Questions to Ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

Choosing the wrong company to support your IT needs is frustrating and expensive. Making this mistake could cost you in downtime, data loss, and expensive repair bills. In this blog post, we have given you a list of questions to ask a potential managed services provider. The purpose of this list is to help you make sure you are choosing the right MSP to support your business and your technology.

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Customer Service – Questions to ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

  1. Do You Have a Ticketing System in Place so that Issues are Prioritized Based on my Needs? – Each company is different. And each user and computer system within each organization is also different. So, what you don’t want from your managed services provider is to have uniform response to issues between an issue reported on a critical system versus a system that is hardly ever used. Your managed services provider should be able to easily map which of your systems are critical and require higher levels of attention in the event of a problem.
  2. Do You Staff Your Help Desk Support, or Do You Outsource it? Your managed services provider should staff their own help desk at their office. That way, they can train them and keep their certifications current. This is on the list of questions to ask a potential managed services provider because you need to be aware of where the people answering your calls will be located, who they are working for, and that they have been trained on both your technology solutions and business processes.
  3. Do You Have a Dedicated Help Desk Team? You want a managed services provider who can support your team and your needs. This should be done through a dedicated staff of qualified, experienced Help Desk agents. Not field agents who answer calls when they are not busy.
  4. Who will Our Day-to-Day Contacts Be? – Make sure that the qualified technicians you meet during the sales process will actually be the individuals helping you in the event of a computer problem. Ask your managed services provider about the qualifications of their entire support bench, not just the one or two who they introduce you to in the beginning.
  5. When is IT Support Available if Issues Arise? –A good managed services provider will be able to support and monitor your systems 24/7.
  6. Do You Have a Guaranteed Response Time for my Issues? – One of the questions to ask a potential managed services provider should let you know how long you should expect to wait when you submit a ticket to support.
  7. How are my Systems Monitored Remotely during non-Business Hours? One of the questions to ask a potential managed services provider should detail their remote monitoring capabilities. Do they have a Network Operations Center? Do they monitor your systems during non-business hours? Make sure you are aware.

Managed Services Plans – Questions to ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

  1. How Customizable are Your Managed Service Plans? – All businesses are different. Your technology and business needs are also different. Make sure your list of questions to ask a potential managed services provider includes getting information about how flexible their plans are. You want a partner who will provide a solution that is perfectly fitted to your needs and requirements.
  2. Is Your Managed Services Solution Really All-Inclusive, or is There Fine Print? This is one of the more important questions to ask a potential managed services provider. Make sure that if your support services have limits, you are aware of them.
  3. What are your Charges for Extra Usage? – This question should be applied to both infrastructure and support services. If your managed services provider is supporting your IT in their cloud environment, will they charge you extra if your usage goes up? Make sure you know what to expect.
  4. Do You Provide Reports that Show me Data about my Services? You should absolutely question your potential managed services provider on how they will be showing you details about the services you are paying for. Additionally, if you are in an industry that is subject to some-sort of regulatory compliance audit, reporting features on the state of your technology security status may not be optional for you. Make sure you ask if a report will be provided to you, and what details that report will include, and how often you can expect to receive this information.
  5. Are On-Site Calls a Part of Your Managed Services Package? – You should be looking for a managed services provider that will dispatch help when you need it. You don’t want to be on the bad end of a tough problem before you learn that the person providing your support will not be coming to help you when you really need it.

Technical Experience – Questions to ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

  1. How Many Engineers do you have on Staff? You should be looking for a technology partner that has many engineers on staff who are trained in specific technologies. Many managed services providers have “jack of all trades” positions where support team members are good at everything but don’t possess outstanding skills in any one area. This can lead to complications when looking to roll out complex projects.
  2. Do Your Technicians Maintain Current Vendor Certifications and Participate in On-Going Training – or Are they Learning on my Dime? One of the questions to ask a potential managed services firm should focus on getting you information about the qualifications of those who will be doing the day-to-day work on your technology systems. Look for a partner who invests in their staff. A great MSP will make sure their staff members remain trained and certified. They will encourage their employees to increase their certifications internally, without passing the cost on to you.
  3. Are Your Technicians Familiar with My Unique Line of Business Applications? Ask your managed services provider about the level of training each of their support personnel will receive about your company and processes. To get the most out of managed services, you need a partner who takes the time to make sure their entire bench understands your business processes. This gets you more out of the services than you would receive from a company who simply works you into a “one-size-fits-all” ticket escalation process.

Maintenance – Questions to ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

  1. How Often are the Security Systems Updated? – It is important that on your list of questions to ask a potential managed services provider you include several that are security-focused. Your managed services provider should provide managed security services. This will help you guarantee that all of your security systems are updated constantly, so that no weaknesses can be exploited.
  2. Will I Receive Proactive Maintenance, or Will you Simply be “Putting Out Fires” – Proactive maintenance should be a required feature of any managed services solution that your company utilizes. You want a partner who will make sure all of your software is up-to-date, any necessary software patches have been implemented, and your systems are free of malware and other malicious code.

Backup and Disaster Recovery Options – Questions to ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

  1. What Security Services do you have in Place? A trusted managed services provider should be able to tell you how secure their data centers and network operations centers are. Make sure you understand how secure these facilities are.
  2. What Kind of Backups do you have in Place in case of Equipment or Service Failures? From back-up power sources to back-up servers, make sure the data center hosting your information has a “Plan B” for every piece of equipment. Make sure your managed services partner has a plan in place to switch over to these back up systems in case of failure.
  3. Do you Perform Periodical Test Restores on our Backups to Make Sure the Data is Not Corrupt and Can be Restored in the Event of a Disaster? Bottom line – a back-up plan is no good if it doesn’t work. Make sure that your managed services provider regularly tests all back-up versions of your systems. That way, if something does go wrong you know a disaster recovery plan can be implemented.

Other Services – Questions to ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

  1. Can you Build a Technology Plan for my Business? – When considering questions to ask a potential managed services provider, think about what you want your technology to be able to accomplish for you in the long run? A good managed services provider is one that will work with you to develop a technology roadmap that will align your business and technology. They will give you honest opinions on services and vendors, to ensure you are getting the systems that will fully support all of your business needs.
  2. What Will Happen to my Services When the Size of my Business and Data Grows? – Can they scale with your company? This is a vital member of the list of questions to ask a potential managed services provider. You want a partner that has the flexibility to grow with you, so that you are sure they can support your current and future needs.
  3. What Other Services do They Offer that Can Support Your IT Infrastructure? – Can your new partner engage when you have IT projects (Upgrades, migrations, training, and customizations) and need more than support? What else can they help you with?

Qualifications – Questions to ask a Potential Managed Services Provider

  1. Are you on the MSPmentor 501 List? MSPmentor publishes an annual list of the top 501 managed services providers world-wide. The managed services providers on this list know how to help clients get the most out of managed services.
  2. What other industry awards and recognitions have you received? Ask your potential managed services provider what other industry recognition they can provide as a reference to their work and services.

Are you considering managed services to support your company’s technology? Email our sales team today ask our experts these questions about our services!

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By | 2017-03-24T13:47:51+00:00 June 4th, 2015|Managed Services, Technology Tips & Tricks|

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