Considering Managed IT? Ask These 6 Questions
The ever-accelerating rate of change in the IT world can put your company at a disadvantage if you can’t keep up. Smart executives are partnering with managed IT services providers to handle their hardware and software needs, allowing the company to focus on growing the business.
Managed IT might be the right move for you, too. Data protection, network security, enterprise software development, and cloud computing are the most common services handled by a managed IT provider. Because finding the right provider for your needs might be a little overwhelming, we break it down for you with a list of questions to ask about managed IT.
6 Questions to Ask When Considering Managed IT
- What is your company’s area of expertise?
You want to get a sense of how well the provider aligns with the size and focus of your company. Ideally, your managed IT provider works with companies of a similar size to yours and has experience working with clients in your industry. Especially if you’re in a highly regulated industry and compliance is an issue, having confidence that a managed IT provider can handle those unique demands is essential.
- Does your company outsource?
One benefit of managed IT services is tapping into the provider’s expertise. A managed IT provider can be a strategic partner, helping you plan for maintenance and upgrade of hardware and software. Outsourced IT staff might not have the same level of commitment to your company when they have multiple clients to support. You deserve to have your provider’s staff focused on your needs.
- How is your response time?
Network downtime curtails productivity, and over time, cuts into profits. If yours is a company that simply can’t afford downtime, you’ll want to engage with a managed IT provider who can answer this question to your satisfaction. Dive a little deeper and ask about their support processes, including their staff and systems they use to log and resolve issues.
- How does your preventive maintenance work?
If you subscribe to the “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” philosophy, then you need to feel confident that your potential provider will be proactive in replacing and upgrading IT assets. The right provider will be looking 12 to 24 months down the road, offering their advice and recommendations for what will be needed so you can plan and budget accordingly.
- Who will have access to my data?
The issue of data harvesting really came to light in 2018 when Facebook admitted that up to 87 million of its users had their data harvested by a third party. Some managed IT providers collect behavioral data that they analyze to improve their service offerings. You might be comfortable with that. But in a worst-case scenario, they’re selling it. Any managed IT provider should be able to clearly articulate its data-handling policies.
- What methods do you use to protect data?
Listen for words like firewalls, encryption, advanced firewalls, and intrusion detection. Before diving into a search for a provider, you should educate yourself on the basics of what these words mean and the protections they provide. Find out how the potential provider backs up data and their approach to disaster recovery. If they say they use floppy disks, run-don’t walk!
Answers to these six questions will give you a good framework for discussion. They’ll also tell you a lot about the managed IT provider and their ability to meet your needs. You’ll want to talk with several potential providers, including Higher Information Group. Contact us today!
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