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How to choose a managed IT provider: a checklist for businesses

Your business needs IT support but doesn’t have a budget to build out your internal team. You’ve learned about your options, including a managed IT provider. But now you’re left with a ton of questions. Well, you might be asking what does the right managed IT provider look like? What would they do? How should they be assisting my IT needs? What exactly are the services they should be providing?

Deciding on the right managed IT provider is no easy task. It is important that you find one that fits and caters to the unique needs of your business, now and for the future. Here at Core Vision IT Solutions, we work with more than 80 clients that have dealt with these same concerns.

In order for businesses to find the best managed IT partner, we have developed a checklist to answer these questions. Our goal with this article is to arm you with the knowledge of how to choose the right managed IT provider. Ensuring that the companies you’re evaluating can help in each of the categories below will leave you with the assurance you’ve made the right decision.

Help desk accessible at all times

A help desk is a team of individuals that are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They are devoted to answering your technology questions and supporting all of your IT needs. Your managed IT provider should understand that technology problems never stop, so they should always be accessible for when you have an IT problem.

Proven credibility

Just as you’re selective about adding any new vendor or provider, you should go through the same process when selecting an IT provider.  You’ll want to know who they currently work with, what vendors do they partner with and why, and what do their current clients have to say about them. The right provider should have no trouble answering those questions and providing those references … and you should leave with nothing but confidence.

Proactive monitoring and prevention

Technology is like plumbing – small issues can build up and almost always become major issues if not addressed.  That’s why the right managed IT provider should be watching for those small issues and addressing them before they interrupt your business.  By actively monitoring for potential threats and watching for issues they will ultimately increase your business’s productivity and allow your team to work with fewer IT disturbances.

Data backup and disaster recovery services

Your technology systems can be crippled by any number of threats, potentially causing significant monetary loss and reputation damage.  Accidental data loss, equipment failures, cyber attacks, and natural disasters affect 20% of businesses every year. And when they do, from the Bureau of Labor says that about 80% of those businesses will go under in just over a year

So you need your managed IT provider to protect your business.  And they should be able to explain to you in simple terms how your systems are backed up, where your data is kept off-site, and what happens if your business is in that 20%. By doing this you can have peace of mind that even through disaster, your business is not at risk and can quickly recover.

Network security

Most small and mid-sized businesses don’t believe that they’re a target of cyberattacks. But the reality is that 44% of businesses with 50 employees or less have been attacked in the past 12 months.  Using automation, cybercriminals go after any business where they can find a weakness. And the end result can cost thousands or put you out of business.

The right managed IT provider will safeguard your company by providing a multi-layered security approach.  This should include network security, monitoring, endpoint protection, email phishing protection, multi-factor authentication, and other security measures to protect your business.

An IT strategy built around your needs

The foundation of any managed IT providers’ process should be first understanding your business, then assessing your requirements, and finally designing a strategy that is tailored to you. Then once that strategy is in place,  make sure they are willing to meet regularly to review your changing needs and adjust with your business. This is what defines a true partner vs. just another vendor.

How to choose the right managed IT provider for your business

Choosing the right IT partner for your business will take a bit of work on your part, but the end result will not only save you time and money – it could save your business.  Using this checklist as a starting point, be prepared to ask the hard questions and don’t just assume that any IT provider will be a good fit.

Just like your business is unique, there are many differences in IT providers.  Through our discussions with hundreds of businesses, we’ve found that while some companies fit our service approach and business model, others do not.  And that’s OK. The key is to take the time up front to make sure both you and your selected IT partner are a mutual fit.

If you’d like to learn more about Core Vision and see what we’re about, a good place to start is our About Us page where you can get a sense of what drives us.