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May 9, 2017
Managed IT services can provide a number of benefits. It’s a cost-effective option that can provide tailored solutions to your IT needs. But all managed service providers are not alike. It doesn’t matter if you have an on-premise data center or a hybrid setup, the question still remains: how do you find a reliable, trustworthy service provider to handle your sensitive data needs?
To find the right managed service provider you will need to do your research. These five questions will help you determine if the provider can meet your needs.
1) How can you help with a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Understand that many managed service providers will likely:
a) tell you they have a good disaster recovery plan
b) refer to it as a backup solution
Both of these cases are full of half truths. A proper disaster recovery plan should include your company and the service provider working in tandem. A disaster recovery plan can have a basic principle behind it, but it should always cater to your individual needs. Disaster recovery plans are more than just backing up your data. They are a fine set of protocols designed by your company to get back up and running in a worst case scenario. The plan will include training of certain employees, periodic test scenarios, and an allocated person in charge if there is a disaster.
2) What kind of Security do you offer for my data?
Again, this is a good question and you may get mixed results. First, it’s important to know that security is not in the hands of the managed service provider. It is a joint effort between the provider and the company. One of the nastiest cybersecurity issues right now is ransomware, and in most cases, this virus gets into the network because an employee clicked a link in an email.
This, of course, is not something the managed provider can prevent, but the provider can tell you who clicked the link. The provider will help you to develop a strategy to train employees on what and what not to do. Providers do have their safeguards to protect your data, and these safeguards will be top-of-the-line encryption, anti-virus programs, and other tools of the trade. Before signing on with a provider it is important to find out what they can do, and what they can help you do.
3) How Flexible are you when it comes to meeting my needs?
You don’t want to pay for services you don’t need. If you temporarily need extra services make sure to read the fine print from your provider, or better yet find out ahead of time. It is important to know if you require something for one month that they are not going to charge you a minimum of three months for the service.
4) What happens to My Data if I leave?
This is very important. You want to make sure your data is safe at all times. This means if you decide to change your service provider you want the data transferred properly and destroyed afterward. This is very important for insurance companies. You cannot have customer data sitting around on an old server that you no longer have access to. Most managed service providers will work with the new provider and make sure your data is transferred with no hassles, but it is still a good idea to get it in writing.
5) What are my Accessibility Options?
This question is twofold. To start, you want to make sure the company is operating 24 hours a day. In most cases they are, and they will tell you they are accessible 7 days a week as well. Be sure you understand how accessible they really are, give them an example of a situation, such as, you are working late at night and your server crashes at 10 p.m. Will there be someone you can call about the problem so it is up and running that night, or before the start of business the next day?
It’s also important to know if there are options for your mobile devices. If you want to connect with your tablet or laptop for work purposes then you want to have the ability to access your records anywhere you can connect to the Internet.
These are just some of the questions to ask a service provider before you sign a contract with them. Make sure the managed service providers answer your questions in a way you understand. If they are not talking to in a way you understand and they are not willing to explain the details, then you may want to look somewhere else. Get a free assessment from TOSS C3 today and get all your questions answered.
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