How to Choose a Managed Technology Provider

Jeff Dotzler
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Protecting your business technology from obsolescence and cyberthreats is getting increasingly complicated. The good news is that small and medium businesses don’t have to face this challenge all by themselves. If you want to get the right managed technology provider, here are the five most important questions to ask that will help you find a provider whose interests are aligned with yours.  

1) Do They Offer Strategic Planning for Your Business?  

Before you turn the keys to your company’s technology over to an outsider, they should offer an assessment and roadmap for your partnership. They should identify the key gaps and inefficiencies they can help you improve. This will ensure you find a provider that doesn’t just offer reactive services, but a proactive and strategic approach to technology.

This is the key difference between a reactive IT program and technology management. A Managed IT provider might offer tech support and sell solutions, but cannot offer strategic advice and planning for long-term success.

2) How Secure Are They?  

Unfortunately, hackers target small businesses because they believe those businesses cannot invest in enterprise grade cybersecurity tools. Unfortunately, about 60% of businesses will close their doors following a cyberattack because of the remediation costs, which can be more than a million dollars. 

Our goal is not to scare people, but we hope they recognize just how much we are all exposed to cyberthreats in our everyday interactions. Be sure to find out if a potential partner offers enterprise-level proactive security solutions and support. Have they investigated next-generation tools to help you stay ahead of the bad guys? For example, newer solutions like MDR – Managed Detection and Respond – actively look for Indications of Compromise (IOC) that might be otherwise missed.  

In addition, do they have a Security Operations Center (SOC) team to watch for attacks and remediate if something happens to your networkA professional SOC can bring the time to detection in critical moments from days down to minutes.  

3) How Reliable Are They?  

All technology companies will claim to offer 99.9% uptime, but can they back up their claims? If your business is hit with a disaster or another outage, are they prepared? A good managed technology provider will help you plan for the future, protect your data and make sure your business can recover from a disruptive event. Consider asking  potential partners to show you their disaster recovery plans and technology.  

Also, find out if a potential partner is available 24x7. Do they have engineers who are on-call nights, weekends and holidays? Select the contact method that works best for your situation. In an emergency, can they help with issues after-hours? Many partners will only respond during office hours.  

4) What Are Their Technical Capabilities and Certifications? 

Once you understand the strategic capabilities of a partner, it’s time to check their technical expertise, partnerships and additional qualifications that showcase their abilities. This helps you understand their technical side along with their strengths and weaknesses. If they claim to be cybersecurity experts, do they have technical certifications to back that up? If they will be hosting your Microsoft applications, are they a certified Microsoft partner?  

5) Can They Train Your Staff?  

Email is the primary threat vector for most cyber threats – it often starts with an email trying to get your staff to click a link or divulge information. Even with good training your people need constant re-education. The bad actors target early on Monday mornings or Friday evenings – when they know people are at home and have their guard down. A modern technology management partner can provide ongoing security training for your users and can give you an individual risk score of every one of your employees.  

When IT becomes a strategic resource for an organization, it frees employees and volunteers to focus on the organization’s mission. We want to work with organizations who put great value in the technology that powers their teams. If that sounds like you, we’d love to start the conversation to learn more 

The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT

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