When your company needs technical support, hiring a managed service provider (MSP) can be an ideal solution. Even when you have in-house IT, you should still have the support of backups, system protection and tech auditing that an MSP offers from the outside. Whether you are a huge enterprise level company that has been around for years or a one-man-shop startup, you would benefit from a good MSP. But, how do you know which IT provider is right for you?

There are a lot of MSP options and finding a good fit can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. If you are looking for a managed IT services provider, here are six questions you should be asking:

What does managed IT services cost in Calgary?

Know what the price will be and what services are included as a part of your managed IT services. Most IT companies have tiers because small businesses don’t always need the same level of service that a large company would require. You should have a clear understanding of the price breakdown and not get surprised with extra costs and fees each month. It seems like a fundamental question, but if you get a complicated or unclear answer, then you should steer clear. A good MSP will provide you with a clear plan and a flat rate that doesn’t change. You don’t want to face surprises or pay more than you expected with an MSP that varies their charges from month-to-month.

What hardware and software are recommended for my business?

When you get a consultation, a good MSP like CTech will lay out a plan that provides you with the details on recommended upgrades. From software to hardware, you should have a clear understanding of what will be replaced and how much it will cost. If a company comes in wanting to do a complete overhaul of your equipment without first auditing your current infrastructure—steer clear! We act as your business partners, working for the good of your company. We are not here to nickel and dime you—we want to work with what you already have as much as we can. Most of the time, replacing a few machines or adding some new software is the extent of what we find necessary for a new client.

What kind of IT support is provided?

Is your managed IT service provider going to be there when something goes wrong? At CTech, you can count on us to be available and supporting your systems around the clock. We are also available to answer your questions—no matter how big or small—without any additional charges. Our comprehensive support provides expert assistance on any device you use in your business. We know your machines and can help you if any problems do occur.

Is support in-house or outsourced?

You want a team that is available to assist you—especially if you run into any problems. Most clients find they have a better experience when they are talking to in-house support and not an outsourced help desk. You want to talk to a professional that knows your business and preferred processes.

What is your experience in providing IT services for Calgary small business?

If your MSP can’t give you examples and recommendations of previous clients, then you will want to back away slowly. You need to know that your managed IT services will be effective and trustworthy because a breach or significant downtime is something you can’t afford. Not only should your MSP be experienced, but they should be used to working with businesses in the same industry and of similar size. Some tech solution companies specialized with certain types of companies and their solutions are going to line up with that. You want to be sure that your MSP will understand the challenges you face every day and has the knowledge to back you completely.

What technician will I be working with?

Don’t get caught off guard with a bait-and-switch. Some providers will introduce you to top-level technicians, only to have an entirely different team working on your account after you sign the service agreement. Ask to be introduced to your technician and make sure you feel you can trust him or her. Find out what certifications they hold or how versed they are in your industry.

What happens if my technician leaves my MSP?

You will likely get used to working with a specific person, but what if your engineer leaves? Your MSP should guarantee to cross-train so that you are still supported 24/7 by the company in the event of a service shift. Ask your MSP how many technicians are currently on board and find out what strategies are in place if one leaves without notice.

What processes are used to ensure the company or organization is compliant?

Almost every industry faces regulations of so kind or another when it comes to keeping their visitors, clients and customers protected online. Educational departments will need to stay in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Businesses and organizations need to keep up-to-date with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and changes made by the Digital Privacy Act. If your MSP isn’t keeping up with the regulations required, your business or organization could face a significant problem. Make sure you ask your IT company how they keep you protected with compliance. This is just one more reason you need to find a company offering managed IT services that has knowledge and experience with your industry.

Do you need help with your IT department? Let us answer all your questions and find out how we can help you support your business with technology solutions and security.