The decision to select a managed service provider for your company is a critical decision. A good decision can help your company grow and avoid costly pitfalls. A bad one can jeopardize your investment and create risky business decisions. Choosing the wrong managed service provider can result in losing money instead of saving it. To avoid pitfalls and make the right decision, here are six things to keep in mind.
* Remote Support: A managed service provider should offer a range of remote support options, including support that is quick, effective, and onsite. This is particularly critical if you are using any server applications that require fast response times, or that rely on a wide variety of processes to run smoothly. If you only get assistance after a server crash, you could lose hours of work instead of minutes. Make sure you select a provider that offers real-time remote support and that your customers can access the help desk even without being online.
* Disaster Recovery: A managed service provider that has extensive disaster recovery plans will be able to recover from many server issues. Look for a provider that will monitor all patches and make sure that they are applied as needed. It also helps to have automated discovery and patching as well as notification for security and application updates. Some providers are so experienced that they offer real-time application and patching monitoring on their website. If you need real-time application and patching security scan reports, make sure you select a managed service provider that provides them.
* Proactive Security & Software Updates: It is important to choose a provider that takes proactive steps to keep your system secure. Choose a provider that routinely provides virus scans, intrusion detection, and security updates. A proactive approach to security means your system will stay up-to-date at all times. Some managed service providers that specialize in software and security might not offer this type of service but are better equipped to handle it in case it is needed.
* Patch Management: A managed service provider that manages and patches your servers will allow your staff to apply the latest patches as and when necessary. This includes installing, upgrading, and removing patches. If the managed provider you are considering cannot manage the patches or updates in-house, make sure they can provide quick access to the patches. Choose a provider that can provide an easy way to download and install patches.
* Onsite Backup & Service: One of the key factors in choosing a managed service provider should be their in-house or remote backup of data. Choose a provider that can provide you with both onsite (physical) backups and remote (electronically) backups. Make sure you select a provider that offers both kinds of backups and a method of automatic (as opposed to manual) backup. If your business has a high degree of computer network activity, then choose a managed service provider that provides state of the art technology for remote backup.
* Proactive Patch Management: By implementing a proactive patching system your businesses can save a lot of money by avoiding the need for expensive patches after a major software or hardware release. With a managed service provider that can provide the patches at no extra charge you can reduce your expenses associated with purchasing patches and updates. If the msps that your company uses can do the updates themselves then that would be even better. Your managed service provider should also be able to provide a feature-rich remote control interface that will allow administrators to perform patch management tasks. The administrator can patch, install, configure, and remove various applications and hardware on the network quickly and easily. Some msps solutions even offer centralized management capabilities for improved centralized monitoring and control.
When it comes to the cost of hosting a managed service provider vs. in-house it may seem like an easy decision. However in many cases the in-house solution can be much more economical and efficient. An in-house solution can involve the purchase of additional hardware, software and training for your employees, which can increase the costs associated with running your business. In addition to these costs the in-house solution would normally require additional staffing, which again could lead to a reduction in profits. For these reasons it may be a better option to outsource your managed services requirements to a managed service provider that can meet all of your needs while still providing higher performance at a lower overall cost. The overall efficiency of a managed services provider would otherwise be negatively impacted by the increased costs they incur in meeting your needs.