Working with a managed IT company can be the solution to all of your IT needs. While you could hire more employees, there are many costs associated with doing so. Many are obvious, such as the employee’s salary and the cost of their benefits. However, there are also some costs that aren’t as obvious, such as the cost of their computer equipment and office furniture. There are even additional indirect costs such as increased water and electricity usage. Working with an MSP such as Wooden Spoon is much easier on your budget. You have a negotiated flat rate, and that’s what you pay per month. It’s that simple.
What may not seem simple, at least at first, is finding the right managed IT company to partner with. There are many out there, so how do you decide which one will be the best fit? Do you go with the MSP that’s closest to you geographically, or do you partner with the one with all the fancy seals and certifications on their website? Here are five tips for picking the right managed IT partner for you.
They Provide What Your Current Managed IT Partner Isn’t
Are you working with an MSP already but are very unhappy with what they’re providing? If this is the case, you can start your search for a new partner by making a list of everything you wish you were getting and areas where the current MSP just isn’t doing enough. Now you know what you need to find in your new partner.
If you don’t have a current MSP, you should still start with making a list. In this case, you’ll want to list out everything you know you need. This might be all aspects of IT, but it doesn’t have to be. You may have your own IT team in place but need a little extra help. In this case, you don’t need to outsource all of your IT needs.
You need to find an MSP that offers co-managed IT. In this model, you split the work. For example, you may have a team that’s more than capable of handling your hardware and software needs, but they may not be experts in cybersecurity. In this case, you would want to look for a managed IT partner that excels in security. They can handle all of those needs while your team handles everything else.
They Fit Your Budget
Budget is, of course, always something to consider. Unfortunately, it’s also often what everything comes down to. You may find an MSP that you really like and is very qualified to provide what you need, but they just don’t fit your budget.
Some companies use cost as a way of immediately weeding out some options, but this isn’t always the best idea. Your IT security isn’t something you ever want to cut corners on. The saying “you get what you pay for” could certainly come into play here. That’s not to say that the most expensive managed IT company is the best. That may be the case, but cost rarely equals true ability or experience.
Instead, look at what the company offers, how much experience they have, and what they will do for you. If you have a question about why their price is so low or so high, ask. Those who have put thought into their costs will be able to walk you through their pricing. Sometimes, you may find that the best partner is under budget. At the same time, at other times, you may be able to justify pulling a little extra money from somewhere else to secure a partnership that will provide a good return on investment.
They Clearly Define What They’re Taking On
You want to work with a managed IT partner that will provide you with a very clear picture of what they’re going to do for you. You should always know what your responsibilities are and what your partner is going to do. This is especially important in a co-managing situation, but even if you’re outsourcing all of your IT needs, you still need to know exactly what you’re paying for. If nothing else, this at least will help you justify why you’re outsourcing your IT needs.
If you aren’t certain what the MSP is handling, it leaves plenty of space for things to fall through the cracks. For example, you might assume the MSP is responsible for updating all of our software, but if that’s not something spelled out in your contract, you will want to ask about it. Otherwise, you may assume they’re doing this task, but they may be expecting you to do it. That presents security vulnerabilities plus may leave your team without some of the newest application features and capabilities.
Another thing you want to be clear on how to contact the MSP, their operating hours, and if they do any on-site work. Some MSPs tend to be fully remote today, which does have its benefits. You’re able to work with any MSP regardless of where they’re physically located. This means the door is wide open for you to find the perfect partner. Wooden Spoon works with clients across the US and even other parts of the world. We may be located in Santa Rosa, but we can provide remote support to anyone regardless of location.
You want to work with someone who is going to be proactive and take the initiative when it comes to your security. You want a partner who will do a deep dive into your infrastructure and security and come out with a plan, of course, but you also want a partner who will continue monitoring your IT needs after the initial period of analysis and change. Some managed IT teams are only reactive after performing this early work. They just want to fix problems as they come up because that’s easy for them.
The best type of MSP will always be looking for ways to make your network more efficient and secure. They will use remote monitoring tools to gather data and analyze this information to see where potential problems may occur down the line. By being proactive and dealing with these issues before they become major problems, they reduce or eliminate downtime, the loss of information, and expensive, rushed repair jobs.
The Need to Address the Human Element of IT
When most people think about IT, and IT support, they think about machines. They need someone to make sure the software is doing what it should, the hardware is all compatible, and their data is safe. They don’t think about the human element of IT or how important that is, but it is. Every aspect of IT has some kind of impact on the people who are using it. Upgrading hardware can reduce the amount of time it takes to do tasks or load applications. New applications may allow users to automate some tasks. Updated security, of course, helps reduce the risk of identity theft.
Then there’s the stress and anxiety related to IT issues, especially if those issues include servers going down or data being breached. When people are under stress, they don’t work as effectively, they’re more prone to making accidents, and they simply don’t think as clearly as they usually do.
Your MSP should do more than just address technical issues. They need to provide support to the people who are dealing with those issues. Sometimes, that may simply mean communicating with the correct individuals to keep them updated on what’s happening. In other cases, it may mean providing alternative ways of accessing data or performing a task. Your IT partner needs to be able to creatively find solutions that deal with people’s stress and anxiety during an IT crisis instead of simply focusing on the problem.
Reach Out to Wooden Spoon Today to Learn More
Working with a managed IT services provider, especially if you’ve never done so before, can seem overwhelming. You may not be a tech-minded person yourself, which can make learning about and comparing companies even more difficult. We understand that, and we will do everything we can to make understanding what working with Wooden Spoon means.
We offer both fully-managed and co-managed IT solutions, and we will work with you to create a custom solution that fits all of your IT needs. We take a proactive approach to IT, using monitoring tools and other software to identify weaknesses in your security and areas that aren’t operating as effectively as they should be. Our security tools are constantly scanning for erratic account activity and other signs that you’ve been compromised, and we quickly restrict access when we see any signs of a breach.
When you partner with Wooden Spoon, you’re getting more than someone who will look at your IT infrastructure once and then just come in and fix stuff when it breaks. You’re getting a team that is dedicated to protecting your data and your company. We focus on more than just the machines—we bring the human element to IT. Reach out to Wooden Spoon today to learn more about how we can help you.