ing distributorships, this poses a chal- lenge: Can the provider be on-site at all of the different locations within the organization if need be? If the dis- tributorship itself is scaling upwards, the service provider should be able to scale with it.
3. How secure is the provider? Hopefully, security is a priority for all electrical distributorships, but unfortunately, the buck doesn’t stop there. The moment a distributor enlists a third party to provide IT services, it’s necessary to confirm that the provider also takes security seriously. “Distributors should be sure to have a partner that not only has the capa- bility to help it in the realm of secur- ity, but also has its own house in order in terms of security and has internal processes that protect its clients,” Seale said. After all, he added, “ulti- mately, the provider is going to be an extension of your team as it’s provid- ing services.”
4. How is the provider paid? Like many things, tech “as a ser- vice” can translate to a lot of different things, especially when it comes to billing models. For example, some providers apply monthly subscription fees, others charge flat fees for service bundles, while others work on an hourly basis. Determining which service-level agreement (SLA) is the right fit depends on the distributor- ship’s needs: Is an ongoing subscrip- tion or flat fee overkill if only mini- mal services are required? Would a pay-as-you-go plan, such as an hourly payment model, suffice? Or is the organization in danger of re- ceiving a huge bill when technicians have to be called in to fix a problem? When it comes to cloud-based ser- vices, SLAs should cover performance- related issues, such as what consti- tutes “acceptable” downtime, whether or not adequate bandwidth is avail- able, and, if the provider is not meet- ing its commitments in these areas, whether or not these are grounds for termination—or at least a financial credit, explained Robert Scott, man- aging partner at the law firm Scott & Scott. “All of those issues become im- portant because in the cloud scenario the business is relying on the vendor to provide not only the software, but also the infrastructure to make that software accessible in a way that is meaningful and usable for the in- tended purpose by the business,” said Scott.
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