Tips For Working Effectively With Managed Service Providers
Working with a managed service provider (MSP) is arguably one of the best decisions you can make for your organization. Faster response time, enhanced cybersecurity, and reduced downtime are just a few benefits you can enjoy by working with an MSP.
However, you must keep in mind that these benefits aren’t something you can reap without putting in the effort. Your relationship with an MSP is by no means one-sided, where only the MSP takes action. You, as the client, must also take steps to improve your relationship and coordinate your plans. So, how do you work effectively with a managed service provider? Read on to find out.
Work out a data backup strategy with your MSP
From the moment you enter into a relationship with a managed service provider until the day you offboard them, you’ll have to work with the agency to accomplish various projects. Among these, working out a data backup strategy is perhaps the most critical project, and here’s why: (1)
- Most organizations depend on information pertaining to their operations. If you lose your information, you’ll experience a massive deficit in your day-to-day operations.
- Even the most secure IT system in the world can suffer from data loss.
- Natural disasters, which are completely unavoidable, can cause data loss.
- Data loss not only causes your operations to suffer, but it may also ruin your reputation. (1)
Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, establishing a data backup strategy is by no means easy. For that reason, rather than leaving it in the hands of your MSP, it would help if you coordinate with an IT managed services agency. After all, as they say, two heads are better than one.
Make use of free consultations
Regular interaction is an essential element of a healthy relationship. This holds true with MSPs as well. Unfortunately, IT support agencies aren’t exactly the most interactive service providers, especially if your organization rarely encounters IT issues.
So, how do you encourage positive interactions with your managed services IT provider? Although not all managed IT solutions offer free consultations, some of them do. If your current MSP extends this service, naturally, you’d want to take advantage of it. These free consultations will essentially allow you to interact with your MSP as much as possible. (2)
Furthermore, these consultations may come in handy if you want to discuss important matters with the agency, such as your next big project. Through these free consultations, your MSP may also provide various tips and propose strategies to improve your IT systems. Overall, free consultations are extremely useful services that you most definitely want to put to good use.
Understand that an MSP is not a replacement
A common misunderstanding when it comes to MSPs is that these service providers are meant to replace an organization’s in-house IT department, but that’s not true in the slightest. Rather than acting as a replacement, MSPs must compliment your existing in-house IT team. For that reason, you mustn’t treat them as a replacement and expect them to perform the menial tasks or “grunt work” that an in-house IT staff member would typically perform. (2)
So, what are managed IT services providers supposed to do?
- Work out a data backup strategy or disaster recovery plan
- Identify potential threats and prevent cyberattacks on your IT systems
- Adopt technologies that may prove to be beneficial for your business
- Propose strategies that may lead to the betterment of your IT systems (2)
Keep in mind that depending on the terms and conditions you agreed upon with your MSP, their responsibilities may vary. For instance, you can hire a managed IT services provider specifically for its cybersecurity expertise or get an MSP to act as your organization’s help desk. (2)
Also, let this serve as a reminder that having an existing in-house IT department doesn’t necessarily mean you no longer need to work with an MSP. You can have both at the same time.
Define your metrics or requirements
Although asking too much from your MSP is, indeed, not advisable, you should, at least, define your metrics or minimum requirements. This would help your provider know what you expect from it. Examples of metrics you can set for your managed IT support services include:
- The average time it takes for the MSP to notify you of an IT incident
- The average time it takes for the MSP to resolve an IT incident
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score
- IT incidents prevented due to the MSP’s preventive monitoring (3)
While it may seem unreasonable on your side, you must keep in mind that most MSPs expect their clients to set out KPIs for their service. Therefore, this much should be understandable.
Final Thoughts & Takeaway
Although most managed service providers are affordable, they still cost money. Therefore, it’s only fitting that you make the most out of your investment, and you can do so in many ways. However, it’s worth noting that not all MSPs are worth your while. Some are simply not suitable for your organization. Let the tips above lead you toward working effectively with your managed service provider.
Work Out An Incident Response Strategy/Plan
While it is possible to minimize the likelihood of cyberattacks and other unfortunate incidents using unique keys and other strategies, eliminating the possibility altogether is not. (4)
Whatever preventive measures you have, a cyberattack will always be a possibility. That’s why you must have a plan in place in case a cyber security incident really does happen in your enterprise.
This is what an incident response plan is—a document that outlines your enterprise’s procedures in the event of a cyber security issue. By having a plan laid out for your team, they can deal with the incident more easily and effectively as they simply have to follow each step of the procedure. (4)
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- “Six reasons why data backups are crucial for your business”, Source: https://blogs.manageengine.com/corporate/general/2019/01/23/six-reasons-why-data-backups-are-crucial-for-your-business.html
- “8 ways to get the most from your managed service provider”, Source: https://www.cio.com/article/191641/8-ways-to-get-the-most-from-your-managed-service-provider.html
- “Managed Service Provider Metrics You Should Be Monitoring”, Source: https://www.optanix.com/managed-service-provider-metrics-you-should-be-monitoring/