Yes, change is hard… but ignoring reality is costly!

Information Technology is often considered a necessary evil both small and midsize businesses find inconvenient. These days, getting adequate support for IT has become far more important than it used to be.

Deciding your business needs to rethink its I.T. provider is a daunting step, especially if your company puts a significant portion of its budget toward technology services.

For most businesses, hiring the right managed service provider is the best way to get professional IT support. After all, it’s efficiently handled by a team of dedicated IT experts rather than a single worker who can quit, fall sick, take vacations, or lack necessary skills for a wide range of issues.

Your company will face challenges such as health care, taxes, compliance, and more. You shouldn’t let IT issues become one of them.

However, eventually, no matter what kind of business you run, IT issues crop up from time to time.

People come and go, which means you should be supported by a Team, not an individual. A Team works together to help everyone reach their goals, while an individual works for their own personal gain.

If your staff can’t handle the work, there is a lack of IT strategy or you don’t have a designated IT person on staff, it’s time to outsource.

An able MSP will use best-in-class tools and technologies to deliver the best solutions. They will take a proactive approach to be able to detect and solve problems before they can cause you harm. They will also prevent the likelihood of the issue arising again.

When it comes to executing a corporate strategy, the single biggest problem that businesses face is how to focus people and resources in the direction of their strategic initiatives.

In terms of IT services for smaller businesses, the “if it breaks, then you fix it” model neither focuses your employees on the job they were hired to do nor uses your resources effectively. In an extensive study conducted by IBM, they found that the solution is to use outsourced, managed services.

If figuring out why your wifi isn’t working perplexes you, that’s a pretty good sign you should consider outsourcing your IT to a managed IT service provider. They maintain and manage IT for small, medium and large businesses and they make them more efficient and effective.

If you’re a business owner of any sized business, outsourcing IT can support you in your success. Keep reading for all the benefits of managed IT services.

Managed IT Services have existed for years. However, many businesses and organizations have relied solely on in-house IT teams to manage their technology. According to research from CompTIA, that trend has is changing as more businesses recognize the value of outsourced IT firms. Over two-thirds of the companies surveyed have subcontracted IT support. These IT specialists are able to assist with a wide variety of technical services including:

  • Monitoring networks
  • Backup and recovery
  • Email hosting
  • Data storage and CRM applications
  • Maintaining HIPAA compliance

Lost files, hacked data, network outages—these problems might start as minor annoyances, but they can quickly escalate to affect every facet of your business. Your company depends on having an I.T. infrastructure in place that can handle all its day-to-day operations efficiently. When one aspect of the system breaks down, it can spell disaster.

So, which MSP do you choose? The main problem is that on paper, many managed service providers appear to look the same. All provide monitoring, preventative maintenance, help desk services, project expertise and some level of account management and/or strategic guidance, so what's the difference?

Everything usually goes well until an unexpected event occurs like an unplanned outage with little explanation, debatable charges, or negative comments from your employees about the poor service they're experiencing from the managed services provider. Technology is not perfect and unplanned events do occur. What matters is how your MSP handles the situation and the customer's experience.

Here the key reasons it's time to hire a new managed services provider:

1. Unrecoverable data after an incident

This is usually a death penalty for the contract if the explanation is not rock-solid. Successful and consistent backup and restore operations are still the biggest challenges many MSP’s face as they grow. You can recover from almost anything but lost data is priceless. There should be no mercy here. Any business will run dead without its data. How long can your business survive if you lost or compromised your key data? Our guess would be, not long. With strict regulations like the GDPR coming into effect in 2018, your MSP should have ironclad data protection and data backup plans for you. Failure to protect your data, will not only make you liable to lawsuits from your clients, but also huge fines from government bodies.

2. Unplanned Outages and Downtime

Your MSP monitors and manages your infrastructure, and through strategic guidance and suggested investments, the MSP is in control for the most part. Risks and costs associated with outages are significant. See Dave Davenport’s blog about the true cost of your MSP contract.

3. Poor communication

As an MSP, we’re on the move most of the time. Hence the absolute necessity for us to be accurate and crisp in our communication with your employees and management team

4. Bad Follow-Up and Follow-through

We all get busy at times, but this is no excuse to not follow-up and through with our customers. It’s a process weakness if this aspect is not up to par with your current MSP. It’s also very hard

to fix.

5. Strategic guidance is more like a sales call

Don’t confuse account management and strategic guidance. Too often we observe basic account management services called strategic guidance or vCIO Services. Although both are needed, they are NOT the same thing. The correct managed services provider for your business can double up as a virtual CIO. Many organizations have rudimentary knowledge of enterprise IT systems, and as such outsource their IT to an MSP. However, due to bad business practices, many MSPs use this as an opportunity to milk more out of their clients. Stuck with unnecessary expensive upgrades to your software you hardly use? Your MSP might have tricked you.

6. Do I get value for my business out of this contract?

Real strategic guidance done regularly through a well-structured approach will yield measurable results in terms of cost savings, budget planning, performance increase and a better support for the growth of the business.

7. “Pay-as-You-Go” type of support contracts

Your MSP must have some skin-in-the-game. You cannot be the only one losing when things go south. This means that the MSP must be held accountable when things go wrong on your side.

8. I love my MSP because I love the tech support that handles my issues

9. Your MSP Does Not Have Close To 24/7/365 Monitoring

Most employees in your company may work 9 to 5, but your network and your data never sleeps. As such, your managed services partner must be round-the-clock too. Your MSP must have the correct blend of remote and on-site personnel available at all times of the day and night to give you proactive 24/7/365 monitoring services.

