The 7 Red Flags to Watch Out For In a Managed IT Service Provider

The global managed IT services market has grown at an unprecedented rate. In 2014, the market was valued at $128.2 billion (USD), and this year it’s expected to reach $171.6 billion (USD). This upward trend is largely due to the growing popularity of the cloud, heightened security concerns, and the increasing complexity of IT environments. With more technologies expected to arrive in the near future; businesses are running out of reasons why they shouldn’t partner with a managed it service provider.

However; not all MSPs are perfectly suited for your company. Because it’s such a large market; you could end up with a subpar provider that’s not adding any value to your business. Here are seven signs that help determine when your managed IT provider is no longer right for you.

Your ‘Managed’ IT is actually break-fix

Access to IT support is essential for the smooth operation of your company; but if your MSP focuses solely on issue resolution and ignores proactive maintenance; then you have a problem. A break-fix job is temporary; technicians patch only the issues that emerged that day, neglecting the root cause of the problem. This means you spend more money and energy fixing the same problem when it comes back.

Any managed IT services partner should proactively maintain your software and systems. Your office may close after 6PM, but that doesn’t mean your business stops running. Servers, workstations, and networks have to be monitored and maintained 24/7 to resolve issues quickly. And if systems do malfunction; your IT team should root out the source of the problem so it doesn’t come back to haunt you — regardless of when it happens.

Poor service

Another red flag to be wary of is slow response times. If IT support is taking hours or days to fix your computers; then your productivity — and by extension, your bottom line — suffers. In fact, Gartner estimates that per-minute costs of downtime can reach $5,600; and if your workstations are out for several hours, your business is in trouble. To avoid this, find a trustworthy provider who guarantees quick response times and high availability (preferably 99.9% uptime) in their service-level agreements.

Data is not secure

Data is the lifeblood of most businesses. And given the increasing scale and frequency of data breaches and natural disasters; you shouldn’t settle for a provider that doesn’t create, deploy, and test cybersecurity and recovery solutions. Your MSP must understand data security regulations and reinforce your infrastructure with endpoint protection, security updates, and full system encryption.

Also, ask yourself: Does my provider back up company data in secure offsite data centres? Do they develop comprehensive business continuity plans to prepare my business for disasters? If the answers to both these questions are a resounding “no”; we suggest looking for someone who provides a strong disaster recovery safety net.

IT doesn’t help you scale

You need a partner who is invested in your business and provides technologies to help you grow. If your IT provider can’t deploy a system that can handle higher user counts, storage space, and computing workloads; go with someone else.

For example, with IaaS, you get access to on-demand technology resources that can be scaled up at a moment’s notice when managed by professionals. Cloud applications like Office 365 can also be augmented without purchasing physical copies or performing lengthy installs. Ultimately, your provider should be actively assisting in improving your operations and increasing your revenue streams.

Increased customer complaints

Receiving dozens of complaints is usually a symptom of a much larger problem. In most cases, your team is not performing up to snuff because your data is being handled incorrectly; or your reporting systems aren’t working properly.

When existing technologies are hindering your ability to serve your customers, you need a partner that specialises in customer relationship management (CRM) software. This allows you to record customer interactions across all your communication channels, track client preferences and behaviour, and store this information in a centralised database. When integrated with communication systems; this data is displayed whenever customer service staff call clients; allowing them to spend less time manually looking for the right information and more time keeping customers happy.

You’re going over budget

Large IT expenses are often the result of wrong tech investments, inadequate IT planning, and lack of insight into what your company needs. Any MSP worth its salt should be working towards understanding your operations and helping you achieve your business objectives with the right tools for your budget. When IT spending is starting to spin out of control, contact your IT team, inform them about your budgetary constraints, and ask them to scale down solutions or suggest cost-cutting alternatives. You must not trust MSPs interested in upselling rather that prioritizing your requests.

Your MSP is slow to react to industry developments

Staying on top of the latest tech trends is crucial in getting a competitive edge. And unless your provider has partners with industry leaders, and has a system to keep track of developments, you could be missing out on productivity-boosting technologies and business-saving security updates. The ideal MSP should actively keep your systems up to date, alert you of the latest threats, and open your eyes and ears to new business opportunities.

Worried about anything mentioned in this article; it’s time to re-evaluate your partnership with your current MSP. Are they doing their part in growing your business, solving operational bottlenecks, and reducing IT headaches? No matter what type of industry you’re in, working with the right IT provider can mean the difference between success and failure.

When Empower IT is your partner, we can guarantee that you won’t experience any of the problems listed above. But if you’re not convinced, call us today so we can prove to you why we’re a leading MSP in Australia.