As a business owner or manager, you know how critical having a reliable, efficient, and secure IT infrastructure is to your bottom line. Managed services can help you achieve these objectives through proactive IT management, support, and maintenance.
A comprehensive managed services questionnaire can help you gain valuable insights into an IT service provider’s capabilities and services so you can find the right MSP for your business.
Questions about Price and Contract
It is essential to understand how the MSP prices its services and what is included in its fees. Some questions you should ask your MSP to understand their pricing model include:
1. What Price Structure Do You Use?
Some providers charge a flat monthly fee, while others charge based on the number of devices or users. Understanding the pricing structure upfront ensures you’re getting good value for your money.
At National Technology Management (NTM), we provide a flexible pricing structure that can be tailored to meet the evolving needs of your organization as it grows.
2. Are There Any Co-Management Options?
Co-management options refer to the ability of a client to retain control over certain critical aspects of their IT operations while delegating other responsibilities to an IT service provider. This model can be more cost-effective than full MSP management and is ideal for supplementing a business with a dedicated IT department.
NTM offers co-management options and can work with clients to develop a plan that complements their IT setup without duplicating work.
3. Is There a Service-Level Agreement?
A service-level agreement (SLA) outlines which services you can expect from your MSP and to what level they are performed. It includes information about response times, uptime guarantees, and other key metrics. An SLA ensures you receive the service level needed to keep your business running smoothly.
NTM provides SLAs as part of its onboarding process and continuously reviews and updates it to ensure it aligns with client expectations.
4. Will You Include an IT Infrastructure Assessment Before Providing a Quote for Service Fees? Is There a Separate Fee for This?
Before an MSP can provide an accurate quote for their services, they need to understand your existing IT infrastructure. Some providers offer a complimentary assessment as part of their service, while others charge an additional fee.
At NTM, we conduct an initial survey of a client’s business location to assess their IT infrastructure needs. This assessment is included in the onboarding process at no additional cost.
Questions about Data Management
To ensure the security and confidentiality of your data, it is crucial to comprehend how the MSP manages it and what measures they have in place to safeguard it. Ask your MSP the following questions to learn how they manage your data:
5. Who Has Access to My Data?
Data security is a top concern for businesses, and knowing who will access your data is critical. Make sure that your MSP has strong security protocols in place to protect your data and that they have policies in place regarding who can access it.
6. What Data Protection Methods Do You Use?
MSPs should have robust cybersecurity measures to protect your data from unauthorized access, theft, or loss. At National Technology Management, we follow the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework to manage and reduce your risk.
7. How Do You Handle Data Backups and Disaster Recovery?
Asking an MSP about their data backup and disaster recovery approach is essential for ensuring the safety and accessibility of your company’s critical information. Without a strong backup and disaster recovery plan, businesses risk losing valuable data, facing extended downtime, and potentially compromising their operations and customer trust.
At NTM, to ensure data is protected, we use a combination of backup techniques such as full, incremental, and differential backups to ensure data is protected. We also employ offsite data storage, cloud-based backup solutions, and virtualization technology to ensure rapid and complete recovery in a disaster.
8. What Redundancy Gets Built into the Backup Solution?
Redundancy in the backup solution means multiple copies of the data are stored in different locations to safeguard against data loss in case of a disaster or system failure. Knowing the level of redundancy in the backup solution helps a business evaluate the MSP’s approach to data protection and make an informed decision about their services.
At NTM, hourly data backups, geo-diverse data center storage, and cloud-based restoration points ensure your data is never lost.
9. What Processes Do You Use To Protect My Data Against Cybersecurity and Data Breaches?
Ask the MSP about their cybersecurity measures and processes to protect your data against cyber threats. The MSP should have a robust cybersecurity plan and follow industry best practices to mitigate cyber risks and minimize the likelihood of data breaches.
At NTM, we provide a comprehensive range of cybersecurity measures, such as multi-factor authentication, email encryption, threat detection, ransomware rollback, and security awareness and phishing training to safeguard your data against any unexpected data leaks or breaches.
Questions about MSP’s Capabilities and Credibility
Thoroughly assessing the MSP’s capabilities and qualifications before committing to a partnership is crucial. Consider asking the following questions:
10. For How Long Have You Provided IT-Managed Services?
A service provider’s time in business can indicate their credibility and experience. A provider in business for several years may better understand industry trends, challenges, and solutions. A provider with a long history may also have a proven track record of success and satisfied clients.