10. You Have Outgrown Your MSP

Sometimes, your MSP might struggle to provide you with the best support, despite their best efforts. This might not always be their fault. Maybe, your company outgrew your MSP. Maybe, they simply don’t have the manpower or access to the latest technologies that you need to sustain and better your own growth. It might be time to part ways with your MSP.

ProV International Inc, are an MSP that provides best-in-class IT support services with the right mix of on-site and remote support. We deliver robust security measures, strategic IT consulting, automation technologies like RPA, and a host of other services that can digitally transform your business for more agility.

11. Your Network Is Slow or Unreliable

When your network moves at a glacial pace, every aspect of your business grinds to a halt. Internal and external communication is the lifeblood of any organization, so the infrastructure you have in place needs to be fast and reliable. In a 2017 study, Mushroom Networks found that 72% of businesses lost data due to network downtime, and as many as one-third experienced a network outage every month. Each incident typically resulted in eight hours of lost work—an entire day’s work down the drain. In addition to being an inconvenience that absolutely wrecks productivity, these outages can result in critical information losses. If this sounds a little too familiar, it’s probably time to reexamine your network—and the MSP in charge of providing it. Any business can be faced with internet outages and server crashes. But, when it does, your provider should get on it immediately. If it takes ages for your MSP to respond, you are potentially faced with loss of production and money. Service outages can cost you millions.

12. You Are Unprepared for a Cyberattack

According to a recent study by Symantec, 43% of hacks target small businesses. It’s not hard to see why; small organizations often do not adequately prioritize cybersecurity, making them easier targets. Movies and TV often portray hackers as evil geniuses looking to tackle the next great cyber-challenge, but in reality, the vast majority of them are just trying to steal credit card numbers with as little effort as possible, preferably while eating cheesy snacks. That makes a small business look pretty appetizing compared to a massive corporation with unlimited resources dedicated to protecting its data. With that in mind, it pays to do everything in your power to make life difficult for hackers and render your business a less desirable target. Your MSP should offer monitoring services, secure cloud storage, authentication, and data backup. Make sure the staff of any MSP you are considering is well versed in the latest emerging security threats, such as spear phishing, custom malware, and ransomware. If your MSP does not regularly update its security measures and train employees on how to deal with new threats, you could be making yourself vulnerable to future attacks.

13. You Need to Save Money

An MSP that is not cost-effective for your business can be a huge drain on your budget, especially if it is not performing as well as you would like. Ideally, a managed service provider operates by taking care of ongoing tasks such as network maintenance, storage, and security, freeing up your in-house I.T. staff to do their jobs more effectively. (Of course, a good MSP can also handle the duties of an I.T. department if your company does not have one.)

If you feel that you are spending too much on I.T. solutions, consider doing a budget breakdown in order to determine how your money is being used. How much of your budget goes toward managed services, and are you getting your money’s worth? What services do they provide exactly, and do their competitors offer similar or better options at a lower cost? Conducting a minimal amount of research can result in major savings across the board. Many business owners assume that one MSP is as good as another and don’t revisit the decision once they have chosen one, but digging a little deeper into available options could save you a lot of money in the long run. Just remember not to fall into the trap of spending less simply for the sake of spending less. Keep in mind the old push/pull of cost versus quality. Seek out the highest quality service for the best overall price, not simply the lowest total cost.

14.Your Desired Business Outcomes Are Not Being Met

A well-rounded MSP will help you to enhance your entire business and meet your stated goals. That means approaching your company holistically with an eye toward helping you achieve positive business outcomes. If your current managed service provider only provides point solutions to specific technological problems, it could be worth the effort to find one that sees your company as a unique entity rather than just one of many interchangeable clients. Technology is a tool you use to reach your stated goals, after all, so be sure that your MSP is aware of your short- and long-term objectives and is actively supporting them.

15. Your IT Person is Unable to Carry the Load

As your business grows, so will your IT issues. If you have a limited budget, you might only have one or two IT people on staff. When you start to notice your staff can’t handle the workload or things are falling through the cracks, it’s time to give them some support. Hiring an IT service provider can help fill in the gaps so your staff can focus on other daily tasks.

16. Lack of a Designated IT Person

If your business cannot afford a full-time IT person, you might rely on a tech-savvy member of your staff. Without the proper IT knowledge, allowing someone to care of the IT needs of the business can do more harm than good. Not to mention you’re taking them away from their everyday responsibilities. Getting an IT service provider will fit into your budget and allow you to stop worrying about your technological needs.

17. Your Budget is Limited

When your budget is limited but the IT needs of your business keep growing, hiring an outside IT service provider is the perfect solution. This way you can meet the needs of the business and not have to hire full-time staff.

18. Lack of IT Strategy

What is your IT strategy? Do you know how your business will prevent and handle security breaches? If the answer is no, then you lack an IT strategy.

Every year it’s important for every business to have a strong IT strategy in place. A managed IT company can help you put it in place.

19. Your MSP Does Not Have Close To 24/7/365 Monitoring

Most employees in your company may work 9 to 5, but your network and your data never sleeps. As such, your managed services partner must be round-the-clock too. Your MSP must have the correct blend of remote and on-site personnel available at all times of the day and night to give you proactive 24/7/365 monitoring services.

20. You Need Better Security

In order for your company to be as financially sound as possible, your technology infrastructure needs to run efficiently with minimal downtime. After all, if your employees are unable to work because of network issues, your business loses money. This is why business IT security is one of the most important parts of running your company. Having the best computers, servers, cloud services solutions, and other technology for your business is great, but it becomes meaningless if your company is hit by an attack from a hacker and the technology is not properly secured.

The right security, however, is not something you should purchase from a box store. For business IT security, you need to have the right team behind you to help protect against these attacks, and make sure any damage is minimal if an attack gets through.

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