Baffling error messages, endless invoices, and inadequate workarounds are just some of the issues you can expect to face if you’re trying to manage your own IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, if you’re running a small business, establishing a dedicated IT department is neither affordable nor even desirable.
Managed services offer a viable alternative by providing outsourced expertise and technology solutions. However, it’s also a market that’s grown enormously in recent years and, as a result, subpar MSPs are plentiful. That’s why you need to choose your MSP wisely and learn to look out for common red flags like the following:
#1. Poor communication
IT downtime, whether caused by system malfunctions, cyberattacks, or natural disaster, is one of the most common reasons behind massive, unexpected expenses. When your employees are left staring at blue screen error messages or customers are unable to access your website, you can’t afford to wait around.
Your outsourced IT department needs to work around the clock, and just abiding by the terms of a service level agreement is not enough by itself. If communications are impersonal, slow, or fail to deliver the value you expect, then it’s time to get out before things get worse. Good communication is, after all, the single most important characteristic of a decent MSP.
#2. Lack of guidance
The business IT sector is inundated with more useless hype than just about any other, which is one of the reasons why many technology strategies end up falling flat on their faces. All too often, business leaders end up caving in to the hype because they don’t fully understand how modern technology works and the value it can or cannot bring.
If your MSP is trying to push the latest products and services simply because that’s what all the others are doing, then they’re probably after quick and easy money rather than long-term collaboration. Every business is different, which is why a decent MSP should try to understand the challenges you face and align technology with your specific needs.
#3. Security compromises
One of the most common reasons businesses decide to partner with an MSP is to gain access to cutting-edge cybersecurity technology and expertise that they likely can’t obtain in-house. With data privacy and security being the concerns of the century, they’re something you cannot afford to compromise on.
The success of an MSP depends on its reputation and its track record of keeping client data safe. If they or one of their partners have recently suffered a major data breach, then it’s probably time to start looking elsewhere. This is doubly true if they haven’t been entirely up-front about such an attack right from the outset.
#4. Constant upselling
Although some business leaders see their technology partners as vendors, there’s a huge difference between vendors and service providers. Given the highly complex and constantly evolving nature of digital technologies, it’s more important than ever to have someone providing ongoing support and strategic guidance, not just someone who sells you something and leaves the scene.
The relationship between you and your MSP should be an ongoing business partnership with a mutual exchange of value. If every communication from them is starting to sound like a sales call, then your MSP definitely doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Be immediately wary of support requests that are instantly met with attempts at upselling or cross-selling.
#5. Increasing turnover
When it comes to finding dependable business partners, reputation is everything. Even if the experience with your MSP has been good to date, it always pays to keep an eye on their other customers and their market position. If the company is experiencing a high turnover rate, or the negative reviews are starting to pile up, then it’s probably a good idea to get out before the going gets rough.
Red Key Solutions provides IT support to companies in New York and Westchester. Give us a call today to discuss your business needs.
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