Calgary Managed Services Providers: What to Look for When Choosing an MSP
Calgary is among the most conducive destinations for starting a business. Findings suggest that the Calgary Economic Development and the University of Calgary are taking all necessary measures to turn the city into one of the most attractive destinations for tech companies.
This, however, means that competition in Calgary’s business scene will heat up. In turn, it will become necessary for them to leverage technology to optimize their processes and stay relevant.
Managed IT services are becoming increasingly necessary for taking any business to the next level, and yours is no exception. Your internal IT team’s limited skills and resources may not be sufficient to cater to the needs of your growing business. An external IT support provider can help you plug the gaps and provide you with a competitive edge.
A managed services provider (MSP) takes care of all IT infrastructure-related tasks and provides tailor-made solutions for a business’s unique technology needs. Statista forecasts that the global managed services market will surpass 300 billion U.S dollars by 2025.
What Are Managed Service Providers?
Managed service providers leverage their expertise and technological prowess to deliver solutions that help businesses across industries run their operations smoothly.
They help maintain your IT infrastructure by providing support 24/7/365. They also help businesses with designing an IT infrastructure that’s scalable, efficient, and secure from internal as well as third-party threats, while reducing overall costs.
Why Does Your Business Need Managed Service Providers?
The rapid evolution of technology has given rise to new business opportunities that are waiting to be exploited. Whether you have just started your business in Calgary or are already running one, managing your data, networks, and systems optimally can help you achieve your goals.
As mentioned, your in-house IT team may not have the skills and resources to help you overcome every hurdle. The challenges posed by a poorly maintained IT environment can cripple your business.
If you want to stay competitive, you should be equipped with the measures used to mitigate technology challenges. This is when outsourcing your IT to a managed services provider becomes important.
However, not all MSPs are made equal. A reliable MSP goes above and beyond the break-fix model to help businesses design an IT infrastructure that supports their growth. Choosing a managed services provider that you can trust with your company-wide networks, systems, and data is essential.
Calgary is brimming with managed services providers, and choosing the most efficient one for your business can be challenging. However, before we learn about what to look for in an MSP, let’s consider why you need their services.
Benefits of Hiring an MSP
Here are some of the key benefits of availing the services of a managed services provider in Calgary.
MSPs play a crucial role in improving the productivity of not only your business but also your in-house IT staff. By outsourcing routine and repetitive IT tasks, you can enable your team to focus on strategic tasks that will help boost your core business operations.
Your business may need months to choose and deploy appropriate systems for its needs. A managed services provider, on the other hand, offers advanced skills and technologies that enable your business to scale IT assets as per requirements. This means you can seamlessly boost your IT infrastructure as you grow and scale down during low-demand phases.
Instant Support and Guidance
A managed services provider proactively monitors your IT infrastructure to anticipate and mitigate impending threats. They also resolve technical faults as and when they arise. Further, they ensure that all your IT assets are safeguarded from all sorts of internal and cyber threats.
How to Choose the Right MSP?
Now that you know why you should hire a managed services provider, it’s time to understand how to choose the right one for your business. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to follow, but generally, you need to ensure that the MSP understands your goals and as well as your work culture.
Here are seven factors to consider when choosing a managed services provider in Calgary.
1. Service Availability
You should take into account the service availability of your prospective managed services provider. They should ideally be available round-the-clock.
You may have specific working hours, but your IT systems need to be functional at all times. Problems won’t schedule an appointment before disrupting your systems.
Technology failures or cyberattacks can occur even after your working hours, on weekends, or on non-working days. If your internal IT team is unavailable or unable to provide quick solutions, the issue can spiral out of control, and damage control may be impossible.
When you have a reliable managed services provider in your corner, you need not panic. Because their team is available 24/7, any issue that arises will be resolved promptly and with minimal service disruptions. Whether it is a major issue or a small glitch, their constant availability will help lower the probability of system failure and downtime.
2. Skills and Experience
An MSP should be able to help you by consolidating their resources and improving the overall process efficiency of your business. They should also be able to help you with real-time monitoring, detecting, and resolving IT infrastructure and network issues.
