No one ever wants to hear that their IT service provider may be doing more harm than good, but the fact of the matter is that incompetent or fraudulent providers do exist in the industry, and many people have been burned by them. Determining whether or not your current MSP team is working with you honestly and competently can be difficult because it’s hard to tell the good ones from the bad ones if you don’t know what to look for.
If your tech provider is always trying to upsell you on different products, it may be time for a switch. This can indicate that they’re more interested in padding their own pockets than helping you grow your business, which could lead to you being forced into buying something that isn’t necessarily right for your business.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that there may be times when a new product or service would benefit your company. But if someone at your MSP tries to pressure you into buying something without explaining how it will benefit your company or what other options are available to achieve the same end result is cause for concern. If an MSP tries offering special pricing or cutting costs by taking away crucial services like antivirus protection and backing up data, those are big red flags.
Missed deadlines on your Service Level Agreement (SLA) are also another red flag. When you signed up with your MSP, your contract (should have) had a section that set forth the response times based on the level of severity. These times will vary from MSP to MSP, but a good example is:
Priority 1 Ticket
- Description of a P1: System Down Issues, Business Cannot Be Conducted
- Response Time: 30 mins
- Ongoing Updates: At least hourly
Priority 2 Ticket
- Description of a P2: Major System Impact, Still Partially Functional
- Response Time: 1 hour
- Ongoing Updates: Every 2 hours
Priority 3 Ticket
- Description of a P3: Minor System Impact, Mostly Functional
- Response Time: 3 hours
- Ongoing Updates: Daily
SLA’s tend to be more detailed, and further define timelines on when a P1, P2, and P3 ticket should be resolved, but the foregoing is a good example. Also, with respect to SLA’s, if your MSP doesn’t have one or never provided an SLA section in the contract you signed with them, that is a huge red flag.
MSPs are notorious for having a high employee attrition rate. If your MSP is losing and replacing employees left and right, that could be an indicator that something isn’t right in their company culture. If their service is stellar in every other regard, it might not be cause for looking to replace them, but if you start to see one or two of the other red flags, this situation should be given “red flag” consideration.
10 Attributes of A Competent IT Service Provider
1. They are proactive instead of reactive.
2. They don’t treat you like just another number.
3. If you ask for something, they’ll tell you if it isn’t an option and why (instead of saying yes and then telling you later that it can’t be done).
4. You don’t have to push them very hard before they come up with creative ways to help your business succeed (instead of just fixing problems as they arise).
5. They’re transparent about all fees and costs so there aren’t any surprises at renewal time or during a billing dispute (whereas some providers will purposely hide fees in order to make more money).
6. They will work with you to find better ways of doing things (as opposed to simply doing things their way).
7. They show up on time and keep appointments (instead of canceling on you or being late all of the time).
8. They understand how your business works, so they’re not constantly asking you for detailed explanations when something goes wrong (and they can fix it much more quickly than if they have no idea what’s going on).
9. They help keep your business running smoothly (instead of just keeping your computers up and running).
10. They take responsibility for any problems they cause (instead of blaming you or someone else).
The Bottom Line On MSPs
There are many factors that go into selecting a new MSP, including price, availability, and reputation. In some industries, word-of-mouth is crucial in landing great MSPs. Regardless of what method you choose, make sure you keep in mind the red flags of your current provider and keep the list of attributes of a good MSP close by when you’re interviewing new companies. By communicating your needs clearly from day one and getting expert advice from someone who has years of experience with IT service providers and cloud computing services, you can avoid investing too much time in an unsatisfactory IT services relationship.
If you think your current MSP is a dumpster fire and you’re ready to move on, contact Axeleos today to discuss your options. Axeleos offers IT managed services for businesses all over the US.