5 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Managed IT Provider

managed it provider

Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) for your IT services begins with ensuring the provider you choose has the experience, staff, specialties, and business practices to meet your company’s requirements.

When it comes to your computer systems, the last thing you need is an undependable, fly-by-night firm. Choosing the wrong firm is not only frustrating and costly, but also puts your network, data, and, even, business at risk.

That’s why we created this list of five key questions to ask any managed IT services company. Before you hire a company to support your business and your technology, you’ll want to know how long they’ve been in business, their staff size, their areas of specialty, how they prioritize help desk issues, and their normal response times.

How Long Has Your Firm Been in Business?

Ideally, you want a managed IT provider with at least five years of experience. This is based on two facts. First, managed IT is not an easy service to provide. It takes a lot of time, skill, and personnel to deliver. Secondly, it typically takes six to ten years to become a pro at a specific skill. What’s more, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, roughly 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years. You certainly don’t want your managed IT provider going out of business!

What is the Size of Your Staff?

You should be looking for a stable managed IT service partner who employs enough people to provide the services you need to keep your business up and running — every day. For example, their help desk should have enough people to provide you with the support you need, when you need it. What’s more, the help desk support staff should be actual dedicated help desk personnel and not field technicians who get called to fill in.

What Kind of IT Specialists Do You Have on Staff?

IT professionals love technology and generally will say “yes” to any technological problem, even if they lack the expertise. Most IT support companies have “jacks of all trades” on staff who are good at some things, but not great at any one area of specialty. This can lead to complexity, wasted time, project overruns, and overall bad service. To gauge the best fit for your business, look for providers with experience in your particular industry and the specialty services you need to run your business.

How are Help Desk Issues Prioritized?

What you’re looking for is a managed IT provider who understands that every issue has a different level of “criticalness.” If an IT firm gives every job equal priority, like first-come-first-serve, that’s a bad sign. Systems issues that are more critical require higher levels of attention to avoid IT disasters.

What is Your Average Response Time to Client Job Requests or Help Issues?

Does the firm offer a service-time guarantee? A solid IT support contract guarantees someone from the managed IT firm will respond to problems and requests within a given period of time. Without that promise, your company can be left hanging with IT problems indefinitely.

Ask Gulf South Technology Solutions any of these questions. We think you’ll like our answers.