24/7 monitoring from your managed services provider
When it comes to managed services providers (MSPs), you need them to be on top of things 24/7. If your MSP is only monitoring activity during regular business hours, then they’re leaving you exposed when you’re most vulnerable—at night and on weekends. They should be keeping a close eye on every aspect of your IT infrastructure and reporting back any changes that take place outside of their authorized access.
The more information you can gather from your MSP about potential problems, the better prepared you’ll be as an organization. That’s why you should look for one who will monitor activity both remotely and on-site and provide detailed reports about their findings periodically. Not only will this increase productivity by allowing them to spot trends before they become serious concerns; it will also help build trust with other members of management who might not fully understand what happens behind-the-scenes with IT services but still want regular updates on their status.
Proactive maintenance and reporting
A great managed services provider is always looking to proactively maintain their client’s equipment, and they’ll provide you with regular reports on their progress. Proactive maintenance is the key to long-term machine health, as it prevents problems before they arise.
Responsive service and support
Responsiveness is one of the key differentiators between good managed services providers, and great ones. And that’s because responsiveness speaks volumes about a company’s ability to not just fix issues quickly, but also to prevent them from happening in the first place.
You can count on a great managed services provider to:
- Respond quickly to issues as they come up – before you even realize there’s an issue. A good MSP will likely have an escalation process in place that ensures you get a response within hours (and sometimes minutes), not days.
- Provide access to teams of experts who can quickly escalate issues where needed, so that your problem is solved faster than if you were working with only one person or team on the issue. This kind of access provides for greater accountability and faster resolution times, which are crucial if you rely on your IT systems for day-to-day operations.
Your managed services provider’s level one support
With level one support, you should look for a provider that can:
- Remotely access your network.
- Solve basic IT issues.
- Provide remote assistance.
- Monitor your network and security.
- Perform routine maintenance on your systems like patching and updating software.
- Provide basic help desk support.
- Send technicians to your site if necessary.
Data protection and backup
Data protection should be a top priority for any MSP. A recent report by Gartner found that the worldwide revenue of data backup, recovery and cloud services market amounted to nearly $5 billion in 2017. The same report predicts that number will reach $500 billion by 2022, indicating not only its importance to businesses, but also its profitability as an industry.
Backups are copies of your data that are stored separately from the original data on your server or device. When a situation occurs where you need to restore your systems (e.g., a flood), you can use these backups to retrieve the data and resume normal operations quickly and seamlessly. Backups should be performed regularly to ensure backup files are up-to-date in case of emergencies, making it easier for businesses to recover from such events without losing too much information or time. The two most common types of backup strategy are full backups, which back up all files on a server; and incremental backups, which back up only changed files since the last backup occurred.
Business continuity planning
Your managed services provider can help make sure your business continuity plan is up-to-date and ready for action. A good MSP will work with you to create a contingency plan for staying operational should disaster strike. You’ll want the plan to include the following:
- Information about how your employees will communicate if something goes wrong. Do you have an emergency call tree? Do managers know who their backup contacts are? Managed service providers can help you build these mechanisms from the ground up, or help ensure that they’re ready for action with regular testing and planning sessions.
- A list of all critical resources, like hardware and software, which may not function in the event of a disaster. It’s important to have duplicate copies of these resources at other locations, or in the cloud via some kind of virtualization solution so they can still be accessed when needed.
- Access to all data backups; most importantly offsite copies housed somewhere distant from your data center or primary office location(s).
A good managed services provider will be able to help guide you through this kind of planning process.
Cybersecurity planning and audits
A managed services provider (MSP) can provide a range of services to help you run your business. But one of the most important is cybersecurity.
Many businesses have found they don’t have the time or expertise to manage security themselves, and they need an MSP that specializes in cybersecurity. The MSP can keep up with the latest trends, techniques and strategies related to information security, including:
- Malware and ransomware protection
- Vulnerability management
- Data loss prevention (DLP) tools
- Information assurance policy development
Look for a managed services provider who will take the time to get to know your business
Your managed services provider should ask questions to get a true understanding of your business. Hopefully, they will identify find some things you may have overlooked in the process. This information should then be used to customize an IT service plan that fits your needs. Basic IT services are a commodity, but custom IT services can have tremendous value for many businesses.
A good MSP will build a relationship with you and your business over years – not just months. They will understand how your business operates so they can better serve you with the appropriate technologies.
Do you want to find out more about the service we can provide for your small business? Book a free consultation today or call (928) 583-4454.