Every business requires some level of IT services to help manage cybersecurity, data backups, disaster recovery, cloud migration, and even help desk support. To maintain these services, there are two options: 1) create and maintain an in-house team 2) work with a third-party managed IT service provider (MSP) like GCS.
The effort to stand up an internal team and keep it functioning at a high level is an ongoing challenge to most small to medium-sized businesses that can’t get the economies of scale a large company can achieve. Outsourcing is often the best option for companies that lack the time, skills, or desire needed to implement a full-fledged internal team.
That said, not all IT service providers are the same, and even the high-quality MSPs can have their levels of quality can change over time as their business priorities, and staffing evolve.
Whether due to a change of ownership, turnover of employees, or just a general decline in performance over the years, it is often necessary to move to a new IT service provider. So, the question is: when should your organization switch to a different provider?
Answer: when you see any of these signs!
Sign #1: They Don’t Understand What You Need
Your IT provider may provide services that span multiple areas of your business. Even so, they are still an outside party, so you cannot expect them to know or understand everything about your business.
However, they should know the parts that directly touch or affect IT service delivery. For example, if you incorporate the use of cloud services, they should understand your cloud risk landscape and know how to mitigate risks that can affect your business continuity or increase the probability of a cyberattack against your workloads or data. If they do not proactively engage in this topic and provide ongoing tactical security strategies, they may not be the right partner for your business.
If your current MSP has been with you for a while but still doesn’t know much about the business processes or procedures they should already know about, you may want to consider changing to a different MSP. Ensure a new vendor understands your business model, staffing, hardware/software requirements, and network infrastructure to accommodate your specific needs.
Sign #2: You Are Not Getting the Level of Service You Require
The right IT service provider will commit the right resources for your requirements. In addition to technical “boots-on-the-ground” staff, they provide an account manager or point of contact who understands your org structure, business model, and processes. These managers should be easily reachable and available to answer your questions and resolve issues. They should understand your desired IT service level and ensure that your Service Level Agreement (SLA) is being consistently met.
For example, if an MSP provides backup and disaster recovery services, they should take backups on your desired schedule. And, if you request it, should also monitor the health of these backups, periodically test their backup and recovery processes, and ensure that all critical infrastructure is quickly recoverable in case of a hardware failure or security incident. If your existing IT provider is not keeping up with this level of service, it may be time to explore moving to a new one.
Sign #3: Your Organization Is Cloud-native, But Provider Doesn’t have a Cloud Strategy
If you are like many companies, you have shifted most of your apps and data from on-premises infrastructure to cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications. If so, your MSP should be cloud-aware and able to plan and execute cloud migrations as well as maintain your cloud and SaaS-fueled environments to minimize disruptions.
But all of this is only possible if the provider has cloud-experienced engineers, a robust cloud strategy, and can tailor this strategy to your specific requirements. They should also be a source of information, showing you various cloud/SaaS options and helping you choose the best provider for your needs. Additionally, if a cloud migration is needed, they should be able to provide you with a migration roadmap that incorporates your timelines, budgets, and people.
If your MSP lacks the appropriate cloud experience to support your current cloud infrastructure or direction you are looking to move toward, look for a new MSP that can evaluate the viability of cloud for your organization and help you choose the best cloud offering for your needs.
The right IT service provider can be a valuable partner for your organization. While relationships with MSPs can last for many years, it is important to ensure that as your business evolves, so does your MSP.
A provider that doesn’t understand your business, cannot match your needs, and can’t guide your cloud strategy can be a hindrance to your growth, rather than a benefit. Keep an eye out for the three signs discussed here to select and work with the right IT service provider.
Get more advice about making the most of this valuable partnership. Download our free eBook Guide to Switching IT Managed Services.