A managed service provider (MSP) is a business process of outsourcing a portion or all of a company's IT operations and tasks to a third party. The main reasons for an organization to outsource IT includes:
To manage critical IT functions so that internal IT staff can increase productivity and focus on strategic projects to accomplish business goals.
Lack of internal IT staff
Gain access to IT expertise and resources with niche skills rather than employing internal IT staff with the same skill set. This often proves to be a more cost-effective option for organizations.
MSP's can providebusiness continuity to organizations in order to provide support during periods when full time employees are not available (eg. weekends, off-hours, holidays, etc)
Top 6 Managed Service Provider (MSP) Red Flags
1. Lack of Communication
If your team is unsure of what is happening within your network, your MSP is lacking communication between key stakeholders and your internal IT staff. Whether you've had a breach, a new vulnerability, or changes made within your infrastructure, you should be up to date with everything that is occurring within your IT environment. If products are being changed or added to your network without your clear knowledge and consent, this is a problem.
Beyond knowing what's happening within your network, you should also have a good relationship with frequent communication from your MSP. You need a relationship with your MSP where you can be frank and honest, discussing where you are happy, what needs to change, and how you are feeling about their service. Whether communication is initiated by your MSP with a monthly or quarterly pre-scheduled call or more frequent unscheduled calls or emails to check in, there should be a clear and consistent stream of communication.
2. Poor Project Management Skills
Poor project management skills are a signs of a bad MSP. When it comes to a IT project, your MSP should provide a clear line of communication to key stakeholders in order to provide project updates, roadblocks, and successes as the project continues.
Beyond this, your MSP should be continually moving forward with the project with minimal pauses. Understandably, some delays may occur due to supply chain shortages or waiting on shipments, but your project team should be addressing delays and keeping on top of all aspects of the project. If you've been working on a project with your MSP for an extended period of time with major delays and no explanations, this is a red flag letting you know it's time to move on.
3. Lack of up-to-date IT solutions
Are you still on Office 365 licensing over Microsoft 365licensing? Does your MSP take the security of your organization seriously and offer new suggestions? Does your MSP take the time to stay up to date on new technologies? If you answered no to any of the questions above, it may be time to have a talk with your MSP.
Depending on your service level agreement (SLA) it is your MSPs job to take care of your IT infrastructure. If they leave you with outdated technology or solutions, not only can your team's productivity decrease, it can leave you unprotected from sophisticated cyber-attacks. Technology is constantly improving and you need an MSP who keeps up with the latest technology and best practices. You should be working with an MSP who is experienced, understands the IT industry, and has certifications to back them up. Your MSP should also be providing recommendations for security, new scans to run on your environment, new products to replace older ones, and more. This management and updating of your IT infrastructure should be fully handled by your MSP, as to take this pressure off your internal IT team.
4. Slow Response Times
Some organizations turn to an MSP to handle big IT projects while handling help desk items internally. However, if your organization sees a need to utilize your MSP for help desk related items, the responsiveness and speed of resolution are two major indicators of the quality of your MSP. If your outstanding ticket requests are piling, this in itself is a red flag, but if your MSP is also not being responsive, takes several hours or even days to respond to a request, this is an even bigger problem.Your MSP should be answering your requests within 1 hour of submission.
5. Cost too high for level of service
A main benefit of an MSP is to lower your organization's overall IT costs, so when you are unable to justify the monthly spend for your MSP this is a huge red flag. Your IT cost should be predicable and consistent in exchange for a pre-defined set of tasks your MSP should complete. If you are working through a specific project, there may be a separate associated cost, but once the project is complete, it should drop back down to the standard rate. If your bills become unexpected or inflated, this is a good indication that you need to find a new MSP. A good partner will understand you have an IT budget that cannot be exceeded and respect that, by running budgetary quotes past you.
6. Poor Handling of Complaints
If a situation occurs where you are unhappy or unsatisfied with your MSP, you team should be able to directly address the issue with your account manager. If your complaint is not heard or if no action is taken to better the situation, this a sign to begin the process of switching to another MSP. Overall, the actions your MSP takes to ensure you are satisficed with the level of service provided speaks louder than words. To see how Datalink Networks provides excellent customer service to our MSP clients contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Not happy with your current MSP? Contact Datalink Networks.