The Partnership You Want. The IT Support You Need

IT Support Provider: Once We’re Partners, How Do We Work Together?

After you’ve done the research and gone through the screening process to sign on the dotted line with your IT support provider or MSP, what happens next? Organizations of all sizes are adopting managed services as part of a strategic plan to organize, streamline and safeguard their businesses. Working with an IT support provider offers multiple benefits.

In a world where security threats are everyday considerations, managed IT support provides the peace of mind that comes from having up-to-date and protected applications and systems. Operational overhead and internal IT staff both step away from front-office operations and instead benefit from third-party or outsourced technical support that helps businesses focus on their core competencies and not complicated supporting technology. However, with all those benefits comes a challenge: Transitioning from handling IT in-house to an IT support provider means you’ll need to make some significant institutional changes.

To help you get the most out of your partnership, here are four tips for effectively working with an IT support provider or MSP.

1. Set Your Expectations

It’s important to be upfront and clear about what the managed IT partnership entails. Make sure everyone understands those expectations. A few important questions to ask and mutually answer:

  • What should you expect from an onboarding experience?
  • Who has responsibility for the initial setup of hardware? If new installations are required, whose responsibility is it?
  • How will the escalation process work for events?
  • What responsibility does the MSP have for applications running in the cloud?
  • Is there a shared responsibility model for access to (and the security of) sensitive data?
  • Is the MSP expected to fine-tune your footprint and dynamically change configurations to meet business needs, or to become the middle-man with vendors?

An important best practice is to establish the scope of the relationship in its earliest stages. Being up front from the beginning about who’s responsible for what and how communications will be carried out going forward is a great foundation for a successful relationship.

2. Be Transparent

To effectively support your IT environment, the MSP needs to have a solid grasp of your current infrastructure. A clear understanding of how your business functions and visibility into the full topography you have in place allows any IT support provider to help you optimize the investments you’ve made. Your provider can also identify areas for improvement across on-premises and cloud infrastructures, connectivity providers and vendors for WAN and LAN, third-party application performance, mobile user access and so on.

When your provider understands what’s running in your IT environment, it can provide ongoing services like patching and monitoring, or help harden configurations from a security and performance perspective.

All too often, businesses don’t provide a full picture of their architecture, so an audit or other inventory exercise may be necessary. Allowing an IT support provider full access to systems in the beginning can help you avoid many headaches down the road.

3. Up, Up and (Ask) Away

In making the decision to turn over portions of your infrastructure to a third-party, you should never hesitate to ask questions – or answer them. An open, ongoing dialog is critical to making the client/IT partnership work.An IT support provider should be responsive and aware of your specific business needs, not just place questions into a queue to be answered with boilerplate responses.

4. Embrace the Support

In the event of a disaster, such as a weather event, power outage, cyberattack or other disruption, keep calm and know that your IT support provider is going to help fix the issue as quickly as possible.

If there is a connectivity or functionality issue, your provider will identify it through their systems and work to resolve it. All activities should be monitored with frequent, scheduled reporting. Managed support is there to give you peace of mind, after all.

Ready to Partner With an IT Support Provider?

Your company’s growth can’t wait. What could you accomplish with a reliable, knowledgeable and responsive IT support provider? At ArcLight, we understand the value of your time. We would rather talk about the needs of your business than about ourselves.You and your people deserve a reliable, respectful and knowledgeable partner in technology.  We can work alongside your internal tech team or serve as your fully outsourced IT solution. Book an appointment with us today.

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