Sydney Outsourced IT Services Blog
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Finding the right managed IT service provider to update your software and servers can be frustrating. Ask these questions to find the best fit.
Finding the best managed IT services provider for software and server updates can be daunting. However, with careful interviewing, you can find a provider who will partner with your business in maintaining your upgrades. It’s easy to make assumptions when looking for contractors to upgrade your software and servers. Packaged services don’t always include additional IT support, management, maintenance, and security needed for your company’s network during an upgrade. When you do agree to a contract, check carefully to make sure it contains what you need and nothing extra. Here are some questions for you to ask when interviewing a new provider.
1. Do you support security compliance?
Managed IT service providers support security compliance through package bundles which include a range of features and components. These features should include firewall configuration, vulnerability patching, incident response, intrusion detection systems (IDS), demilitarized zones (DMZs), intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and more. Depending on your industry and client list, you should have a good idea of the level of IT security necessary for your network to ensure compliance and proper security documentation.
2. Do you have references?
Having references is helpful only when you can compare your business to the referrers. The best references for you to see are from other companies that are the same size yours is and in a similar industry.
3. What are your specialties?
Managed IT service providers are always training in relevant systems and processes. Computer security issues are constantly in flux, and programs require frequent updates to block new ransomware, crypto-mining, and other malware. Find out whether they offer an inclusive price or flat rate for each upgrade to your software and server systems.
4. Do you provide a service-level agreement (SLA)?
The service-level agreement (SLA) is one of the most important factors in outsourcing your software and server upgrades. This agreement is where the managed IT service provider details the list of support actions they will provide including end-to-end program management and deliverables to your company.
The agreement should lay out how the provider will take on the project from your company, and deploy a small remote or on-site team to coordinate and complete the work. Included in the agreement are delivery dates, the effectiveness of the work, surveys to ensuring the quality of service, time frames for the availability of services, and service request response times.
6. What kind of experience do you have?
If you look at providers by price alone, you may find that you don’t get the expertise you need. It’s better to outsource your software and server upgrade needs to an expert that’s completed hundreds of projects successfully. Extract the most value from an experienced partner to gain peace of mind.
7. What is your reporting process?
Formal reporting should be listed in your SLA and include the standard set of reports provided and a timeline for the delivery of those reports. The frequency and scope of formal reports between the provider and in-house manager should take place according to the schedule. However, many providers also offer informal reports as work is completed.
8. What is your responsibility in the event of a disaster?
Disaster planning is crucial when it comes to business, and doubly so when discussing software and server upgrades. The disaster can be a natural one, a hurricane for example, or a criminal one such as theft. What is the plan if a natural disaster affects your business? What if it hits their business? How quickly would you be able to recover your records and your hardware? And what is the protocol in case of theft or cybercrime?
9. How much do you use automation?
Technology has made it possible for routine IT tasks to become automated, making it quicker and easier for monitoring and upgrading networks. Automation means that tasks don’t get missed and issues are evident much earlier, allowing for more time to update security protocols and inform you of security challenges with the latest upgrade.