Technology is growing quite fast and as a small business owner, you have to keep pace if you are to fine-tune your business processes. Hiring full-time IT personnel and investing in infrastructure can be costly, but you can save on expenses by hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP). Yes, a Managed Service Provider is a partner that can help you set up and manage the latest technology infrastructure in your small business.
Your business will run at peak efficiency at a lower cost. You will spend less time worrying about IT problems and spend more time focusing on your customers and your core business. That said, picking the right MSP for your small business can be arduous. Let us look at some of the factors you need to look into as you shop for a managed service provider.
Your business may not operate 24 hours every day, but your network does. That is why network downtime can be costly to your small business. According to one Gartner report, downtime can cost a business $140,000/hr on the lower end, $300,000/hr on average, and $540,000/hr on the higher side. You, therefore, must ensure that your MSP is available 24/7 for 365 days a year to provide a response to any emergency concern. Moreover, your MSP should be proactive and not only work on a break-fix approach. They should be able to monitor your systems, identify, diagnose and troubleshoot your hardware and network before an outage occurs.
Good Reference and Ratings
Your business’s IT infrastructure is vital and sensitive. Therefore, before entrusting a third-party MSP with it, you must ensure that they have a good reference. Here is a good blog post about what is a Managed Service Provider and the services you should expect from the right partner. As a rule of thumb, do some vetting before picking an MSP. You can ask to see commendations and references from their previous work. You can also visit their website and check their ratings and customer feedback.
Never underestimate the benefits of hiring a Managed Service Provider that is experienced in your line of business. Managing your IT infrastructure and business infrastructure needs someone who can do their job right. Just because a business knows how to do cabling or connect your devices to the network does not mean they are the right Managed Service Provider (MSP); some companies are just out there for profits. An experienced Managed Service Provider should be able to add value to your business. They should identify your operational needs, potential problems and provide the necessary solutions without creating more hitches.
Cybersecurity threats are on the rise and 43% of the cyber-attacks affect small businesses. Worse even, 60% of small enterprises affected by cyber-attacks close within six months after the attack! Cyberattacks are costly and can affect your business massively. Thus, you must ensure that your Managed Service Provider safeguards and secure your IT infrastructure and business data. Your MSP should also test and monitor your systems for any security threat.
Your business may not remain small forever. As it grows, so will your needs. So, choose a Managed Service Provider who understands you will grow over time your IT needs will change. Their IT service should be scalable. They should continually develop your IT infrastructure to keep up with your growing business needs. Moreover, your MSP should equip your business with the latest technology to keep your business running smoothly. This will ensure your business remains efficient, relevant steps ahead of your competitors.
Before hiring a Managed Service provider, please enquire about their response time. They should give you a rough estimate of how long they take to respond to an emergency situation. With that information, you will know how long it would take to fix a specific problem. Choose service providers with a quick response because, as stated earlier, downtimes are costly.
You can lose your data due to accidental deletion, cyber-attack, hardware or software failure, and more. This can be detrimental to your peace of mind and your business. You must have a plan on back-up and disaster recovery as you pick an MSP. Well, ensure that they provide remote, automatic, and consistent data backups.
Your Managed Service Provider should be able to offer support and answer your employee’s questions when the need arises. Moreover, they should be willing to offer occasional training on IT to your employees. This will not only enlighten your team on Technology Infrastructure but ease their daily operation and more so if they are required to use systems and computer devices.
Outsourcing IT from an MSP will benefit your business in the long run. You will scale up efficiency in your operations through the latest tech and access to skills and knowledge you might not afford in-house. For it to work, though, you must make the right choices. Pick the right MSP to stir up growth in your small business.