Outsourcing part or all of your law firm’s technology management and/or support – what is called IT managed services – is increasing in popularity, especially in the legal industry. Leveraging IT managed services can provide access to enterprise-grade technology, expert-level knowledge and exhaustive support, all at a fraction of the cost to implement and maintain the same in-house.
While there is overlap in the services offered by many IT managed services providers (MSP), how can you distinguish between those who will cover all your needs and those with gaps in coverage? Which IT MSP offers the most comprehensive coverage? What should you be getting for your money?
There are five key things that every MSP should offer. When selecting your MSP, ensure they include these offerings and meet or exceed your law firm's requirements.
24x7 monitoring solution for servers, workstations and infrastructure devices
All IT MSPs will have some form of proactive monitoring. What sets the top-tier MSPs apart is their robust and customized monitoring solution. The MSP’s solution should be able to monitor not just servers and workstations, but also networked devices such as firewalls, routers, switches, uninterruptable power supplies and other critical infrastructure. The MSP should be able to alert you via multiple mediums, such as telephone and text message, in case email functionality is unavailable.
24x7 support with established and documented Service Level Agreements
Support should be structured with Service Level Agreement (SLA) documentation and expectations, response times within your business needs and around-the-clock availability. You can’t predict when your systems will need support, but when they do, you’ll want them back up and running as soon as possible. Ensure their SLA clearly spells out expected response times and that there will be exhaustive around-the-clock support.
Available on-site support
The MSP should either be local or have a local presence available for on-site support. More and more support can be handled remotely these days, but there are still things that require an on-site visit. Be it training on new software or troubleshooting a systems issue, there are some times when an on-site engineer can provide the best support. Discuss such concerns with your MSP and make sure they have the personnel to keep you covered.
Managed backup software with off-site storage
There are a variety of software packages and features, but ensuring safe and secure backups requires off-site replication and redundancy. Off-site replication means sending your data backups to a remote location, often hosted in a data center geographically distant from your location. There are a few key considerations for backups, and your MSP should offer more than one solution for meeting this criteria.
Virtual CIO services
Virtual CIO services can include anything from IT budgeting, technology planning and service history review to IT health assessment and more. This offering goes deeper than IT support. It is meant for long-term technology strategy and growth catered to the business functions and needs of your organization. A great MSP is invested in your business and how technology can help you accomplish your strategic objective, and virtual CIO services are the exemplar of that.
Let the experts at Innovative Computing Systems assess your MSP needs and get you started in the right direction. Initial consultations are always free.