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Are you ready for hiring a managed service provider for your secure hosting and cloud-based storage?
Here are 10 questions to ask when you interview them.
Do you need a secure hosting and cloud-based storage service? Perhaps it’s time to consider looking for an outside consultant to handle these IT services for your organisation. A good managed service provider can take the IT security issues off your hands and save you money in the process. However, it’s important to ensure that the IT provider you select is the right company to handle your business. To help determine which IT services organisation is the best fit for your business, here is a list of questions to use when interviewing them.
Seeing eye-to-eye with a supplier or consultant is a key factor in working together. Therefore, getting to know the company culture can help you learn more about who they hire and how they operate. You can learn what they value and prioritise, and how they hire and train their employees. You can also spend time interviewing the representative who will be your main contact to ensure that your working styles mesh. Levels of training and security certifications must match your equipment and needs.
Seeing the offices of your potential managed service provider is helpful in assessing their professionalism, responsiveness and legitimacy. With security a high priority, it’s crucial that your provider can meet your expectations. While at their office, you can get a feel for their experience, expertise and the behaviour of their staff. Does it seem like a professional security office or are there clues that they won’t take your security seriously? Are the offices in line with other companies in the industry? Are they taking the time to get to know your organisation or treating you to a one-fits-all proposal?
Most companies can get their biggest customers to give them good references. The best references for your perusal are other companies that are about the same size as yours is and in a similar industry. Talk to people about any security issues they’ve had and how they were resolved. Be specific when asking about hosting and cloud-based storage to learn more than you can from the vendor themselves.
Managed service providers train in specific systems and processes. They should have a list of certifications they have earned as well as an ongoing training plan to keep staff up-to-date at all times. Computer security issues are constantly in flux, and programs require frequent updates to block new ransomware, cryptomining and other malware. Find out whether they offer an inclusive price or flat rate or if each service is priced separately.
Knowing what a vendor won’t or can’t do is just as important as what they will do. If your needs aren’t in the bailiwick for this vendor, then it’s time for you to move on.
Disaster planning is crucial when it comes to business, and doubly so when discussing computer records. What is their plan if a natural disaster affects your business? And what if it hits their business? How quickly would you be able to recover your records and your hardware?
Depending on where your customers are your organisation must comply with industry standards and government regulations. Does the managed service provider offer service-level agreements as to their compliance to Australian data privacy regulations, NDB scheme, and international standards such as GDPR or PCI? Reputable IT consultants will list their compliance standards in all their informational materials.
Technology has made it possible for routine IT tasks to become automated, making it quicker and easier for monitoring systems. In fact, automation means that tasks don’t get missed and issues are evident much earlier. Most of the hosting and cloud-based storage services can be automated once established. That allows for more time to update security protocols and inform you of new security challenges.
Chances are you and your managed service provider will part ways down the road. If your needs change, and the provider is no longer a good fit, you may need to find another vendor. Knowing their exit strategy will give you a better idea of their integrity and honesty.
This is the crux of the matter when it comes to hiring a managed service provider. They need to fit seamlessly into your organisation, and grow with you. Look for information on how they fit into other clients’ businesses, and how they get along with other companies’ staff. Discuss with them how they will improve your efficiency and secure your files. Make clear that security for the cloud and hosting services are your highest priority. Then see if you feel satisfied with their solutions.
Published on 2nd August 2019 by Ian Brady.