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. Your managed service provider (MSP) should prevent that from happening.
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. Here are a few indications that your business could benefit from taking this step:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(Photo via Foter.com)
What Should You Look For in a New MSP?
So you think it’s time to check out the other proverbial fish in the MSP sea? How do you determine that the new service provider isn’t going to be just a rerun of your subpar vendor?
First, focus on the problem areas that caused you to become dissatisfied with your current MSP. For example, if network downtime has been an issue, ask the MSP you are considering how many outages they have experienced in the past year and what caused them. If they don’t know, consider it a major red flag. If security is your primary concern, ask about how often the MSP’s employees are trained to tackle new security threats, and how they have dealt with them for other clients. Remember to look deeper by going beyond problem solving and asking about how the MSP can help you meet your business goals more broadly.
Clear, straightforward communication should always be present between you and your MSP. One of the major complaints many business owners cite about their managed service provider is “dead air” when they bring up problems and requests. In addition to a quick response time, your MSP should always follow up with you to make sure your concerns are thoroughly resolved and everything is running smoothly. They should also proactively anticipate problems and implement solutions, rather than scrambling to react.
To learn more about how switching to a better MSP can improve your business outcomes, or to take the next step, contact JMARK today at JMARKIT@JMARK.com, via this website’s Contact Us page, or by calling 844-44-JMARK.