5 Pertinent Questions to Ask from a Managed IT Services Provider

Managed IT Services Provider
In this digital age, managing IT infrastructure is challenging for many businesses. Managed IT services can be an asset to businesses irrespective of their size. Choosing a managed IT services provider(MSP) is an important decision since a poor choice can not only waste your money but also put your business at risk.

The right approach to selecting an MSP is asking pertinent questions about their service, technical abilities, and business. For making things easy for you, we have compiled a list of five questions to ask a managed IT support provider.

1. What Happens When My Infrastructure Goes Down?

Disaster recovery is an integral part of a business continuity plan. In today’s cyber centric world, every IT system is prone to disaster. The disaster can be in the form of hardware or software failure, system outages, or environmental disaster. When investing in a managed service provider, you need to ask how they are prepared to deal with different IT disasters.

Any MSP that is serious about their business will share their disaster recovery plans with their potential clients. The plan should include the Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective, two critical parameters of a good disaster recovery plan.

The MSP will either have a recovery plan or be ready to make a customizable recovery plan for your business. If the managed service provider does not have a satisfactory answer to this question, move to the next provider.

2. What They Do Internally and What Do They Outsource?

It is difficult for a managed IT services provider to provide every IT support you need. There is nothing wrong if they outsource a few tasks. However, you need to ask what business information is shared with 3rd party vendors.

Some companies are not allowed to share or store classified data with 3rd party service providers. You need to consider whether their outsourcing model is right for your business.

This question will also help you protect your business from hidden fees. Knowing what exactly will be provided by the MSP will help you get clarification on how they charge for different services. Don’t accept the fees as a lump sum. Ask for a breakdown of services and their charges.

3. What Is Your Team Like?

The efficiency and the quality of the managed IT service depends on the quality of their staff. You should have a basic idea of the kind of people they employ. Here are some important things to focus on when discussing a team with the managed service provider.

● Is it a small team with a mix of security engineers and IT experts?
● Does the provider have a large team of sales representatives, customer service agents, and few IT experts?
● Is the team focused on onboarding new clients or dealing with technical issues faced by clients?
● What experience level does the team have?

Another meaningful question to ask is, "How do they evaluate their employees?" The right MSP would not hesitate to share their hiring process and the essential technical certifications they value.

4. What Compliance Frameworks They Support?

Compliance and regulatory frameworks are a set of best business practices and guidelines to follow when running a business. Organizations are needed to meet the regulatory requirements to strengthen security and improve business processes. The compliance frameworks are dependent on the nature of your business.

If GDPR, PCI, or HIPAA compliance is essential, you need to ensure the MSP has the tools and certifications to meet the requirements. Check if their SLA mentions the compliance frameworks they support. You need to be careful about compliance frameworks. Partnering with any non-compliant service provider can cost you dearly along with legal implications.

5. What Are Data Ownership Terms?

You need to be equally careful about data ownership when agreeing with any service provider. This is specifically true for industries that deal with lots of personal data. You need to ask clarifying questions of how the data will be handled and stored. Also, get clear answers about what happens to the data after you stop using their services.

A good managed IT services provider will share the exit process with their potential clients. The exit process will also define the data ownership terms and conditions clearly. In most cases, the client is the real owner of the data at the end of the day and has full rights. This includes metadata.

If the managed service provider is trying to avoid the data ownership question, it is a red flag. You need to be sure how the MSP will handle your data before you hand it over to them.

When you have all these answers, you will be in an excellent position to choose a managed service provider right for your business.