Unless they have a skilled and experienced workforce at their disposal, it will be difficult for them to ensure that your IT infrastructure is safe, functional, and readily available. A professional MSP should have skilled and experienced professionals who can get the job done.
As a rule of thumb, ask your prospective MSP about the training and certifications earned by their engineers and managers, as well as their relevant industry experience.
3. Network Security
MSPs help enhance network security by regularly monitoring and auditing security networks, as well as detecting potential loopholes that potential attackers can exploit to gain unauthorized access. Their services include 24/7 monitoring and management of firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
They also respond to emergencies, perform security assessments, and overseeing patch management and upgrades. Moreover, they provide cybersecurity awareness training to their clients’ employees so that security gaps are plugged in and managed efficiently at every level.
Before signing the contract, you should clarify with your prospective managed services provider about the precise network security measures they will put in place to keep your business safe. This may include installing advanced firewalls and tools providing real-time notification of events related to a breached network.
4. Transparency in Cost Structure and Service Agreement
Managed services providers should be transparent in their fee structure, pricing, and cost estimates. All agreed-upon terms and conditions should be clearly mentioned in a detailed service level agreement (SLA).
They should provide you with the details of the costs of each of their services to prevent any miscommunication. They should also mention details concerning delivery, response times, and other service-related elements in writing.
Before finalizing your MSP, you should ask for a bifurcation of their fees. If necessary, you may ask their representative to explain every aspect of the fee structure in detail.
You should ascertain whether the SLA is flexible, holds the MSP accountable for timely support, and provides room for scaling up or down, as per your needs.
5. Response Time
As the cyber threat landscape evolves continually, quick response time is essential for ensuring 360-degree security.
A managed services provider should be able to ensure a timely response, along with a quick resolution to IT issues. They should be equipped with remote support systems and a dedicated helpdesk to be able to respond as soon as you raise a ticket.
Their team should know how to employ powerful remote monitoring tools to immediately swing into action to provide quick responses and resolutions.
It is, therefore, crucial to ask your prospective managed services provider about their average response time. You should have it mentioned in the SLA along with the mechanisms they use to ensure a quick resolution to queries and issues.
6. Data Back-up and Recovery Plan
Unexpected system malfunctions, cyberattacks, and natural calamities can put your business operations, as well as your computers, networks, and business-critical data at great risk.
A managed services provider should be able to facilitate timely and secure data backup and recovery processes to minimize your losses and downtime.
They should know how to deploy cloud solutions and store your data in multiple off-site servers so that it’s accessible even after a breach. They should also make sure that access to sensitive data is always authorized through robust passwords and multi-factor authentication tools so your business information does not fall into the wrong hands.
You may, therefore, want to ask your prospective MSP about their data backup and recovery strategies, and ease of accessing your data in case of a system failure, no matter the reason.
7. Market Reputation
MSPs with a proven track record enjoy a good reputation in the market. You should research the managed services provider you’re considering to ensure that they’re competent enough to be hired. To establish their claims, your prospective managed services provider should be able to provide you with references, client testimonials, and endorsements.
During your consultation with the MSP, ask them for references of their current and previous clients. Speaking to them will help you figure out whether or not the MSP is as effective as they claim to be. They will also help you determine if the MSP has experience in catering to your industry.
Research them on Google to find out what industry analysts have to say about them. Check their website, social media accounts, and online IT forums to see what their followers and customers have to say about them. You will also do well to check out review websites and determine if they enjoy a good rating on them.
Hiring a managed services provider and entrusting them with handling your IT infrastructure is an important business decision. Any wrong move in this regard can prove to be disastrous.
You should take time to research your options and ultimately hire a provider who can help you save both time and resources while driving success. The above considerations will guide the selection of the most suitable managed services provider in Calgary. Best of luck!
Do you need a Managed Service Provider in Calgary? Frontier Solutions services may rouse your interest. Call us today for more information!
Chantale Benoit is the CEO of Frontier Solutions, a Calgary IT support company that has been helping small businesses get the most from IT in a way that allows it to drive their business forward for the past 23 years. Learn more about Chantale and Frontier Solutions here.
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