Partnering with a managed I.T. provider offers several significant advantages. The right partner can not only take your I.T. systems to the next level but can also provide considerable business value. Access to skilled resources, reduced operational overheads, and improved efficiencies are just some of the advantages offered by a proficient I.T. provider.
When it comes to selecting an I.T. provider for your bank, it is crucial that you partner with an organization that has the relevant industry skills and experience to protect your I.T. infrastructure, confidential data, and customers. Not all managed services providers (MSPs) are created equal. Even though some may have an excellent track record in providing I.T. services, you need a partner who understands the nuances of your business and industry if they are going to add any real value. Consequently, it is essential to know which questions to ask.
1 – What Do You Know About Banking and Finance?
If your managed service provider is going to maintain your bank’s I.T. and provide a useful service, they need to understand your business. Not only do they need to appreciate the intricacies of your particular operation, but they also need to have a grasp on what is happening in the industry as a whole. As such, it is essential that your chosen I.T. provider has strong financial industry experience and is aware of the latest trends, technologies, and processes impacting the banking world.
A managed I.T. partner with the requisite experience in your industry can become a force multiplier for your bank. With access to the latest skills and technologies that are relevant to the banking world, they can guide and advise you on current technology strategies and help you implement them. Therefore, choosing the right partner not only offers you the ability to leave I.T. in the hands of a provider with the relevant expertise, but it also gives you the freedom to introduce innovative technology solutions for your customers.
2 – How Do You Intend on Keeping My Data Secure?
Every business relies on its technology to operate and on its data to function. However, in the financial industry, a bank losing its data would have a catastrophic effect on its business and customers. Unlike hardware and software which are replaceable in the event of a disaster, data once lost cannot be reconstructed. Every transaction recorded in a banking institution creates some form of a data record that needs protection from hardware failures, human error, and cyber attacks.
It is vital that your managed I.T. provider offer services which protect your data. First and foremost, they must ensure you have a robust and efficient backup solution in place, which should also form part of a more substantial disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Furthermore, your managed I.T. provider must also have the relevant skills, experience, and technology solutions to protect your data from any security threats. For example, they should provide services such as anti-malware protection, firewall management, security practice reviews, and security awareness training.
3 – Do You Offer any Managed Cloud Services?
Cloud services have disrupted the traditional I.T. operating model. In today’s cloud-first world, organizations can take advantage of this disruption and introduce rapid innovation and enhanced efficiencies into their I.T. operations. The introduction of cloud computing has transformed traditional I.T. services such as data backups, disaster recovery, email, and file storage among others. As such, organizations taking advantage of this new cloud service model can significantly reduce costs, introduce efficiencies, and streamline their I.T. operations.
Your I.T. partner must be on top of emerging trends and technologies and should, therefore, have managed cloud services as part of their offering. Even if they do not host these services on their infrastructure, they should have the relevant partnerships in place with current industry leaders and the requisite skills to provision and manage these services for you. Furthermore, an I.T. provider should also offer specialized security services to protect your data in the cloud. The right cloud partner must be able to introduce efficiencies and enable you to focus on your core business while providing your critical financial data with the protection it needs.
4 – Which Process Frameworks Do You Follow?
A comprehensive I.T. service consists of a blend of people, process, and technology. A capable I.T. partner must provide a service which combines all three factors if they are to protect your business with a holistic service. Process is an essential factor in any managed I.T. service as it lays down the rules of engagement the provider will follow as they implement, maintain, and monitor your systems. As such, understanding the processes your I.T. partner has in place is a vital factor in determining the level of service and stability they offer.
For example, If your managed I.T. provider follows a framework which details the processes and procedures they use for I.T. service management, you can rest assured that they have methods in place to mitigate risk and maintain an environment to internationally accepted best practices. Their framework should have a set methodology that details processes such as incident, change, and configuration management, ensuring they provide a level of stability and predictability which are vital to your I.T. operations.
5 – Who Are Your Technology Partners?
No managed I.T. provider can offer leading solution if it has no formal relationships with some dominant technology partners. Not only do these partnership agreements give the managed I.T. partner access to specialist vendor skills, but it also gives them an inside track on emerging technologies that could benefit their customers.
Your bank has probably already invested in a technology platform which it uses as a standard to deliver integrated services to your users and customers. When selecting your managed I.T. provider, it is crucial that they understand your current technology landscape and have the necessary skills and partnerships to operate and maintain it for you. For example, if you have standardized on a Microsoft platform, it would be wise to contract with a managed I.T. provider who has the certification, track record, and customer satisfaction score which certifies them as a Gold Partner.
Ask the Right Questions
Selecting a managed I.T. provider for your bank is a process which requires the necessary due diligence. Partnering with the correct provider can help you increase efficiencies, decrease costs, and streamline your I.T. operations. However, the wrong partner could put your I.T. infrastructure, data, and business at risk. As such, it is vital that your prospective managed I.T. partner understands the banking industry, knows how to secure your data, offers managed cloud services, has formal I.T. service management processes in place, and has the requisite certifications and partnerships with the relevant technology vendors.
JMARK has been helping banks in Springfield and Tulsa increase their success with the help of innovative I.T. solutions for thirty years. The driving force behind everything we do is to help our clients leverage technology to save money and achieve their goals. To learn more about how we can provide the effective managed I.T. service your bank needs, contact us today.
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