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6 Factors You Should Consider when Choosing a New IT Provider

Managed IT support and service providers are an excellent choice for SMEs looking to improve their business efficiency.  IT service providers not only offer affordable IT services but also provide business owners with peace of mind knowing that their IT is in capable hands.

However, not all IT service providers are competent enough to offer your enterprise with industry best practice services. Below are 6 factors to consider when selecting your preferred IT service provider.

Factors to consider when selecting a new IT provider

Why it is important

m3 Networks' Advantage

Availability of Skills and Expertise

- The most important factor when selecting an IT service provider is the depth and breadth of skills and expertise.

- For small and mid-sized enterprises, being able to access specialist skills and expertise is an integral part of growth. Access to IT experts to assist your enterprise’s need at any time during working hours is critical.

-Ask about the skill sets of their staff, how they gain and share new knowledge and their expertise around scalability.

- We have 10+ years of experience in offering IT support services

- 120+ locations supported from Dingwall to Hastings

- We are one of the only Scottish companies to have a multi-skilled Managed IT Services, Cloud and Cyber Security trained team holding accreditations and qualifications such as Accredited Cyber Essentials Practitioners, Digital Forensics, Ethical Hacking, Microsoft Certified System Administrators, Cisco Certified Network Engineers and Fibre-Optic & Radio physical network infrastructure engineers

Ability to Customise Services

- Based on market conditions, SMEs must adapt and change their business strategies accordingly. As such, SMEs will require customised IT solutions to fulfil their business needs.

- Look for IT support and service providers who can manage and assist with any IT related issues by offering customised IT solutions that match your business needs and can help support your business through its growth as well as its day to day running.

- Even better, your provider should spend time getting to know your business, so they can actively generate ideas of how to expand, develop and create efficiency gains to increase profitability and fuel growth through technology.

- We manage and assist with any IT related issues by offering customised IT solutions that match clients' business needs.

- Analyse clients’ businesses to understand their requirement and operate as an extension to the clients' management team.

- We ensure the IT strategy is aligned with the needs and demands as your own business grows and develops, proactively generating ideas on how technology can be used to achieve this.

Service Range and Support

- Technology needs of an enterprise changes continually depending on market demand.

- As such, the IT service provider should not only provide a range of services but also enhance the enterprise’s capabilities through a process of continuous improvement.

- The IT Service provider should support your enterprise by streamlining existing IT services and introducing new IT services when needed to help improve business growth.

- Also, make sure that the support and services are delivered without added costs – the last thing any business wants are unexpected costs.

- As an IT technology partner, we provide a 360 degree IT support and services offering including customisable yet comprehensive cyber security services to our clients.

- We provide 24/7/365 system monitoring.

- Unlimited remote and telephone support.

IT provider's Reputation

- To get a better understanding of the IT support and service provider, request references/case studies and demonstratable examples of their past and current clients or projects.

- Research the reputation of the IT service provider to ensure your enterprise is choosing one with an excellent customer satisfaction record.Also, look for their partnership with other reputed software providers such as Microsoft, Netgear, HP/Dell etc.

- But most importantly look for industry-agnostic accreditations and quality management systems such as ISO certification form leading certification bodies like BSI.

- We are an ISO 9001:2015 certified company with 100% customer satisfaction for 2019 to date and over 98% for the last 3 consecutive years

- We are approved as Cyber Essentials practitioners.

- We hold numerous partnerships with key vendors such as Microsoft, Netgear, Draytek, Zyxel, HP amongst others.

- Sponsored Cyber Security Business Breakfast, a Chamber Event organised by Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce.

Outsourcing Cost

- IT support and service providers have made outsourcing cost competitive. It is always a good practice to research the market cost before diving deep into a contract with the service provider.

- However, selecting a service provider only on cost is not advisable as the service quality is very likely to suffer. Hence, the industry best practice is deciding based on a combination of price and quality. As they say, you get what you pay for.

- No surprise charges; billing is a fixed monthly fee.

- Clients have fixed-price, monthly support agreements, so they know exactly how much they are paying for IT support and services.

Security Standards

- SMEs are vulnerable to malware and hackers. Ability to handle escalating cyber threats, sensitive customer information and regulation changes like GDPR should be a top priority when selecting an IT service provider.

- Understand IT service provider's security measures and how they will handle your enterprise's data.

- Reputed managed IT service providers will protect and secure your business by reducing and mitigating various forms of cyber threats.

