5 Questions Every Business Leader Should Ask Before Choosing a Managed Services Provider

Managed services make a lot of sense for smaller organizations that cannot afford to maintain their own in-house computing infrastructure yet still need the level of functionality enjoyed by larger enterprises. Furthermore, outsourcing your IT offers a great way to improve scalability, mobility, and flexibility — three extremely important factors for any growing business.

While partnering with an MSP makes sense for SMBs, it’s not a decision to take lightly. That’s why you’ll want to ask the following questions before making a commitment:

#1. What Is Your Uptime Record?

Unexpected downtime has become a major cause of concern now that businesses are so heavily reliant on technology. One of the advantages of outsourcing your IT is that it provides proactive care and maintenance, but that doesn’t mean all MSPs have a great track record when it comes to service uptime.

Top-quality MSPs and cloud providers state their minimum guaranteed service uptime in nines. For example, an uptime of three nines (or 99.9%) translates into a downtime of just over 10 minutes per week, which should be fine for most systems.

#2. Are You Familiar with My Industry?

One of the red flags to look out for when evaluating potential IT service provider is a lack of specialized industry expertise. One-size-fits-all solutions are rarely effective since they fail to consider the specific challenges facing your business and industry.

A dependable MSP should focus on a selection of industries, with larger companies often providing expertise across a wide range of sectors. What’s important is that they can demonstrate an intimate knowledge of your industry, so they can provide a tailored experience that’s made to suit your business.

#3. Which Security Measures Do You Take?

Cybersecurity has become the concern of the century, which is why many business leaders are more hesitant than ever about having a third party take care of their data. Fortunately, cloud services typically offer better security, since vendors have reached economies of scale that give them access to the best administrative, technological, and physical security measures in the industry. That doesn’t mean you should take it for granted, however.

Any service-level agreement (SLA) should clearly state which security measures will be in place to protect your data, including access rights, data tenancy information and encryption protocols for use when data is either in transit or in storage.

#4. Are Your Systems Compliant with Industry Regulations?

Failing to meet your industry compliance obligations can leave your business open to fines, legal action, and reputation damage. Unfortunately, you can’t simply pass on the responsibility to a third party either, since it’s up to you to choose vendors and IT solutions that align their practices and technologies to regulations facing your industry.

Industry compliance is another reason why familiarity with your line of business is so crucial. For example, a healthcare provider will need to ensure that any cloud storage vendor they choose to work with is HIPAA-compliant. Again, proof of compliance should be clearly stated in the SLA.

#5. Where and How Will My Data Be Stored?

When evaluating potential cloud providers, it’s imperative that they are transparent about where and how your data is stored. If it’s to be stored in another state or country, for example, it might be subject to additional compliance regulations and security protocols. You’ll also want to know how your data will be kept physically — will it reside on systems shared with other tenants, or will you have a dedicated off-site server in which you don’t share any storage resources or other hardware with other customers?

Zeta Sky helps businesses in and around Rancho Cucamonga with dependable IT consulting, cloud computing solutions, and managed services. Call us today to take advantage of our robust IT solutions.

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