Every year, the number of small and mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) who outsource their IT grows geometrically, especially in 2020 with a massive surge into the realm of Remote Workforces.

No matter what, it makes good sense for both your budget and your continued profitability. Unless you have a small business in your garage, with your spouse doing the books, your cousin doing sales and the neighbor’s kid fixing the computers, it’s a step every growing business needs to take.

How big would you have to become to warrant an in-house, qualified IT Systems Administrator. The National salary average for IT employees is $63,000, plus benefits. And that’s just for ONE IT person. If you make the assessment that paying that salary is worthwhile once you’ve reached 60 computer users, you’re placing yourself behind the curve already.

Even with an office where your single IT person can sit at their computer and monitor and repair those 60 workstations, as well as all the peripheral devices (printers’ scanners, VoIP phones etc.), it is bound to become overwhelming, and your users will end up unhappy and unproductive while they wait in line for the resolution of their issues.

Managed Services is the Answer

So, you have decided to employ a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to take care of your network infrastructure. You have done your due diligence and received a Crash Course in MSPs, what they do and how they do it. You’ve sorted the Best MSPs from the Posers and are ready to proceed.

Now what?

Here are a few tips to help you manage the entire MSP experience – especially when you are about to sign on the dotted line.

Does the contract specify a time frame: 1 year, 3 years, longer? What is involved in canceling the contract? It has been our experience that these contracts can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get out of.

That is why IT Support LA does not use a ‘hard’ contract, only the Service Level Agreement (SLA). You can fire us at any time for any reason, with 30 days’ notice. We HAVE to earn your business every day.

Know and Manage Your Costs and Service Expectations
You have discussed and been presented with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Ideally, you should have everything that you need, including unlimited response – both remote and onsite. If you chose a prepackaged plan with ‘X’ number of hours included, you should rethink the matter. Those contracts inevitably result in a mountain of ‘overage’ charges.

Signing an agreement like that means the MSP rep was a better salesman than you were a buyer. Sorry, but it’s true.

Check your SLA for these Costs:

Is everything you were promised spelled out in non-ambiguous language at the agreed upon price?

Take note of the any non-contract services. Are project-based fees spelled out, including any setup or
installation fees. Special projects should be negotiated and quoted before the project begins.

Are there charges for after hours, weekends and holidays services?

If your agreement includes Hardware as a Service (Haas) – how are hardware upgrades determined?
Are there any costs, such as installation, involved with hardware replacement Is new hardware completely covered or on a pro-rated basis?

Check your SLA for these Service Specifics:

Is there a guaranteed response time? How is it guaranteed? What happens if they fail to meet the guaranteed time frame?

Is there a guarantee of Network Uptime? What are the remedies for failing to meet the promise?

Are there clear guidelines/timelines for proactive maintenance procedures and schedules? Make certain that routine maintenance is done at time that does not disturb your staff.

Do you have a dedicated tech and backup tech? Have you been given the opportunity to meet and vet
them? What happens if they do not turn out to be a good fit with your employees – is there a

Have you established the time frame for the MSP to deliver reports on the status and maintenance of your system (monthly, quarterly, etc.)

Your Staff

Once the ‘onboarding’ of your network is complete, does your staff have a procedure in place for alerting the new MSP to any issues - Help Desk email/phone?

Many MSPs, and clients, prefer a designated contact person to liaise with the IT people. At IT Support, we do not require a single point of contact – anyone can open a ticket for service, but if your preference is to have a designated liaison, that is what we will follow.

IT Support LA sends out ‘Welcome Aboard’ pamphlets with all of the contact information your staff will need. We are proactively monitoring your system, but opening a ticket makes doubly sure of the fastest possible response.

You should work with your MSP to set up a Cyber Security training – usually these are less than an hour and take place at your office but, ALL of your computer users should be in attendance.

IT Support LA offers this free of charge, as every year, over 80% of Ransomware and Data Breech attacks are successful because employees were not versed in how to spot Phishing emails or Spoofed (copied) familiar web pages that encourage the user to either click on malicious links or open dangerous attachments.

All of the best in Firewalls, Anti-Virus, and email filtering are useless if an employee lets the malware into your system.

The Bottom Line

Making the decision to entrust your network infrastructure and your data to an MSP is a major transition. Perform your due diligence to know who you are talking to, their standing in the IT community, and check their references.

This is invaluable to set off on the right foot to creating a solid foundation for a positive relationship with an MSP you can trust.

About IT Support L

We embody each and every aspect of a Top-Notch MSP. Our methodologies are iron-clad, yet adaptive to your environment. We are entering our 19th year serving the Greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas. We have continuously scaled our growth to ensure no ‘growing pains’, and our technicians are never finished with ‘school’ – the IT landscape, as well as the nature of Cyber Crime changes constantly, and we maintain that if those who are not a step ahead are far behind.

It is just this philosophy that has made us an award-winning company:

  • 2 Years awarded Best IT by the Small Business Expo
  • Awarded 2nd best company of any type in the US by the Small Business Expo
  • Awarded Best IT in California by Channel Futures
  • 3 years listed as one of the Top 501 MSPs in the World by Channel Futures