Did You Know? Most Managed Service Providers Do Not Provide Managed Services
Some companies who advertise and promote themselves as managed services providers are not being entirely transparent. In fact, most of them do not actually provide managed services. Don’t rely on the Internet’s definition of managed services. Make sure you’re not putting your business at risk and overpaying. Here’s what you should expect.
What is Managed Services Exactly?
The Internet defines it as IT tasks performed by a third-party contractor. Guess what. That alone does not actually define managed services.
Managed services can be seen as full technical support under a service agreement with specified rates. The managed services provider takes responsibility for its client’s network and provides regular preventative maintenance of their systems. Basically, a managed services provider takes control of your IT department, making sure to continually manage your systems. It’s a turnkey solution with full accountability…at least it should be.
So beware! Yes, managed service is a form of outsourced IT. However, not all forms of outsourced IT is actually managed services.
What tools should your managed services include?
There are certain things that all managed services providers should include in their service package in order for it to be considered actual managed services.
Patch management is acquiring, testing, and installing multiple code changes, which are called patches, to administered computer systems. A good managed services provider will install and run all patches in their own network and only apply them on the client’s systems once validated and fully tested.
Your managed services provider should have remote access to your system, meaning that they have access no matter where they are for quick action and effective monitoring. This is especially critical during emergency situations when serve is needed immediately. An even more crucial aspect of remote access is security. Does your provider use 2-form authentification? Every step must be taking to keep your date secure and these steps must be explained to you.
Monitoring means that your managed services provider doesn’t just check in when something is wrong, but they constantly check and manage your systems to observe any changes that could occur over time. Your managed services provider should always be aware of the state of your system.
Your managed services provider should be available at all times, more or less. If you need something, they should be on-call for you, available for questions, concerns, or complaints (constructive criticism is always best!).
Managing and Maintenance Are Crucial
Any outsourced IT can use tools, but what most managed service providers fail to do is truly manage their clients’ systems. Does your managed services provider perform regular and proactive monthly maintenance? A lot of them don’t.
Are your backups performed daily?
A true managed services provider will perform your backups on a daily basis. Are your backups being done on a daily? Make sure to ask your provider how often they backup your systems. Don’t give away the right answer, give them a chance to come up with it!
Are your backups being tested on a regular basis?
When was the last time you performed a restore test of your data? One of the most important things a managed services provider should be doing for their clients are backup tests. Guess what, more providers skip that step entirely. What if you tried to access your backup only to realize that the backup was faulty? That’s why it’s so important to regularly test your backups to ensure that the data you are storing is actually there and accessible. Ask your provider when was the last time they tested your backups.
Don’t gamble with your IT!
In sum, your managed services provider is wholly responsible for your systems. If they crash and the maintenance and management wasn’t done properly, the managed services provider is completely responsible and can be held accountable, potentially even sued. Find out if your managed services provider is actually what they say they are and are actually managing and maintaining your systems.