Managed network services providers (MNSPs) are responsible for managing all or some aspects of design, implementation, maintenance, support, performance, and security of a customer’s network infrastructure. These are known simply as managed network services, which can provide significant advantages to organizations. However, it is important to not just choose any managed network services provider — selecting the right MNSP for the job can heavily impact how effective the services turn out to be.
What To Ask A Managed Network Services Provider
Outsourcing components of a network infrastructure is a major decision for businesses in need of professional network services. To ensure that the business remains in expert hands, it is important for organizations to carefully vet their candidates by asking a series of questions.
1. What Competitive Advantage Can Managed Network Services Offer?
Businesses are always searching for ways to crush the competition and become leaders in their chosen industries. Managed network services providers can help organizations gain an edge by providing businesses with innovative digital services, ranging from structured cabling to virtual phone systems.
2. What Technical Capabilities Does The MNSP Possess?
Growing organizations want to know that the managed network services provider they choose has the proper technical capabilities to do their project justice. Look at what certifications the MNSP has earned and whether the provider has established partnerships with leading third-party vendors. Experienced managed network services providers can save businesses time by handling technology vendor needs for ongoing hardware and support requirements.
3. How Can Their Services Help The Business Become More Cloud-Based?
One of the biggest goals of outsourcing IT tasks to an MNSP is to move operations to the cloud. It can be challenging for organizations to maintain operations using existing networks, hardware, and applications while also trying to implement cloud-based technologies. With help from an experienced managed network services provider, an organization can develop a strategy that allows them to plan for future technologies while managing present operations.
4. Are Customers Involved In The IT Experience?
Not all businesses are comfortable allowing a third-party to take over an important component of their operations. To maintain peace of mind, many organizations want to be directly involved in the IT experience. When interviewing managed network services providers, ask if customers are involved in the IT experience and what standard practices are followed.
Are reports included in the service, and if so, how often are they provided? Has the managed network services provider created an admin portal or can recurring meetings be scheduled to keep the organization up-to-date? Businesses must consider how involved they want to be in the process and share their preferences with the MNSP.
5. What Are The Terms Of The Contract?
Before signing any documents, it is important to fully understand the terms of the contract. Start by reviewing what services are covered under the contract. Not all managed network services providers offer the same services and some may have limitations that may negatively impact operations, such as the number of covered devices in a plan or a limit to how many times customers can contact the help desk. Also, ensure that the contract does not include any hidden fees that were not previously discussed during the interview.
6. Does The MNSP Have A Local Presence?
With the rapid progression of the internet, many businesses have popped up that do not have an actual brick-and-mortar location. Although a local presence is not always a necessity, having a managed network services provider nearby certainly has its advantages.
In addition to online support, some organizations may require access to on-site professionals when more complex IT issues arise, such as infrastructure problems, ransomware, or periods of extended network downtime. Having a managed network services provider in the same time zone as the business can really come in handy in these situations.
7. In What Ways Will The MNSP Reduce The Workload?
One of the primary goals of working with a managed network services provider is to reduce the amount of work that a business is responsible for on a day-to-day basis. Find out exactly how the MNSP will help reduce this workload and what impact these services will have on the organization. For example, ask about what automated services they support, how they can help the business scale and grow, and what tasks can be moved to the cloud.
8. How Often Are Updates And Maintenance Performed?
An infrastructure requires regular updates and ongoing maintenance to help keep the business running smoothly. Ask the managed network services provider how often they perform updates and maintenance, and how these changes will affect the organization’s productivity.
If downtime is expected, will the MSP alert the business ahead of time and how will these communications occur? Also, ask the provider how the business can get in contact with an IT professional if a problem occurs that needs to be immediately addressed.
Schedule A Consultation With SeaGlass Technology
Choosing to use a managed network services provider can be a wise decision. However, it is important to carefully choose a provider that has the technical capabilities you need and can deliver on their promise to help improve and support the organization’s infrastructure. Schedule a consultation with SeaGlass Technology to learn more about managed network services or to get started.