How do you know you can trust your IT partner?
You are ready to invest in outsourced managed services to keep an eye on your network and secure your business: what are some of the questions your should be asking when you interview a potential partner? You need to know you can trust your new IT partner with the inner workings of your business. Who is watching them? Start with this checklist in the interview.
- Do you undergo any industry audits or reviews? Is the MSP being reviewed for how they handle their own security and data? For instance, MNS Group undergoes a third-party audit for our security, just like banks and financial services firms (see AICPA SOC) and independent penetration and security testing. This helps you know that the MSP is diligent to keep your records secure and eat the soup they make.
- Are you also an MSSP? An MSP who acts also as a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) will make sure that your security is an intrinsic priority and that your systems are consistently maintained with the most up-to-date approaches.
- Will I receive proactive services, or do you just react to problems? Putting out fires is not good management- a competent partner will make sure your line of business software is up-to-date, patches are scheduled and verified, and no malicious code or malware is in your network in an ongoing basis.
- Do you provide 50-state background checks and drug test on all employees? The answer should be an unequivocal yes.
- Do you provide reports on all actions engineers take when servicing our account? Every action on your network should be tracked and able to be audited to reverse any actions taken in case something goes wrong.
- Do you provide easy access to recordings of every help desk phone call? Customers should be able to listen to exchanges.
- Do you require manager approval for changes to scripts on our network? Managers should approve all script changes, adding a layer of protection against human error, as part of an ITIL, Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a set of detailed practices that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business as part of a managed process.
- Do you patch third-party applications, including Internet of Things (IOT) devices, as part of your normal process? Best practices would include patching IOT devices such as copiers and printers – a huge vector for cyber breaches.
- Do you require a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that covers all employees, ties into our own NDAs, and survives even after an employee leaves? With access to sensitive data and security protocol, you should be assured that your MSP has this in hand and as part of their hiring process.
- Do you offer training to your staff? With the rapidly changing technology sphere and cybersecurity risks, MSPs should be investing and encouraging training and certifications.
- Do you have a ticketing system so my issues are prioritized based on my needs? Ticketing systems allow a uniform, trackable response where emergencies can be handled effectively, and historic information archived for reference in the future. Service level agreements should be agreed on ahead of time.
- Is your staff local or do you outsource it? Your managed service provider should have their own help desk staff that allows for a synergistic team management of your account. In house staff will receive timely oversight, training and news.
- Who will be my ongoing contact? Having an account manager who knows the ins and outs of your business as well as the growth strategy of your business will allow informed daily service and future planning.
- What are your hours? Support should be offered all day, every day.
Other good questions:
- Do you provide reports to show me data about my services? You should be able to have a clear understanding of the benefits offered by your service provider to make informed decisions about your business. If your business needs a regulatory compliance audit, having reporting features and how often you can expect to receive the information.
- Can you help me plan for the future of my business? When interviewing potential partners, check to see what references they have and ask what experience they have in your vertical.
- What happens if my business or data grows? Can the provider scale with your company? They should be able to offer recommendations of ways you can manage your IT assets to allow you to plan to scale your business.
- Can you help me craft a disaster incidence response and recovery or business continuity plan? What kind of backups will you have in place in case of equipment failure? Natural disasters, personnel issues, equipment failure, and data breaches should be planned for in advance to avoid a crisis and downtime. The MSP should have experience in creating such plans and the ability to guide you through the process.
While human error cannot be entirely eliminated, exercising due diligence in hiring a partner will allow you greater peace of mind entering the partnership and set expectations of excellence. Call us today to learn more about MNS Group’s services.