Lean On Me I.T.

10 Signs It’s Time to Switch I.T. Companies (Managed Service Providers)

Are you wondering if it’s time to switch I.T. companies? Your businesses managed IT service provider (MSP) plays a key role in streamlining a wide range of ongoing tasks and responding to challenges.  The average small business doesn’t have the experience or budget to hire their own internal IT team, which is where Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) come into the picture.  If used right, an MSP serves as a trusted advisor and support team for your business. If you don’t feel like that is the relationship you have or find yourself struggling with the items below, it may be time to switch MSPs. In fact, approximately 80% of business owners indicated that they’re unhappy with the level of service their current MSPs provide. 

How to Know When It’s Time to Look for a New Managed Services Provider

1. Lack of Trust

Trusting your MSPs knowledge, motivation and integrity, may be the most important element in a successful partnership. Technology has become an integral part of business. A knowledgeable MSP recommends improvements beyond hardware. They provide direction for improved workflow, training, and potentially even software systems. They have invaluable industry-specific insights into what can work well and what might not be right for your business. This means your MSP will have access to key systems and may see sensitive information when working with your team. Trusting that they have your success in mind and will keep any sensitive information they see confidential is key.

If you question whether your MSP has your business’s best interest at heart or fear they will do something to harm your business, you need a new MSP!

2. Security Concerns

Cyberattacks, data breaches, and other security threats that can harm your business or customers are increasing every year. Your managed service provider plays a key role in ensuring that your company takes as many precautions as possible.

Security should be a topic of discussion in all parts of your business including your network, email, computers and even your office’s physical security. 

  • At a minimum, your MSP should be providing threat protection for your PC’s and servers. Traditional business anti-virus is still a standard for many MSPs, however you really want an MSP using modern EDR (Endpoint Detection & Response) software along with a managed SOC (Security Operations Center) to identify and put a stop to modern threats.
  • If your MSP is managing your email, they should provide an email security service to minimize spam and phishing emails as well as offering protection from email based threats via attachments and links.
  • Your MSP should encourage you to deploy a business firewall with active threat protection. These firewalls known as “Next-Gen” firewalls are linked to a global system that allows modern threats to be stopped before they can reach your computer systems.
  • If your business is required to meet any type of compliance regulations, such as HIPAA, NCUA, CMMC, NIST, or PCI, they should be having conversations with you to ensure you’re in compliance.
  • If your business has purchased a cyber insurance policy, it’s important that your MSP reviews the requirements with you as they will often have specific policy expectations.

If your MSP is not protecting your business in these areas and/or having these discussions with you, it’s time to switch MSPs.

3. Response Time

Are you waiting longer and longer to hear back after you submit an issue? Are you the one notifying your MSP of high-priority issues such as internet outages or a server crash? Do you need to check-in on the status of issues because you haven’t heard back from your MSP?

There are a number of reasons this could be happening. Perhaps they haven’t invested in the technology necessary to properly monitor and track your systems. Maybe they are not staffed adequately.  Some MSP’s will cut corners with their systems and/or understaff their support team in an effort to increase profits. 

If you email in a support request, you should get a confirmation that it was received. In addition, a technician should be responding within an hour or two at most (within business hours) with an update. On average you should look to reach someone within 15 minutes or less.  If they are unable to resolve it right away, they should give you some indication of when you can expect a resolution. The key factor here is the response. If they fail to communicate, switch to an MSP that will!

4. Recurring Issues

If you seem to experience the same problems over and over and your provider has not addressed it with you or your team, you may need to find a new provider.  A good MSP should be keeping track of overall performance of your systems as well as what types of support tickets your team has submitted.  An MSP’s goal should be to make a positive impact on your business by leveraging technology, not simply closing out tickets and moving on.  A good MSP should prevent issues from happening and explain what steps should be taken to ensure they don’t happen again.

5. Limited Disaster Recovery Planning

Even the strongest businesses run into problems from time to time. In fact, even companies that take every possible precaution can experience a data breach, cyberattack, or other major problem. This requires immediate response from IT professionals who have an in-depth understanding of what they are doing.  Learning about the disaster recovery options your MSP offers before you need them is an important step in ensuring that there are adequate plans in place to quickly reverse the effects of any major issue long before you need this type of assistance.  Finding out that your MSP has no procedures for responding to cyberattacks or other disasters is a key sign it’s time to switch MSPs.

6. Constant Up-Selling

If your MSP is constantly trying to sell you new products or services, without considering what your firm actually needs, it may be time to switch MSPs.

A good MSP consults with clients on how technology can make their organization more efficient and secure. Be wary of companies selling services that are unnecessary or that they are unable to explain in a way that makes sense for your organization. Any recommendations should justify the costs, through increased efficiency, security or long term savings.  They should also be able to support their recommendations with data and reporting.  If they are unable to justify the purchase, they may not have your best interests in mind. If this is the case, it’s definitely time to switch MSPs.

Consulting and recommending additional products/services is not immediately a bad thing, in fact if done properly it’s what you want to see.  The key here is that your MSP should be proactive.  Continually reviewing your services and recommending changes or actions that will help you operate more efficiently and securely. Many businesses are not aware of how a simple firewall or vulnerability scan can prevent a major catastrophe. So, this is the type of “sale” that makes sense.

7. Surprises On Your Invoice

You sign up with an MSP in an effort to stabilize your IT spending, yet nearly every invoice is higher then what you expected. There are a few reasons this could be happening.

  • Your MSP is purchasing and installing equipment w/out your knowledge. The role of an MSP is to help you prioritize, plan and budget for additional expenses, not surprise you with added costs.
  • There may be a discrepancy between what you thought was covered under your contract and what is actually included. It’s not your job to understand all of the intricacies involved in delivering IT support, but it is the job of your MSP to make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s not.
  • Employees may not understand the scope of your agreement. Your MSP should be verifying any action with leadership if an additional expense will be incurred.

8. Lack of Transparency

Your MSP should be able to communicate, at any given point, any open issues or projects. Sophisticated ticket systems make it easy to track the status of every issue going on at your firm.  If your MSP isn’t providing you visibility into your companies support tickets or you’re being charged for labor time without explanation, then move on, you deserve better!

9. High Turnover

Every business has its share of employee turnover, but if it is difficult to reach someone that is knowledgeable about your business, your network, and your people, it may be time to move on.  A good MSP will provide you with a team of dedicated support representatives that are familiar with your business’ needs and workflow.

This is not to say that every issue should be handled by the most tenured person with whom you share years of experience.  It’s important to allow less experienced technicians to become familiar with your systems, with the knowledge that those with knowledge of your company are still looking out for your best interests.

10. Blaming / Finger-Pointing

A key benefit of working with an MSP is knowing that all of your IT resources are being monitored and managed by a single company. They should be able to work with outside vendors, such as an internet service provider or the support team for your industry specific software. A good MSP will have a pulse on the other IT services connected to your account and take some responsibility when things go wrong, even if it’s not their fault. For example, an MSP does not provide internet access, however they should still alert you if you have insufficient bandwidth BEFORE something goes wrong. They should be an advocate on your behalf and not just another provider you have to “deal with”.