its best to tailor its services to your specific needs. When you talk to them, they should ask plenty of questions and offer plenty of suggestions. If they are just giving you a generalized sales pitch and a lot of vague, evasive answers, that is a red flag. If they do not seem interested to know more about your business and its IT needs, it’s also a red flag. In general, you want a company that is eager to serve you and eager to serve you correctly.
6. Willingness To Provide Information
When you are thinking about employing an MSP, you should try to gather as much information about that company as possible beforehand. In most cases, the best source of information is the MSP company itself. They should be willing to verify any credential or accomplishment that they claim, and they should be willing to provide that proof upon request. You have every right to know who you are employing and whether or not their claims are true. Any company that is evasive when asked for information about itself is probably not trustworthy.
7. Disaster Recovery Preparedness
You definitely need to ask your potential MSP about disaster recovery preparedness. Some companies do not like to consider these sorts of possibilities because it entails admitting that they are capable of mistakes. Realistically, though, cyber attacks can still happen without an active mistake on anyone’s part. A competent company should realize these things and should be willing to carve out a disaster recovery plan that takes many contingencies into account. This should include a secure data backup system, and a way of automatically making backups.
If you should find yourself dealing with a major crash, a cyber attack, or some other digital disaster, that is the point where you will need your MSP the most. At that point, they may be your only lifeline with which to restore your system. So, you want to make sure that they are well prepared to do just that.
8. A Service-Level Agreement
A service-level agreement (or SLA) is a guarantee against the losses that come from excessive network downtime. You can lose a lot of money if your network access is lost for an extended period of time, but an MSP should be able to prevent that. Usually, this will mean giving you temporary access to their network resources until your own can be restored using backup files. In any case, they should guarantee at least 90% uptime, which means they are guaranteeing you network access for 90%+ of each month.
It pays to be a little bit picky about your business partners, so don’t hesitate to ask plenty of questions and hold people to your standards. Of course, there are many IT service providers in Florida, including many MSP companies. However, it can be difficult to find the right one for you. As a start, we would recommend calling PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.