Managed IT Services For Private Schools In Philadelphia, Washington DC and Baltimore
Which managed service provider is the perfect fit for your private school’s operation and students?
Are your administrative staff getting overwhelmed with IT issues? Perhaps it’s time to consider looking for an outside managed service provider that is the perfect fit to handle the IT for your private school. A good managed service provider can take the IT issues off your hands, solve them more efficiently, and save you money in the process. Routine tasks will be done effectively, and IT emergencies can be handled by experts to minimize downtime, and allow your school’s office manager to focus on routine office duties for your school. So, to help you determine which managed service provider is the best fit for your school, here is a list of questions to use when interviewing them.
Questions for Interviewing a Managed Service Provider for a Private School
1. What is their Company Culture?
Seeing eye-to-eye with a supplier or consultant is a key factor in working together. Therefore, getting to know the company culture can help you learn more about who they hire and how they operate. You can ask about what they value and prioritize, and how they hire and train their employees. You can also spend time interviewing the representative that will be your main contact. Other possible issues are levels of training and certifications as well as security required for a private school.
2. What are Their Competencies and Specialties?
Managed service providers train in specific systems and processes. They should have a list of certifications they have earned as well as an ongoing training plan to keep staff up-to-date at all times. Ensure that they are familiar with any regulations your private school is required to comply with as well as any preferred practices. Find out whether they offer an inclusive price or flat rate or if each service is priced separately. Does their pricing include network monitoring, software patching, hardware installation, server upgrades, or is there an extra cost for some services? What do they outsource and who do they outsource it to?
3. Do They Have a Guaranteed Response Time?
You should expect a managed service provider to offer a guaranteed response time for the times you have a problem with your IT network or website. Sometimes this depends on what level of support you are paying for. However, be wary of anyone who promises a quick resolution to any computer problem. Even though that sounds wonderful, some IT issues take longer to diagnose and fix.
4. What Happens in the Event of a Disaster?
Disaster planning is crucial when it comes to any organization, and doubly so when discussing a school’s private or proprietary computer records. What is their plan if a natural disaster affects your school? And what if it hits their business? How quickly would you be able to recover your records and your hardware? How well would they protect your interests? And how are the private records for your school protected in this instance?
5. How Do They Log Your Calls?
When you do have a computer or website issue that’s causing problems, it’s frustrating when you can’t get ahold of the person you need to get it fixed. Ask how they log your service call. Do they have a service call priority system and someone available 24/7? Or is there a way to contact your service representative via email or chat? These are all very important questions when your school’s computer system is down.
6. Are They Compliant in the Education Industry?
Your private school is required to comply with industry standards and government regulations. Does the company offer service-level agreements as to their compliance to these rules and relevant legal issues? Reputable managed service providers will list their compliance standards in all their informational materials. Compliance is a critical factor for their business as well as for your school.
7. How Much Do They Use Automation?
Technology has made it possible for routine IT tasks to become automated, making it quicker and easier for monitoring systems. In fact, automation means that tasks don’t get missed and issues are evident much earlier. This leaves time for humans to focus on higher-level issues and work on improving your service. Discuss how they can save your school’s administration time and money by automating routine tasks.
8. Do They Provide Remote Management and Monitoring?
Modern managed service providers can check on the state of your IT network, computers, and servers remotely without needing to visit your premises. Often they can update your system remotely too. This meshes well with a private school’s need to protect the privacy of the children in your care. It can also speed up the resolution of issues in your IT system, and cut labor costs.
9. How Will They Improve Your School’s Operation?
This is the crux of the matter when it comes to hiring a managed service provider. They need to fit seamlessly into your operation, and grow with you. Look for information on how they fit into other clients’ entities, and how they get along with other organization’s admin staff. What part of your workload will they take on, and what will your admin staff retain? These answers may vary depending on what you want, but in the end, if the return-on-investment is positive for your school, then you are doing the right thing.