As you’ve been following along, you have a clearer idea of what outsourcing your IT responsibilities to a managed service provider entails. But before you meet with an MSP and take the next step, we recommend asking the following fifty-six questions. Not just to the potential provider, but also ask your staff, mainly if your company employs an in-house IT team.
What is your average network uptime performance?
Do you have a list of tiered features and capabilities?
Do you offer on-site hours built into the regular contractual fee?
What metrics do you use to assess speed, reliability and overall performance?
Is there enough flexibility to add or remove service offerings based on my business needs?
Are you able to diagnose and remedy service issues remotely without the client’s IT team intervention?
Do you offer customized solutions for different businesses regarding growth plans and achievable goals?
Which software, professional services automation (PSA) or remote monitoring management (RMM) runs your managed services operation?
How is my data retrieved should my contract be terminated?
Can a break clause be initiated should I decide to terminate my contract?
Is your service level agreement consistent for all customers or is this negotiable?
Does contract flexibility include monthly and annual payments with capping on yearly rate hikes?
Can you provide a comparison detailing the cost of on-premises versus cloud solutions over time?
Will I need to purchase additional infrastructure when your managed services work with my business?
Does your fee structure cover additional cost management that notifies when new charges get applied?
Do you include an assessment of IT infrastructure before providing projected Service fees?
If so, is this a separate cost?
Who will have access to my data?
What methods do you use to protect data?
Will my competitors be able to see my data?
What redundancy gets built into the solution?
Who owns my data if it gets hosted at your facility?
How are data backups and disaster recovery handled?
What happens to my data if you go out of business, are sold to or merge with another firm?
What measures and processes are in place to protect my data against security breaches or data leaks?
Ultimately, who is responsible for my data? You as the MSP, a third party, or me as the business owner?
Do you host multiple clients on the same systems, in a multi-tenant environment or exclusivity in-area?
Do you run your service operations through a 3rd party hosting providers or data centers? If so, can you provide or validate these?
How do you train ad-hoc support?
Do you employ a dedicated staff, or ad-hoc?
Can I meet the team members providing my support?
How many years have you been providing IT managed services?
Would you classify yourselves as experts in IT Managed Services?
What is your level of expertise in my industry regarding regulatory compliance requirements?
What industry credentials or certifications, does your company, and your technical staff carry?
How does your IT service desk team stay current with new technology developments and trends?
Are your IT managed services primarily what you do or are they an add-on service to your business?
Will you provide references and phones numbers to customers that are still doing business with you?
What percentage of your business gets dedicated to managed services versus other business models?
When I’m required to provide an audit trail showing compliance, how does your company handled that?
How is support provided?
How are complex issues escalated?
What are the hours of emergency support?
What are the satisfaction levels with your customer help desk?
Will you provide references to call from any existing customers?
Do you offer on-site support hours as part of the contractual fee?
What are the first, second and third line parameters for escalation?
May we discuss your managed service support levels with existing clients?
Is emergency support available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?
Do you include channels such as telephone, email, portal access, and live chat?
What percentage of issues are confirmed as resolved at first contact by your helpdesk?
Do you offer traditional break or fix support for hardware, software and other infrastructure?
What type of training is provided, by your company, for my in-house IT staff to educate them?
How do I guarantee the return on my investment covering Support and organizational IT knowledge?
Now that you have reviewed the fifty-four questions to ask when considering IT managed services, the answers you receive, from the managed service provider and your staff, will give you a clear picture of the direction to go in and what to expect as you move forward.