If your company has decided to outsource your IT operations to a third-party provider, then it is important you partner with the right provider to meet the unique needs of your business. If you are at a loss when it comes to evaluating management companies, then the four questions listed below will give you a great start:
Question #1: How Many People Work Full-Time for Your Company?
This question is a great place to start when speaking to a managed IT operations provider. The answer will give you an idea if the "company" is really just a couple of IT geeks who got together and decided to start their own business or if they are a larger and more formal company. While it may not matter too much to you how many people they have on staff, it will absolutely matter when a critical software program or network stops working and both guys are off on vacation. Larger IT operations management companies employ many different people and have more knowledge as well as having on-call technicians available whenever your company needs emergency support.
Question #2: Are Your Network Engineers and Technicians Certified by Microsoft, Cisco, and Other Leading IT Manufacturers?
Network engineers and technicians should all be certified to work in the IT space. If the IT management company doesn't require their staff to be certified in the current technology, then this is a big flag indicating they don't hire the best IT staff.
Question #3: Can You Provide Us with a List of References of Similar Companies You Work With?
When you are evaluating IT partners, they should already be working with other companies that are similar to yours. For example, if you own a small independent supermarket, then they should have other supermarkets as their clients. If the company provides you references that are hair salons and gas stations, then they are not a good fit for your business. Also, if they aren't able to provide you with a list of references at all, then you should move on to a different company.
Question #4: Can You Provide Us a Copy of Your Insurance and Bond?
Finally, any IT management provider your company chooses to work with should be insured and bonded. The insurance and bond protects your company if someone from the IT management company damages your equipment or seals something from your business. If a company balks at showing your their insurance and bond paperwork, then move on to a different company.