Outsourced IT, also known as managed IT services, has become the go-to business practice for a number of businesses of all shapes and sizes. And with good reason. Working with a managed IT services firm has several compelling benefits:
- Over half of businesses use a third-party support team
- Of these, almost 80% feel positive about their third-party partners
- The leading reason (for 70% of survey respondents) for outsourced IT is cost savings
- Almost one quarter of small businesses outsource to increase efficiency in their business
- IT outsourcing spending is expected to exceed $1.3 trillion by the end of next year
While the business case for working with an outsourced IT partner is airtight, not all outsourced IT partners are created equal, and it can be challenging to know if your organization is partnering with the right one. Here we share 5 questions to keep top of mind as you embark on your outsourced IT journey.
What is outsourced IT?
IT outsourcing is the practice of outsourcing some or all of your business technology to an external third-party expert, commonly referred to as a managed services provider (MSP), IT service provider, or IT consultant. Companies use IT outsourcing to reduce labor and business costs, fill service gaps, improve operational efficiencies, and to allow them to focus on the core aspects of their company. When used correctly, outsourcing is an effective cost-cutting strategy and can even give a company a competitive advantage.
5 Questions you should ask an outsourced IT provider
1. Can you choose what is included in your managed IT services agreement?
A: It depends on the provider. The standard managed services package should include things like help desk, basic maintenance, system updates, 24/7 monitoring, and remote IT support, but a wide range of additional services can be added as needed.
2. What additional support services should we outsource to an IT partner?
A: One of the primary reasons why companies move to an outsourced managed IT model is the need for more technical and cybersecurity expertise. With more need for cloud-based services and business communications systems like voice over IP (VoIP), it’s important to consider a company that has expertise in these areas as well.
3. What are some of the cybersecurity educational credentials that an MSP should have in order to ensure they are best qualified and up to speed?
A: Vulnerabilities and cyberthreats evolve quickly. It’s critical to have an IT provider with staff that has the right credentials. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation is widely considered as the gold standard of designations in the cybersecurity world. Other leading credentials include the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) designation, Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and CompTIA Security +. If your provider claims to provide cybersecurity services, you should expect they have employees with these credentials on staff.
4. What are some of the cloud solution factors to consider when working with an outsourced IT company?
A: There is no one-size-fits-all cloud solution. IT providers who make the assertion that there is likely do not have the cloud expertise to provide adequate service. Instead, an IT provider with cloud expertise will ask you about:
· Applications you use
· Bandwidth requirements
· Accessibility and security
· Business continuity and disaster recovery needs
5. What if my organization is unhappy with their current outsourced IT provider?
A: This happens. Sometimes there is a misalignment in expectations or the customer service level isn’t on par with what you need. Or perhaps you simply feel they don’t understand your business and are not the right MSP to support your longer-term organizational growth plans. If it’s time for a new outsourced IT provider, book a no-obligation review of your business systems.
Above all, your IT company should be a business partner in helping your organization achieve its goals. VersaTrust has been serving Texas-based businesses for over 25 years as a true IT partner. Contact us to learn more about the true value that the right outsourced IT partner can bring to your organization.