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What to Look For in a Managed Service Provider

What_to_Look_for_WhenToday, many business that are looking for ways to cut costs while managing their websites and other technological and resource related tasks have found Managed Service Providers to be the answer to their needs. Managed Service Providers (or MSPs) provide managing, monitoring and resolutions of problems for IT systems within a business. The problem is that there are many service providers billing themselves as Managed Service Providers when all they really offer is a flat rate service package, rather than all of the necessary components found in professional Managed Service Providers. Before actually taking the plunge and hiring an MSP, it’s a good idea to understand what a Managed Service Provider should offer and how to tell if they will be an asset to your business.

What does a managed service provider do?
A managed service provider will monitor your systems (through Managed Service Software) 24/7 for any problems or potential problems and alert you to them in a timely fashion. A managed service provider will also fix most problems such as security holes, software glitches, server problems, email service problems and so on. Basically, any foreseeable problem that may cause your company substantial productivity and/or financial loss will be caught and addressed by your managed service provider in order to keep your IT infrastructure running smoothly, with little to no downtime.

What should I keep in mind when hiring a managed service provider?
A few things you might want to consider when hiring a Managed Service Provider are the following:
• Do they have a proven track record?
• Do they have a comprehensive package or portfolio to address all of your business needs?
• Do they offer 24/7 support with immediate answers to concerns or questions?
• Are they focused on security and do they make your IT security their top priority?
• Are they focused on customer service and providing the best service available?
• Do they offer a reasonably priced service compared to other MSPs?

How can I tell if they are legitimate?
One thing you should do before you hire a Managed Service Provider is check with other businesses to see whether they have a good track record. You can find reviews online of many different managed service providers, which will also help you to make an informed and educated decision on who to hire. You should look for whether they provide ALL necessary managed services to keep your IT infrastructure safe and secure as well as keeping your systems running at peak performance. Some Managed Service Providers only offer one or two services, such as connectivity and data backups, and some only offer after-the-fact assistance, such as help if your database goes down, or if your network goes offline; you can call them and they will fix it. A managed service provider should offer monitoring services that monitor all of the key components in your network infrastructure and should be alert to any possible problem so that it can be immediately addressed, often before it actually breaks.

A good managed service provider will also be able to offer advice to help maximize your IT efficiency, alerting you to better software solutions, integrated database functionality, tighter security measures and other things of this nature. You should also be able to contact your MSP to ask questions, get advice on running your IT infrastructure and be provided with helpful advice to maximize your overall security and proficiency. If they don’t offer this kind of service, the best advice I can offer you is to look elsewhere for an MSP who does. There are many competing service providers and if one doesn’t offer what you need, keep looking. Don’t settle for less than what your business deserves.

How much is it going to cost?
A good managed service provider will not be cheap, but it should be affordable cost-effective. Most MSPs charge a flat monthly fee for their service, based on the level of services, number of networked devices and other infrastructure factors. Managed service providers will be able to work with you to discover exactly what services you need and set up a plan that meets your budget, while providing a proactive monitoring solution to keep your systems running at peak performance. In order to find the best pricing, you will need to check out several recommended managed service providers and get price quotes from each. You will then be able to factor in what services are provided for what costs by which MSPs and make an informed decision on which one will be the best match for your particular IT needs.

To put it succinctly, the more research you do, the greater your success will be in finding the perfect Managed Service Provider for your needs. Keep in mind the basics outlined here, and you should have no problem finding the right managed service provider for your particular business and IT needs. Once you have found the right MSP, you’ll see a dramatic difference in your IT Infrastructure with reduced downtime, increased operating proficiency, reduced operating costs and a well-running and secure IT infrastructure.

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