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Gauge the accountability of your IT team by asking yourself: Do I know how my IT team spends their time? Are they monitoring my network and improving security where possible? Are they available in a reasonable time, when I need them?
This is the real crux of internal IT departments. As our VP discussed in a recent blog post, titled Risk of Losing Your IT Guy, the brain trust of your "IT guy" poses a significant risk to the continuation of your operations. Without even going into the benefits of documentation for the MSP itself, documentation ensures standardization – which results in repeatable, efficient, and consistent delivery of service & ultimately enhances your experience as a customer.
How quickly could your network recover if your business went up in flames, your passwords were compromised or your computer crashed? If you don't know the answer to these questions, you should.
How is your IT department or IT partner spending your money? Do they give you clear & reasonable suggestions or do they haphazardly invest resources into shiny new gadgets that may or may not actually increase the productivity and security of your network. Trust is critical when building a relationship with your IT Partner, make sure the partnership is similar to the one you have with your Accountant or legal counsel.
This goes hand-in-hand with disaster planning. Your IT Partner should be able to tell you how and how often your data is backed up, when it was last restored, and who can access it. If you're not hearing the answers to these questions, either your IT team isn't doing their job, or they lack transparency.
Your IT partner should be continually enhancing their offering and providing tangible value for you and your business. Technology should be a tool that increases your bottom line, reduces costs, and mitigates your risk with the ultimate purpose of driving your success.
You should be able to accurately predict what your IT costs will be month-to-month. If you are on a non-fixed fee IT contract, are you certain that your IT Partner is keeping root-case incidents and problems to a minimum? If they are charging per issue, there is greater incentive for them to band-aide fix your problem as quickly as possible, without investigating and ensuring that the root-cause is resolved.
A good Managed Services Provider or IT partner should be able to provide you with historical data through a client portal so that you can monitor when and how your tickets are resolved, and gauge performance in real-time.
Do you have a regular rhythm of conversations with your IT provider about how they can continue to evolve your business' technology? Can they communicate the benefits of said technology improvement in a way that you can understand?
Who is permitted to make password changes? Who has access to your data? Is your network vulnerable to hackers? Accountability & transparency are key when it comes to managing your network, and your IT partner can only ensure that your system is secure if they have solidified processes in place.