- We are approved as Cyber Essentials practitioners.

- We provide managed Cyber Security services to help reduce and mitigate many forms of cyber threats through industry leading technology vendors

- We have numerous Cyber-trained engineers in key areas such as Digital Forensics, Ethical Hacking and Cyber Response.

- Our weekly maintenance programme is unique - by carrying out system clean-up, virus-scans and patch management, we can usually eliminate a lot of the issues that cause your computers to slow down and impact your business, as well as monitoring critical systems for tell-tale signs that something is about to go down.

5 Benefits of a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

SMEs have aggressively followed technology to stay competitive. In the process, they have invested significant resources in building IT infrastructure and services. Managing these IT services is costly and has become a burden for many enterprises, draining essential resources from strategic planning and delivery. As per a report by Gartner, 70% of IT support services for infrastructure services can be managed from a remote location which can reduce labour costs from 10% to 50%, depending on the delivery location resulting in 5% to 30% overall net savings.

In a rapidly changing technology landscape, managed service providers can help enterprises remain agile, control costs, quickly respond to competitive opportunities and align IT with evolving business objectives. Here are the top five benefits of how outsourcing managed IT services can impact a company’s business goals and the bottom line.

Affordability and Fixed Monthly Cost

Outsourcing IT services to a managed service provider is extremely cost-effective. With managed services, enterprises can reduce operational costs, preserve capital budget and lower their IT operating expenses. Per a Capgemini study, 34% of SMEs in the UK find it challenging to invest in IT as the cost is always high, while 30% of SMEs spend less than 3% of their overall funds on cyber security. So, outsourcing IT support and services to a reputed managed service provider is the best option as MSPs offer comprehensive solutions at a very affordable and predictable monthly cost. Also, MSPs mainly operate on a subscription-based model where enterprises pay annual or monthly fees for services, which allows them to foresee if it is viable to remain within the target budget.

Improved Cyber Security

According to Statista, the cost of cyber-attacks on micro/small enterprises amounted to an average of £894 while for medium-sized enterprises it amounted to an average of £8,180 during the last 12 months. Enterprises have sensitive data and information worth stealing and attackers often take over one system as a platform to launch a cyber-attack on another system to cover their tracks. Per a report by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, almost half of UK businesses including SMEs (43%) suffered a cyber-attack in 2017-18. Managed service providers (MSP) use remote network monitoring and clean backup protocols to prevent an attack and shorten the recovery time. Reputed MSPs provide cyber security services to help reduce and mitigate various forms of cyber threats by continuously monitoring dark web, offering end-user security awareness training, penetration testing and SIEM, among others.

Access to trained, qualified and certified experts

A painful fact for many small and mid-sized enterprises is the shortage of skilled IT professionals. The UK alone is estimated to have a shortfall of around 100,00 experienced IT security experts by 2022. When recruiting for an in-house IT role, they likely cannot differentiate a good applicant from a bad one and when in the post, it is challenging to assess their productivity due to the complex nature of IT services. But, with a managed service provider, even small enterprises can access highly qualified IT personnel without doing the tedious work of recruiting them. MSPs usually possess deep expertise in the field of IT, therefore giving enterprises the best services.

Disaster Recovery

When everything goes wrong, enterprises need confidence that data is backed up safely and securely.  Disasters may strike in different forms, but whatever event takes a customer’s site down, managed service providers are well-placed to help prepare for emergencies. Whether it’s a physical disaster such as a storm, fire or flood, or a deliberate one, like a ransomware attack, MSP plan carefully to help clients come out shining on the other side.

Per a report by Daisy Group, on average UK's SMEs experience 45 minutes of downtime each week which is approximately £500 per employee, per year, in lost productivity. Also, according to a study by IDC, 40% of small and mid-sized enterprises in the UK do not have a data backup infrastructure in place and if they do then around 50% of the backups are only partially recoverable.

Part of the reason to outsource services to a managed service provider is to prepare for those costly downtimes. An off-site managed service provider can provide remote backup and offer both local and cloud-based backup solutions to support business-critical operations during a disaster.

Access to latest state-of-the-art technology

Reputed Managed Service Providers (MSPs) use the latest technologies and equipment to deliver services. IT services are updated regularly with no additional cost to enterprises. MSPs bring the advantage of quickly implementing new technology into client’s businesses thus eliminating the risk of obsolete IT infrastructure.