You’ve identified an area of your business where you can gain measurable benefits by migrating to a cloud solution. Whether it’s unified communications, disaster recovery, or security, a managed services provider can help you reduce costs, improve scalability, and utilize the latest features in a subscription-based model.
Managed IT services also reduce the burden on your in-house team, but there are five critical questions you should ask a managed services provider before signing with them:
What Is My Security Responsibility?
Companies often face confusion about where the responsibility falls for data, whether it is in storage or transit. Ensure your managed services provider clearly spells out the security measures they are taking, and which areas are left to be covered by you. Often, what is truly being asked is, “Who pays the bill?” Enduring a significant security breach, downtime, lost sales, and loss of your reputation is costly, especially if you are solely responsible for fixing it.
It’s important to remember that the data is yours, so you hold the ultimate responsibility.
From a cyber security perspective, you should find out whether there are different levels of service in the case of a widespread attack. In other words, how do they determine which customers get priority? In addition, you need a solid sense of your risk posture and how you will address downtime if your provider is also part of a widespread attack.
What Is Your Disaster Recovery Strategy?
Every business needs a plan for disaster, and your managed services provider is no different. The same events that make you vulnerable could also impact your provider. Make sure they have plans that align well with your own.
In addition to disasters, you should also consider the potential for your IT services provider to go out of business. If that were to happen, how much notice would they provide?
How Does the Service-Level Agreement Hold Up?
First, take the service-level agreement (SLA) to an attorney specializing in these types of agreements. Find out from the lawyers if any language in the contract is unclear or leaves room for problems in interpretation. In addition, you should look at the downtime guarantee in the service-level agreement and then ask to talk with some current customers to see what their actual downtime is.
Can I See a Copy of an Actual Invoice?
A managed services provider will likely have customers with a similar size and scope of business in your industry. Ask to see an example invoice so you can get a sense of whether the price you have been quoted includes any potential hidden fees. Items like cold data retrieval fees can quickly make what originated as a cost-savings decision to switch to a cloud solution into a financially poor one.
Before signing with a managed services provider, it’s a good idea to ask a full range of questions about items like vendor lock-in and how much control you will have over your systems. To learn more about asking the right questions, contact us at Independent Connections.