Your managed service provider (MSP) is one of the most important players on your team. As with any team, everyone needs the same playbook, and they need to know their positions—actually, they need to excel at their positions. Is your MSP clutch? Are they stepping up at this critical moment? If not, find a new one, fast.
Do You Need a New MSP?
Think about how your MSP is performing during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Are they empowering you with native cloud-based infrastructure to support this new normal, or are their legacy private clouds holding you back? Here are a few red flags to be wary of.
- Staff is still working from the office. This means they aren’t prepared and can’t adjust or operate remotely. If this is the case, run. Flexibility and agility are key to having the right provider. You want your MSP to enable you, not hold you back.
- Long response time. Are you experiencing slower response with longer wait time? Do you have to ask for updates? These are clear signs your MSP can’t keep up with your needs or isn’t prepared to operate with reduced staff, something everyone needs to be ready for.
- Lots of configuration changes. During these times, change management should be minimal. If your provider is making a lot of changes, it implies your environment wasn’t configured properly or securely.
- Lack of cybersecurity guardrails. If you can access your firm’s network and data without multi-factor authentication your firm is at great risk.
- Lack of communication. By now, your personal inbox is overflowing with emails from every company you’ve ever connected with, telling you how they’re managing COVID-19.But how frequently are you hearing from your MSP? Has your account manager talked to you? Transparency is important. It’s one thing for your MSP to reassure you they are on it, but quite another if they aren’t explaining the policies and procedures they have in place so cybersecurity controls don’t miss a beat even when staff is remote.
- No educational updates. Along with email communication, your MSP should be educating not just you, but the masses about how COVID-19 is affecting day-to-day business and what they can expect. Watch your MSP’s blog to learn additional information about the latest developments or breaking industry news. If they aren’t sharing this information, it could be an indication they’re too busy putting out fires to take the time to educate and reassure clients.
What Are the Risks and Costs of Dropping Your MSP?
The first risk is actually a mindset. Don’t be afraid of switching providers mid-stream. A competent MSP can work with you to make a seamless transition.
The biggest risks firms face is change management for their end-users and availability or security incidents during the transition phase. While these are real risks, the risks of continuing to work with an incompetent provider are much more significant operationally and financially.
Depending on the solution, cost can be a benefit of change. With rapid innovation and adoption of public cloud, capital expenses can be turned into operational expenses—and at a fraction of the original cost.
The right MSP can help your firm reduce spend, especially if you have a legacy technology stack that hasn’t been kept updated.
The highest cost is the investment of time and energy. Developing new relationships requires commitment from both parties. Both of you should be prepared to invest time and energy to make sure this new relationship is a strategic one that adds value to your organization. With all of us stuck inside for the foreseeable future, “we got nothing but time.”
How to Choose a Replacement MSP—Fast
If it looks like your current MSP is lacking the critical policies, procedures, and commitment, it’s time to move on. When you’re looking for a replacement, here are the questions to ask.
- Does the provider have expertise in your line of business? In other words, do they speak your language?
- Is the provider including security and cloud-based solutions in their offering? If not, they’re already behind the eight ball.
- Is the provider proposing solutions and models that operationally and financially scale (up or down) with your organization?
- Can the provider share evidence of their quality of work? Ask for their current Net Promote Score (NPS) or whatever metric they use to measure client sentiment.
- Does the provider have the size and scale to weather this storm (and any others that come up) operationally and financially?
If an MSP can’t answer these questions, keep shopping.
At VITAL Tech Services, we are deliberate about checking all of these boxes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re taking care of client networks and our staff by setting up secure work-from-home protocols that are keeping people operational and productive.
When you partner with VITAL Tech Services, you get everything. We offer over 100 assessment, quality check, maintenance, validation, and education activities. Expect everything from 3W governance to backup and restore testing; network vulnerability scans to assessment of login failures by computer; review of outbound security configuration to disaster recovery testing and documentation—and everything in between. If it’s related to the reliability, security, and resiliency of your infrastructure, we do it.