Finding a reliable IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) is essential to the success of your growing business. If you have experienced any of these problems with your current provider, it may be time to switch:
- Avoidable downtime
- Security breaches
- Data loss
- Communication & follow-through issues
- Resource limitations
- Increasing prices
All MSPs need to schedule network downtime for maintenance, upgrades, and/or changes, but unplanned outages can create significant issues — especially if they occur during the workday. Consider these important questions:
- Are you facing consistent network outages?
- Have you ever had an upgrade go awry during business hours?
- Are you otherwise experiencing what you believe to be avoidable downtime?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your company is likely suffering from one or more of the following:
- Network Quality Issues — Poor network design can result in inadequate redundancy to keep an occasional glitch from taking down your network. Investing in appropriately-sized infrastructure and the right IT Managed Services Provider will help keep your network running smoothly.
- Issues with Upgrades — Mishandling an upgrade (allowing it to run during business hours, scheduling it too close to the resumption of business hours, not properly testing things post-upgrade, etc.) is oftentimes an avoidable nuisance — it just takes experience, planning, and communication.
- Software Package Problems — Software problems can be especially complicated since they often necessitate communication between not only the MSP and the customer, but between those two parties and one or more software providers as well. Timely troubleshooting demands familiarity and competence — both of which the right MSP can provide.
While it is true that unplanned outages can occur for reasons outside of your IT provider’s control (your building loses power, your ISP (internet service provider) goes down, etc.), their responsiveness in all of the above situations, however, ultimately dictates whether or not it’s time to switch.
Every day, hackers are working non-stop to exploit holes in the defenses of IT systems, generally for monetary gain but sometimes simply for fun and/or to damage the reputation of the target. Most hackers are looking for Personal Identification Information (PII) or proprietary data, while some simply attempt to hold your data ransom in exchange for payment (ransomware).
When it comes to data security, the primary goal of an MSP is to keep hackers out in the first place; however, if hackers do manage to breach your network (which, if they want in badly enough, is generally doable), quick detection, containment, and expulsion are essential to minimize damage and liability.
A comprehensive data security program requires a mixture of technology, monitoring, and ongoing training. Anti-virus and malware protection software that is kept up-to-date is an essential building block for data security — as is continuous user training to help strengthen the weakest link in the security chain: your users. If your IT company is weak on security, then it is time to make a change.
According to Unitrends, 94% of businesses who suffer catastrophic data losses (due to fires, server failures without backups, etc.) never recover.
- A Case Study: Qnectus once served a small software hosting client who migrated to our environment from a RAID 0 setup, which promptly failed a day after we brought them into our environment. RAID 0 means there is no fault tolerance or redundancy. If this company had migrated even a day later, they would have lost everything, including all of the data they were hosting for their customers. Under no circumstances would their business have been able to survive.
Imagine losing order data, accounting files, etc. This simply cannot happen, which is why your business needs a solid IT team to minimize the likelihood of any kind of catastrophic loss.
Communication & Follow-Through Issues
It may not come as a surprise that many IT professionals are poor communicators — and they are often even worse at following through on requests, demands, promises, etc. For many companies, the size and style of an IT service provider may determine its fit for a growing business:
- Small: Single-person firms, for instance, provide a personalized level of service that is attractive to some; however, an individual can only be in so many places at once — and emergencies obviously trump even the best laid plans. If your business is poised to scale, it may be difficult for a one-person IT service provider to keep up.
- Medium: Medium-sized MSPs can often offer growing businesses the expertise and resources they need to succeed, while also providing a dedicated team that is familiar with their environment. If you have either limited financial resources or a very large business, however, a medium-sized firm might either be too large or too small.
- Large: Larger IT service providers have substantial internal resources; however, they generally lean on newer, less-skilled employees to handle initial communications, which can be frustrating for their customers and can slow down remediation. Further, because onsite work is often handled by different engineers over time, there is a learning curve with each visit — and not nearly as much institutional knowledge of the client infrastructure as you might expect.
Limitations in capacity and knowledge are obvious but common problems that may indicate it’s time to move on from your current MSP. Consider these two important questions when reevaluating your choice in IT Managed Services Providers:
- Is your business growing? Firms that are growing often have to move on from the one-engineer show. Additionally, as firms become larger, their IT needs often become more complex, necessitating access to higher-quality talent and knowledge. This is especially true for firms in highly regulated industries (finance, law, healthcare, etc).
- Does your business need specialization? Many IT firms specialize in a small number of vertical markets (for example, Qnectus often focuses on the wealth management and legal spaces) — and this specialization is a major selling point for many companies. While there is room for the sector-ambiguous IT firm, because of the sensitivity of IT, decision makers often feel better about providers who are uniquely capable in their fields.
A common complaint against incumbent MSPs is that they bill too much; admittedly, as IT companies mature and become more successful, they start to push the boundaries on this front. This is especially true for large- and medium-sized firms because they can afford to take a chance (small firms, however, are often too afraid to lose recurring revenue). If you feel you are being charged unfairly, it may be worth investigating a new provider. Competitors always have an incentive to suggest that you are being gouged by your incumbent (even if it isn’t true), but obtaining a new quote may at least provide useful insight.
If any of the above seems familiar, it may be time to consider switching to a more experienced, efficient partner. If you would like to learn more about Qnectus, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.