08 Sep How good is your IT support?
The question above can be difficult to answer. How do you accurately assess the performance of an IT support provider beyond SLA commitments and response and resolution targets? What should your expectations be? Are you getting value for money? Is your provider underdelivering?
In this article we’ll set out some of the expectations it’s reasonable to have of any IT provider. This will help you answer the questions above, and determine whether you’re getting a good deal from your managed services contract.
Your provider should be helping you plan for the future
When implementing IT changes, many organisations do not involve their MSP in the decision-making and consultative process in any way. While the final decision on any capital spend lies with your organisation’s management, seeking the advice of your MSP is always a good first move as they’ll likely be able to foresee obstacles and offer wisdom based on extensive experience. Your provider should have an in-depth understanding of your current setup, and should therefore be able to weave any new solutions seamlessly into that framework.
If your provider is absent and standoffish when you want to discuss your future direction, it’s a sign they don’t invest heavily in quality, long-term relationships. They should be amenable to your suggestions, and offer guidance and practical support where necessary to bring your ambitions to life.
Your provider should be helping you manage IT spend
While you hold the purse strings, your IT provider should not be divorced from the commercial realities of your IT system. They should have a sound understanding of your current spend, and be able to create spending projections based on any upcoming changes.
A good provider will be aware of the costs, but an excellent provider will look for ways to save you money. They’ll examine recurring costs like ISP contracts and carrier services in the context of industry standards to ensure you’re getting a good deal. They should also be cognizant of tech lifecycle, subscription renewal and vendor contract costs, and proactively seek ways to manage your infrastructure as cost efficiently as possible.
An IT provider with no commercial awareness could become a liability in the long run, as they’re likely to proffer solutions based on little understanding of the cost/value implications for your business.
Your provider should operate with a “security first” mindset
This may sound obvious, but many IT providers simply don’t take security seriously enough. Your provider should have the ability to audit your IT environment for latent vulnerabilities. They should then offer a suite of technical tools designed to sure-up your cyber defences, and keep sensitive data securely within the confines of your network. Educating and advising on security best practice should be second nature to them, and help should be on-hand to ensure your team can access the resources they need in a way that keeps the bad actors at bay. Additionally, they should be willing to develop a comprehensive data backup and continuity plan, designed to ensure easy data recoverability following a catastrophic event.
In our turbulent world it can be all too easy to forget about data security obligations under the GDRP, but the legislation hasn’t gone away and neither have the legal and financial implications of non-compliance. An IT provider with a lax approach to security could leave your business in ruin should you suffer a serious data breach.
Your provider should manage software licences and communicate with vendors
It’s not unreasonable to expect your IT provider to manage software licenses on your behalf. They can ensure you’re up to date, and see to it that you’re not paying for services you don’t need.
Similarly, it’s also fair to expect your provider to communicate with vendors should problems with third-party systems arise. They are after all, supposed to manage your technology for you, so why should you have do the legwork to get issues resolved?
Ultimately, outsourcing IT should make your life easier. Your IT partner should take ownership of the little administrative chores associated with your network so that you can focus on running your business.
A few more “test questions”…
Do they help you understand the solutions they deploy?
Your provider should have a detailed understanding of the solutions they provide and be available to help you get the most out of them. Support, advice and guidance should be part of the service as standard!
Do they enquire about your business?
At the beginning of your contract, your provider should have taken the time to gain a thorough understanding of your business; from operational constraints right through to compliance obligations. They should also be maintaining this level of curiosity up to the present day to ensure that their offering to you meets your operational, business and compliance goals.
Do they invest in their own team?
Your provider should be continually investing in training and development to ensure they’re equipped with the skills the modern IT sector demands. Technology is constantly evolving, and your provider should be able to deliver the most up-to-date, and in-demand solutions with expert technical competence.
MODERN TECHNOLOGY TO HELP YOU THRIVE SECURELY
Technology is pivotal to your business and we want you to understand the value it provides when it is allowed to work seamlessly with your operations on the most updated tools available. Apogee values transparency and simplicity – we provide the IT support you need when you need it. Within this support is the guarantee that your technology is secure against all manner of cyber threats, that it is operationally beneficial to the way you run your business and is always updated to the latest version. We will work alongside you and guide you into a secure, brighter future with technology as your ally. Contact us now to find out how we can help you.