Not all Managed Services Providers (MSP) are created equally – sure, they may all provide IT services for a monthly fee, but beyond that, there are vast differences. Today we want to look at some of the myths surrounding what “good managed IT services” look like, debunk them and give you some ideas of what to really look for in a great MSP. The industry is moving fast and what may have been best practice or top-of-the-line 5 years ago could be ineffective by now.
- I hardly see my tech, so I don’t really need managed IT services.
On the surface, this statement may seem to make sense: you are not experiencing many issues, so why would you need comprehensive support? The key is that you may not experience issues because of your great support. If you’re paying someone to keep your IT running smoothly, seeing them a lot can only mean stuff is breaking all the time and they are constantly there to fix it! Frequently needing a tech on site can actually be a sign of very reactive support versus proactively preventing issues or catching them early. A good MSP can show you exactly what they are addressing and taking care of in the background without you even noticing, so it does not interrupt your workday. Just ask for a report! Unfortunately, issues can still happen that require a technician on-site, but if things are running well and you have not heard from your tech in a while, chances are your MSP team is working proactively for you.
- I am 100% protected from Cybersecurity attacks.
If anyone assures you that your systems are safe from attach, it is an immediate red flag. In today’s cyber-landscape no program, process or even layered approach can guarantee you will not be hit at some point. That does not mean security measures are not worth using – you still lock your doors and windows to your home, right? The key is minimizing the risk as much as you can. In addition, a new shift in the cybersecurity conversation is towards a larger focus on what happens when you do get hacked. A good MSP will put all the reasonable precautions in place to prevent the bad guys from coming in. A great one will work on a plan with you on what to do after they are in.
- I need my tech’s personal cell number on speed dial!
It is tempting to have access to your trusted expert, but in the long run this is a recipe for an unhappy relationship. It may be hard to believe that techs are human, too. They sleep, they eat, and they even occasionally get sick or take vacations. And sometimes they do not know the answer. While it is great to have a trusted technical resource at your MSP, who knows your business and systems; however building your business IT on one single person is not. They may be unavailable, or there may be simply someone else who is the expert for that exact problem. One of the great advantages of working with a managed service provider is that you get the full expertise of an entire IT team and people who are dedicated to be available live for your issues. Ask your MSP how to best contact them how issues are addressed; have them provide you a report of average response times, and you will most likely find yourself using that cell number less and less.
- You support everything, don’t you?
Again, your tech may seem superhuman to you, but even they have their limitations. Make sure you discuss all the various components of your network, soft- and hardware, with your managed service provider. Good managed service providers vet their products and vendors carefully. They also certify and train their technicians, so their recommendations and standards are based on experience and best value for you. They will be honest with you on their existing level of expertise and will most likely require a support agreement with the manufacturer for third party software to ensure they can properly serve you in the future. If a service provider claims to support everything it may sound great at first, but it is usually a case of “too good to be true.” If in doubt, ask for training and certification proof.
- I have full-time IT staff, so I don’t need managed IT.
Despite popular belief, managed IT services and having your in-house IT staff is not only compatible, but can actually be complementary. Of course, it depends on your organization, size, complexity, etc. – you probably do not need a one-on-one ratio. But once you support 15 or more users on a daily basis in addition to network maintenance and strategic IT planning, it gets very challenging. A managed service provider can help offloading the daily end user support, so your staff can finally spend their time on important strategic decisions, or they can complement your staff’s technical expertise and assist with network management, planning, consulting, and implementation.