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7 clear signs that your IT support provider isn’t the right one for your business

By December 8, 2021 No Comments

When you appoint an external IT provider you are putting your faith in their ability to not only provide the technical expertise that is needed to manage what can be complex mix of applications and systems – but to ensure that your IT supports the needs of your business at every stage in its growth.

At the most fundamental level what you need is a trusted partner – a flexible IT provider. One that has the needs of your business close to their heart.

However, like any other service sector the quality and expertise of IT provider companies differ greatly.

So how do you know when your provider might not be meeting your needs? We think there are 7 key warning signs as follows:

#1. Poor support for the transition to remote working “in pandemic”

The impact of COVID-19 was one of the most dramatic shocks to small and medium-sized businesses in the UK and beyond.

It differed in severity by sector but for many businesses travel and social restrictions meant that they had to transition to a home-working model more or less overnight. With all of the attendant issues around supplying staff with new IT hardware (everything from laptops, to desktop PCs and mobile devices), to enabling remote access to vital business applications and ensuring that all of this was done securely. In a way that protected staff, customer data and the business in general.

And the anecdotal evidence is that some IT providers managed the transition for their customers better than others.

So how did your IT support provider do? If the teething problems with VPN access and issues with connectivity are still a reality 18 months on, then it could time to look for a .

is here to stay and it’s essential that the company looking after your IT is in tune with the radically different needs of your business going forward.

#2. You have no peace of mind around your IT Security

According to the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part GCHQ,  that your small or medium sized business will experience a CyberSecurity breach.

So, the common held belief that small businesses are too small for Cyber Criminals to bother targeting is incorrect. In fact data from Verizon indicates that . Despite the fact that many still think it just won’t happen to them.

However, failure to prepare in advance can be costly for SMEs in relative terms. Even small breaches like an innocent click on a harmless looking file which is infected can snowball and do real harm right across your business – with implications for your staff, your customer data and your business as a whole.

And the cost of remediation can run into the thousands and even tens of thousands.

But the cost of an effective approach to IT Security doesn’t need to cost the earth. And a good IT Support provider will put that in place by:

  • Identifying the business-critical systems, people and data you need to protect
  • Deploying the right type of applications like malware and Anti-virus software
  • Putting in place policies and procedures around access – like 2 Factor Authentication – along with staff training to ensure your staff are knowledgeable on the risks

And if the worst should happen, they will be there to help you to remediate the situation as quickly as possible and with minimum of disruption.

Also, if they have your business interests at heart this won’t be a one-time, one-hit project. Flexible IT providers will have this built into the fabric of an ongoing plan. And may even be reflected in the IT provider’s price for service.

Which provides you with the peace of mind you need to turn your attention to developing your business.

#3. Your team spend as much time fixing IT problems as they do

This is a big one but often overlooked in your analysis.

You outsource your IT support to free yourself of the burden of managing each and every IT issue that crops up in your business from fixing printer connectivity to configuring a firewall on your server. So, if your teams are being dragged into a joint effort to fix things then alarms bells should already be ringing for you.

You can typically identify this through:

  • Slowing response times to reported IT issues
  • The same issues are re-occurring across your business but there is no real sign they are being fixed over time
  • Helpdesk ticket numbers that are on an upward trajectory
  • You spend as much time managing your provider as they do fixing things

All of the above could point to a degree of complacency from your IT provider company who may well be taking your business for granted, and not really delivering what you are paying for.

#4. You’re in the dark about the health of your IT infrastructure

Like any other business investment you make you will be keen to keep a handle on the performance of your IT spend and its effectiveness.

And any IT provider companies worth their salt will be one step ahead of you on this – and will actively want to involve you in the process of monitoring and reporting progress.

So, look for a flexible support provider that is focused around:

  • An initial independent audit and assessment of your IT needs and a plan to improve it (preferably one that is tied to a “no sales-push” guarantee like the one we provide prospective clients here at Managed IT Experts)
  • Allocating you with an Account team that has expertise in all key areas including
  • Deploying remote monitoring capability that gives 24/7 visibility of the health of your network
  • Communicating all of this back to you in regular status calls, monthly reports and quarterly business reviews that ensure things are headed in the right direction

#5. A small number of team members are covering multiple bases  

Put very simply if the person who does your weekly Account Management is also your Systems Architect and the first port of call on your IT Helpdesk it is unlikely that you are getting the depth of service and expertise you are paying for.

Or even worse your provider doesn’t have the depth of staff resourcing to meet service requirements. And you are being passed around from pillar to post internally between staff that don’t have the capability to solve your problems.

One of the real value-adds in the outsourced IT Support model is that it provides your small business with cost-effective access to functional IT experts at a rate that you couldn’t afford if you hired them in-house.

So, make sure this is what you are getting and that you are not being taken for granted.

#6. Your backup and disaster recovery plan is a pipe dream

Being proactive around protecting your network, systems and data is the number one priority of your small and medium-sized business.

However, the unfortunate reality is that disasters can happen – for a range of reasons from fire, to flood, to theft – to hardware failure, accidental data deletion and Cyber Attack. And the implications for your business can be severe and range from loss of access to critical business systems, to short term revenue loss and loss of trust with customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders. Including your staff.

If you aren’t already, talk to your IT support provider about creating a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan that means you can recover from this sort of business changing event in 24 hours. Not weeks or even months.

Or better still, take the stress out of the process and talk to a more proactive IT support provider that includes this type of planning as standard to include:

  • A risk assessment inside your business
  • Identifying critical systems, data and business functions (including adding backup functionality)
  • Creating a documented plan that will kick-in in the event of a disaster
  • Review and test of the plan over time

#7. Your monthly IT costs are not predictable

A central benefit of outsourcing your IT management and support to an external provider is the degree of certainty it provides in terms of the monthly costs associated with your IT. And, despite the fact IT provider prices are set at different levels, they share the same common premise around predictability.

By taking unexpected “big spike” cost items that are associated with internal IT support out of the equation – like increases in staff salaries, costs for specialist external expert support, training etc – your provider should be providing you with a single, consistent and affordable monthly fee for their services. At a fraction of the cost of providing the service in-house.

And with adequate and proactive assessment of your needs up-front – this should be minus any nasty, ad-hoc surprises. Working to an agreed monthly specification and contract – covered by a service-level agreement.

 

Feel like it’s time to review your IT support needs?

Then and schedule a no-obligation discussion with one of our IT experts.

We will provide an independent assessment of your needs – with a guarantee of no sales-heavy tactics when we deliver it back to you for consideration.