How to Choose a Good Managed IT Provider
Table Of Contents
Managed IT services are the efficient ways of outsourcing an organization’s hardware and software maintenance. It is helpful for the SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) to get reliable solutions at affordable costs. Risk anticipation and troubleshooting are the key factors, which help protect the data, and the resources from unpredicted breakdown and loss.
Managed IT services are offered by the provider company to the client at flexible prices. The provider may take up the responsibility from the stage of installation and configuration to the customization, and maintenance. Or they may customize and maintain the existing infrastructure.
Efficient IT Provider
If you own an SME and need managed IT services, you have to look for a provider within the accessible area. Availability is the key factor, which enhances the service efficiency, especially on emergency calls. There are many other parameters which you need to consider.
- Resource Management: The provider should have sufficient experience in managing the hardware, networking, OS, database (RDBMS), security, and software applications. You may choose the licensed OS like Windows server and client with Active Directory Services. Or the open source OS like Linux Samba that works on similar principles. You may opt for Oracle dabase12C, MS SQL Server, Amazon RDS. Or you may opt for open source RDBMS like the MySQL or PSOTGRESQL. The network clients may be Windows, UBUNTU, or Mac. The network resources also include the shared printers, fax machines, scanners, copiers, Wi-Fi, etc.
- Security Management: Security is mostly managed through the OS and directory services. The system administrator will provide the rights and permissions to the users. They could be your employees, management personnel, customers and vendors, business partners etc. They may connect to your server and login from Local Area Network (LAN), Virtual Private Network (VPN), or Wi-Fi. The provider should be capable of authentication, authorization, and access level management using the directory services.
- Network Management: Network management is perhaps the most critical and challenging tasks for the IT provider. They should regulate the data traffic within the LAN, VPN and the internet thorough cloud services (having a shared server on the cloud and dedicated clients in the organization). They should ensure data accessibility and availability to the authorized users. At the same time, they should create a security infrastructure for keeping unauthorized users away. Installation of Network Interface Card (on server and clients), routers, switches, and bridges is another important task in which the IT provider should have experience. Some of the networks may also have multiple OS servers (Windows database server and Linux mail server), which connect to the clients. In such cases he should know how to auto-configure the client network protocols to match with the different servers in real time.
- Backup Management: Data is the biggest and the most critical asset for your organization. The IT provider should install the required hardware and software for regular data backup from the server and the client systems. Preferably, it should be on an independent computer (server), which is also connected to the entire network. The IT provider should provide auto redirection of the client requests to the backup server during emergency breakdown. So, the users won’t face the problem of data unavailability at any time. Meanwhile, the IT provider can repair the server, install the required OS, make the network configurations and connect it back to the network. His first task is to restore the real time data from the backup server to the main server and restore the network management. An experienced IT provider will be able to accomplish the tasks within the shortest possible time.
- Firewall Management: The experienced IT provider won’t take the risk of connecting the Internet connection to the main database server. Instead, he will plan for a mail and internet server within the LAN. The user creation, authentication, and management will be independent processes for this server. It will also host a firewall to prevent the external elements from getting unauthorized access to the client server within the LAN in your organization. The firewall is generally a combination of the hardware infrastructure and software applications. Besides, the IT provider should be capable of managing the installation and configuration of the Antivirus, antimalware, antispyware, and other protection measures within the firewall.
- Restoration Management: Data restoration from the backup server onto the main server and the clients is an equally complex task, similar to the backup. It involves two types, namely mass restoration and segmented restoration. Mass restoration happens after the corrupt main disk is repaired and formatted. The restore procedure also works in segments, when a part of the main server disk has become corrupt or experienced a breakdown. The server may also have a RAID system in which the multiple disks contain different set of data. The IT provider should be able to provide the restoration services based on the specific user requirement.
Experience in handling all the processes, and the related procedures is an added benefit for your organization. So, you don’t need to employ dedicated technical staffs for accomplishing these tasks. The IT provider will manage the tasks with his trained, skilled, and experienced team. You only pay the service charges, hardware and software costs, and the statutory expenses like Insurance, taxes, etc.
Maintenance – Trouble Free
The IT provider should be able to perform the preventive maintenance procedures at regular intervals. He should be able to detect the potential risks and take measures to prevent their occurrences much before they explode. Adherence to the ANSI standards of hardware and network configurations is the key efficiency factor for the managed IT provider. Also, he will be able to perform the corrective (post-breakdown) repair and restoration within the shortest possible time.
IT Provider- Where to Find
Local directory search in your region will be helpful. You can also get reference from your other entrepreneur friends. Or you can get the details from the search engines like Google. Then contact the IT provider in his address specified on the website. Consultations with the provider company and their existing clients will give you deep insight into the IT provider infrastructure, quality and service architecture.