Small businesses often have a hard time keeping pace with technological developments while trying to keep costs under control. Yet at the same time, leaders realize innovation is essential for staying relevant in an age of constant change. Outsourcing your technology needs is an affordable way to add value to your business and reduce risk, but choosing a partner isn’t a decision to take lightly.
Here are seven essential criteria to help you make an informed decision:
#1. Industry-specific expertise
Be wary of managed services providers (MSPs) that claim to be everything to everyone. Different industries face different challenges, particularly when it comes to regulatory compliance. To ensure a successful digital transformation, you need to choose a partner that understands your industry and can provide solutions that align with the unique needs of your business. For example, if you’re running a healthcare facility, the last thing you want is an MSP that has no experience with the healthcare sector.
#2. Relevant customer testimonials
Customer testimonials provide an important starting point when evaluating MSPs. You’ll want to pay special attention to testimonials and reviews left by other companies in your industry to ensure relevance and authenticity. However, your research shouldn’t stop there, since you’ll also need to verify any claims. To that end, any potential MSP should be happy to provide a list of references you can contact.
#3. High service availability
One of the most important documents you’ll ever sign when outsourcing your IT is the service level agreement (SLA). This will specify the minimum level of service availability. For example, a service availability of 99.99 percent implies a maximum annual downtime of 52 minutes for things like scheduled maintenance. While unscheduled downtime will always be a risk, your service provider should have automated rollovers to minimize any disruption.
#4. Short response times
Another key factor addressed in an SLA is response times for customer support. With cheaper options, customer and technical support might only be available during normal office hours. That might be fine for some processes and workflows, but critical systems, such as information security systems, typically demand 24/7 availability. Maximum response times must be clearly specified, along with the number of support tickets you can have open at any one time.
#5. Technology alignment
Most digital transformation initiatives result in disappointment due to a misalignment between technology solutions and business goals. When evaluating MSPs, it’s important to remember that you’re not just looking for a vendor, but also for a dependable business partner with a vested interest in the success of your organization. Rather than trying to sell you more products and services, they should be willing to provide actionable advice based on your unique needs.
#6. Security and compliance by design
Security and regulatory compliance should always be top priorities whenever you’re choosing a technology partner. Make the wrong choices, and you could greatly increase the risk to your organization and even end up in breach of legal requirements. A solid partnership should make compliance and security easier and more robust, so you’ll want to choose a company with an impeccable track record in both respects.
#7. Local expertise
It might be tempting to outsource your IT to an offshore company to save costs, and there are a few cases where that can make sense. However, for mission-critical operations, as well as those which handle sensitive data, you’ll need to work with a company that provides local expertise and is familiar with local laws and industry standards. This is even more important if you also want support for your in-house infrastructure, in which case there may be occasions where a technician has to visit your premises in person.
Partnering with Cutting Edge Network Technologies means saying goodbye to high IT costs, poor performance, and unreliable support. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.