Rock IT

5 things to consider when choosing the best Managed Service Provider

5 things to consider when choosing the best Managed Service Provider

How to choose the best Managed IT Service Provider in Melbourne – top 5 five

Choosing a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) can be a daunting task. If you have an existing relationship you know you’ve either outgrown their capabilities or something has gone wrong in the relationship.

1-Knowledgeable Account Manager

Knowledge is absolutely key. Have you ever walked into a retail store and dealt with a new employee? “Oh I’m sorry, I’m new here. I need to go and ask someone else”. Depending on the store you’re in and how urgent your request is that response can either be acceptable (because you’re sympathetic to them being new) or frustrating, because you might be in a rush and need help straight away.

The stakes change as you start moving towards business security. It might be OK to wait for someone with more knowledge when you’re say, looking at lawn mowers at a hardware store, but what if you’re required to deal with this person on an on-going basis? Having your Account Manager constantly taking notes and referring back to others treads a fine line between helpful and time-wasting note-taker.

Your Account Manager is vital to your success

Your Account or Relationship Manager is your go-to person. Think about this in the sales process – who are you negotiating with? Do you know who you’ll be dealing with on a day-to-day basis or are you going to be “sold” something then have to deal with someone else.

The best Account Managers are highly knowledgeable in their area, not only in a technical sense but also about YOUR business. It’s much the same as choosing a financial planner or fitness trainer. A strong relationship built on trust needs to be built. You need to feel comfortable that your Account Manager understands your mode of operation. Are you seasonal/cyclical or does your business flow pretty steadily? Are you going through a market downturn or are you primed for growth?

There’s a lot for an Account Manager to be across when it comes to technology so make sure you meet your Account Manager during the sales process to make sure that you’re comfortable. You might be comfortable with the Managed Service Provider’s offerings but not the presented Account Manager. That’s ok – just ask to meet someone else in the team.

A strong relationship with your Account Manager will help make your transition to a new IT Provider a lot easier.

2-A solid, long term service offering

Strategic Management uses this graphic to show the differences between short term and long term planning. Have a think about your own business’ strategic objectives and make sure you line up your technology strategy with those.

If all your objectives are short term, then you probably don’t need a Managed Service of any kind. You need a single problem solved now then you can move on with out that provider.

However if you have long-term objectives what’s the point of putting in place a short-term service offering from your Managed Service Provider? As per your Account Manager, you need an MSP that has been around a long time and has the experience to service you in the years ahead. Experience counts for everything when it comes to trusted advisers, so make sure you check how long they have been around, who their client list is and make sure you do a solid reference check.

3-Flexible pricing options

You need to deal with a business that will be flexible when it comes to pricing. There is no one-size-fits all approach to IT Management and Security, and you certainly can’t implement everything you’d like to quickly, so make sure your MSSP adopts a staged approach to implementing security for your business.

good, better, best strategy wants vs price

Businesses that are in startup mode might want to forgo some service elements to save costs and once they reach a certain maturity, an upgrade in service is possible. Likewise a mature business might already have an expectation of the type of service offering they want and will opt for more features.

Ultimately you want to make sure that you are given choice when it comes to pricing. This isn’t about haggling for the best price, rather understanding that different packages contain different services. If you opt for the lowest cost package then you’re unlikely to get the feature-set from the highest cost package.

4-Training

There’s no point having the “latest and greatest” technology if you and your staff don’t know how to use it! Make sure your Managed IT Provider has the desire and capability to train your team on how to use technology – rather than just sell you gear.

invest in your people quote

Investment in your people is paramount in every area of your business. Would you hire a forklift driver and not make sure they’re appropriately trained? What about your Chief Financial Officer – have you made sure that they have appropriate qualifications?

Technology is no different. Most people can operate a computer, but are they doing it efficiently? What if they are wasting hours a day doing a repetitive task that could be automated or be performed by a lower cost human resource?

From a security perspective, are your staff aware of the risks of clicking on links and opening email attachments? Do you actively engage in Cybersecurity Awareness training?

Appropriate training from professionals is required by some industries such as Medical and Legal. If you’re not in these industries, it’s in your best interests to get appropriate training in particular for technology.

Invest in your people

5-Easy technology

If it’s going to be of value, it must be easy. Even with training the technology and security services you have in place must be seamless at best and easy to use at worst. Before you sign up for any service ask your MSSP how your staff will enjoy using the service.

Why did Apple become so successful again with the iPod? It was simple. Amazingly simple as it only had a few buttons where its competitors of the time had plenty.

Check out the Apple remote versus the old “universal” remote control. It’s no wonder why people opt for Apple given its simplicity of operation.

Make sure the technology that you’re implementing for your business is simple, just like the Apple remote. The conversations that you have with your IT provider also need to be simple. Who cares about GB of storage and RAM? Nobody. Who cares that the computer you’re about to purchase will enable your staff to perform their job reliably and with a low chance of calling IT Support? Everyone.

Don’t make this overly complex for yourself and make sure you’re having conversations with your IT company that make sense to you.

Conclusion

Choosing a Managed Service Provider can seem overwhelming so we hope this article has helped you.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Get a knowledgeable Account Manager who knows tech and how businesses run
  2. Choose a provider who has been around for a long time and offers you long term service contracts
  3. Understand the pricing structures in front of you and be comfortable with the feature set
  4. Always, always have your staff trained!
  5. Make sure the technology services you’re receiving are easy to use and easy to understand

 

Don’t know where to start? Contact us or check out our Cyber Security Benchmark Assessment.