You know that moving servers, applications and workloads to the cloud can save you time, money and maintenance headaches. But to optimize costs and maintain performance levels, you need a cloud road map and the right technical expertise. That’s where a cloud services provider can help.
Moving to and managing your cloud environment isn’t a quick-fix. A cloud services partner provides ongoing business guidance and technical support to ease your cloud transition. Before partnering with an IT firm, take steps to understand who you’re hiring.
Cloud services provider is an umbrella term for a company that provides cloud computing services. But not all cloud services providers offer managed IT services.
A managed services provider takes IT a step beyond cloud computing. They manage your IT infrastructure, business applications, servers and storage in the cloud. An MSP enables your business to secure, store and manage business operations safely in the cloud and scale easily for future growth.
When comparing cloud services providers in your area, make sure you’re hiring an MSP, not a break-fix IT firm. Break-fix firms only get paid when something breaks. They have no incentive to proactively update and secure your IT infrastructure and often lack cloud expertise.
Before you move forward with a cloud services provider, learn how the company measures service delivery. An agreement or objective sets expectations for response and resolution times so you know what to expect.
The agreement can include ticket response time, resolution time, notifications and reporting metrics. Ask questions, and understand this document inside and out — it ensures you’re both on the same page, helping to avoid potential issues down the road.
Vetting managed IT services providers goes beyond the sales team. You need to evaluate the entire company. Here are six questions to ask potential firms.
1. How do you manage support tickets?
How a cloud services provider manages your support tickets directly affects your daily work. Is there a guaranteed response time? When can you expect a resolution? Any IT issues they won’t assist with? Is there an escalation procedure for urgent issues? 24/7 monitoring? You should have a clear understanding of how your IT requests will be handled.
2. What reports are available to me?
System uptime reports. Patching and monitoring. Ticket monitoring. Ask potential cloud service providers how they monitor, track and manage client IT environments.
3. Can I see some client references?
It’s the same as hiring a new employee. Always check references. A good MSP should be happy to share client references with you.
4. These are my business goals over the next five years. How will you help me get there?
A great cloud services provider or MSP will not only manage your daily IT needs, but also help you scale and grow your IT environment to meet your business goals.
5. What’s your pricing model?
MSPs use different pricing models, such as flat rate or per user. (Learn how much managed IT support should cost.) Ask: How will they charge you? What does that include? Are there any hidden costs that could arise? Make sure you run through different scenarios so you’re not (expensively) caught off guard later on.
6. Who will you be working with?
Evaluate the company, not just the salesperson. You’ll be dealing with IT support staff, so they should be involved in the sales process. With an MSP, you get access to experience and certifications you wouldn’t be able to afford full-time. Also ask about their certifications to verify the firm is truly focused on the cloud and ongoing education.
If you’re new to the cloud, evaluating a company’s cloud expertise isn’t straightforward. At Helixstorm, we believe trust and transparency are key pillars to a successful IT partnership.
That’s why we track core service delivery metrics and provide real-time reports so you have instant visibility into our cloud management process. We serve as your trusted cloud consultant to help guide your business to lower costs, greater scalability and faster growth.