11. What Industry Certifications Does Your Staff Carry?
Industry certifications and credentials indicate a provider’s knowledge and expertise in specific areas. For example, a provider with cybersecurity, cloud computing, or networking certifications may be better equipped to handle complex IT issues.
If a provider’s technical staff holds certifications from vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco, or Amazon Web Services, they typically have a deeper understanding of the technologies involved.
12. What is Your Level of Expertise in Our Industry Compliance Requirements?
Regulatory compliance requirements vary depending on the industry. Failure to comply with regulatory standards can cause significant penalties and legal consequences, making it essential to partner with an MSP with experience in your industry and who can help you navigate these regulations.
At National Technology Management, we have experience working with clients in various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and cannabis seed-to-sale. We are familiar with regulatory compliances such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and PCI.
13. How Does Your Company Handle an Audit Trail Showing Compliance?
If your business is subject to compliance audits, ensure you work with a provider that can help you meet compliance standards. An MSP should have the appropriate documentation, monitoring, and reporting capabilities to ensure businesses can provide an audit trail when required. This ensures that a business’s IT infrastructure complies with regulations, reducing the risk of fines, legal action, and reputational damage.
Questions about MSP’s Support Model
Once you’ve established an MSP’s credibility, the next step is to determine whether its support model aligns with your company’s IT needs. Consider asking the following questions:
14. How is IT Support Provided?
Some providers offer support through a help desk, while others provide on-site support. Understanding the support model of an MSP can help you determine whether they are a good fit for your business.
15. Do You Offer On-Site Support Hours as Part of the Contractual Fee?
If you require on-site support, ask potential providers beforehand about their availability and pricing. Some providers may include a certain number of on-site support hours as part of their contract, while others may charge extra for this service.
Ask about the provider’s response time for on-site support and whether technicians are available in your area.
16. Is Emergency Support Available 24/7?
Access to emergency support is critical if your business operates outside regular business hours or requires constant uptime. Ask potential providers about their availability and response time for emergency support, including whether technicians are available on weekends and holidays.
NTM provides top-tier 24×7 emergency support, seven days a week, to end-users, using enterprise-grade tools that are closely monitored by highly skilled IT professionals.
Questions about Developing the Service
To understand how an MSP can help develop and improve your IT infrastructure over time, ask the following questions to gain insight into their approach to service:
17. What is Your Average Network Uptime Performance?
Uptime refers to the percentage of time that a system is available and operational. Network uptime is a critical metric that determines the reliability of your IT infrastructure. Any downtime or service interruption can cause lost productivity, revenue, and customer trust.
In general, an MSP should strive to achieve a network uptime rate of at least 99.9% or higher. A high uptime rate ensures that businesses can operate efficiently and effectively. Ask potential MSPs about their average uptime performance and how they ensure that their clients’ systems are always up and running.
18. Are You Able to Diagnose and Remedy Service Issues Remotely?
Asking an MSP if they can diagnose and fix service issues remotely is important to ensure quick resolution and minimize downtime. Remote support can save time and resources by allowing MSPs to troubleshoot and resolve issues without the need for an on-site visit or IT team intervention. This can help businesses understand the MSP’s capabilities and level of support, ensuring that they can quickly and efficiently address any service issues that arise.
19. What Metrics Do You Use to Assess Speed, Reliability, and Overall Performance?
To ensure that your IT systems are performing optimally, your MSP should have metrics in place to measure and track performance. This includes metrics for speed, reliability, uptime, and response times, among others.
A good MSP should have a robust monitoring and reporting system that provides real-time insights into your IT performance. Ask potential MSPs about the metrics they use and how they report performance to clients.
20. Do You Have a List of Tiered Features and Capabilities?
Managed services providers offer different tiers of service depending on their client’s needs and budgets. Typically, MSPs offer basic, standard, and premium tiers with varying levels of features and capabilities.
Ensure you choose an MSP that can offer a service tier that meets your specific needs and budget. Ask potential MSPs about their service tiers, what features and capabilities are included in each tier, and how they determine which tier is suitable for your business.
Choose National Technology Management for Premium Managed IT Services
At National Technology Management, we offer premium managed IT services that are customized to meet the unique needs of your business. With our comprehensive range of services and expert team of professionals, you can trust us to take care of your IT needs, so you can focus on growing your business.
Contact us today for a complimentary consultation and to request the managed services questionnaire to help you evaluate your IT needs.
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