The checklist you need to pick the right third-party IT maintenance provider

third-party IT maintenance provider checklist

Trying to find the right third-party IT maintenance provider to support your infrastructure seems like a never-ending nightmare. There is a plethora of options out there, many of whom make bold promises on supporting the equipment inside your business or data centre.

We have heard some horror stories over the years from companies that went with an IT maintenance provider but failed to deliver in a few critical areas. Naturally, you’re not wanting IT support served up in half measures. In any modern business, infrastructure is critical and your data is the foundation – you wouldn’t want to be without either.

The IT maintenance checklist you need

Just as you would do when buying a car or a house, it makes absolute sense to ask questions before committing. There are many providers who will be specialised in certain areas, but not necessarily the ones you need and there could well be shortfalls when it comes to supporting your assets.

This is why we’ve compiled the ultimate checklist for choosing the right third-party IT maintenance provider. It’s the perfect ‘cheat sheet’ for anyone needing to ensure their technology platforms are adequately covered. The checklist covers every area of concern and has been designed for any organisation to deploy, regardless of industry.

Don’t pick any data centre hardware maintenance provider until these areas are covered

The IT marketplace has a lot of maintenance providers who can offer very attractive prices when it comes to supporting your equipment, be it a server, a router or a storage array. There is no shortage of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who can offer a cheaper deal over the Official Equipment Manufacturer.

However, while signing the contract with these low-priced deals seems fantastic for your bottom line, the reality is that, in the longer term, you could be paying a much bigger price if there’s a failure in your IT infrastructure and the MSP just isn’t up the job of supporting it.

“Sorry,” the MSP will say, “that’s not under our contract”, giving you a sharp reminder of why they were able to offer such a low price in the first place. We’ve had to come in to fix quite a few incidents where an MSP maintenance plan fell short.

This is why we encourage you to ask vital questions of any MSP – including ourselves – before you sign on the dotted line.

The need for speed

Every second of downtime is costly. Minutes can potentially mean millions at stake. It’s why our checklist starts with a section on responsiveness. From first trip-repair rates to designated engineers, it’s vital your business is supported and not left in the lurch when disaster strikes.

Access to support

What will the service desk experience be like? We’ve placed the right questions in our next section, to help you match with an MSP offering a truly professional support package.

Does one size really fit all?

No two businesses are the same, but many MSPs treat their customers as if they are. It’s highly likely you have a customised IT infrastructure to meet the specific needs of your business. You’ll be quite surprised that there are MSPs who offer a limited range of support packages.

It’s essential everything within the four walls of your data centre is covered by the third-party maintenance provider. Some MSPs will only work with a narrow selection of equipment from selected big-name vendors. Here, we’ll spur you on so you can be assured all of your platform – the servers, the storage, the network – is covered, regardless of the badge or logo on the unit.

Making sense for your budget

Now it’s the part where we put a smile on the faces of your finance department. Quite a few third-party IT maintainers can beat the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) on price, but that is usually done by cutting corners and if you’ve followed the previous three sections, we’ve probably weeded them out for you by now. This is where we ensure you don’t hit any hidden costs and your accountants don’t stumble on a nasty surprise.

Do they get results?

You’re now down to a shortlist of viable MSPs. Now it’s crunch time. The final hurdle is seeing if they have a track record in your specific industry. What are their skills in this, and what accolades do they hold when it comes to customer satisfaction?

Picking the right MSP for hardware maintenance

You can download, for free, our single-page PDF – the third-party maintenance provider checklist.

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