managed service provider (MSP) should focus on aligning your technology with your business goals. To achieve this, the MSP should perform a thorough assessment of your organization’s IT environment and provide a detailed analysis of your network and security capabilities. Some businesses find it difficult to understand why an IT environment assessment is necessary, but it’s important to remember every organization has a unique IT infrastructure with specific needs. Therefore, an MSP must have a comprehensive understanding of your technology strengths and weaknesses before developing an IT strategy for your company. Addressed below are a few questions and concerns that arise regarding IT environment assessments.
“An MSP should perform a detailed IT environment assessment so that both the business and the provider understand exactly what they’re working with. Anything else will lead to conflict.”—Patrick Wiley (CEO of Aldridge)
What an IT environment assessment entails
The MSP’s examination of your IT environment should occur before a managed services contract is signed between your business and the IT provider you’re considering. The managed IT services provider should schedule a principal to principal meeting where an executive from your company (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.) meets with an executive from the MSP’s firm to determine the goals of your organization and discuss the IT problems inhibiting your business. After this meeting occurs, the MSP will perform a network assessment and security audit of your company’s operations. A Professional Services Engineer should complete a technical analysis of your infrastructure and, if needed, physically tour your office to develop an understanding the needs and roles of your staff.
After this analysis is complete, the MSP will have a clear understanding of your business culture and be capable of determining a current and future budget for your company. Essentially, the managed IT services provider will compare your IT environment’s actual performance to the desired performance your business wishes to achieve, and will provide a deliverable report that outlines how the MSP can help your company accomplish its technology objectives.
Benefits of an IT environment assessment
Often, businesses underestimate the amount of equipment existing within their IT environment and may claim a lower number of routers, servers, computers, and other devices than they actually have. This can be dangerous when entering into a contract with an MSP who is determining an estimate for their services upon this information.
Without completing an IT environment assessment, the MSP may be surprised that your business uses more equipment than is covered in the quote initially agreed upon. It may be required to request an increase in its fees beyond what fits your budget in order to align its service with what you actually use. A misunderstanding of this magnitude can result in conflict, dissatisfaction, and potential legal encounters for both the managed IT services provider and the client.
A prior analysis of your organization’s IT infrastructure can prevent such issues as well as provide your business with a deliverable, comprehensive executive summary composed by the MSP. This report will outline the immediate threats to your IT environment, compliance gaps, the pros and cons of your current network, and the MSP’s recommendations for adjustments to your technology.
In addition, the MSP will be capable of determining if your business is fit for managed IT services and provide an accurate budget for the plans outlined in the report. Essentially, a technical analysis is paired with an executive analysis to create a clear picture of the pain areas in your business’s infrastructure, as well as the technology management and hardware improvements that can be made to resolve these issues.
IT environment assessment costs
The idea of paying for an IT environment assessment can be a deterrent for businesses who underestimate the importance of this process. A managed IT services provider who conducts a detailed examination of your infrastructure will normally charge for their services because of the high level of resources invested in the assessment. Additionally, the report will be a valuable tool for your business when comparing the prices, services, and improvements recommended by other MSPs in the market. While some managed IT services providers offer this service for free, their analysis is generally self-serving and only highlights basic details concerning your technology needs.
An IT environment analysis is standard protocol for Aldridge and our review of your technology infrastructure goes beyond identifying target problem areas. Our executive team will take the time to design a plan for your IT environment that suits the unique goals of your company. See how an IT audit can help your business.