IT Support: Why The Right Partner Matters
You put a lot of trust in your IT support company, so the least you should expect is good service. We can often overlook poor service, however, and choose to put up with it rather than put up with the hassle of switching to a new IT support company. You may get away with it in some areas, but IT can make or break the processes of an entire business, showing just how important your IT support is.
In this guide, we cover the sort of service you should expect from your IT support, how to recognise when you are not getting that support, as well as 6 crucial signs that it's time to bite the bullet and find a new IT support company!
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When your business relies on a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to look after your IT infrastructure or software on your behalf, you shouldn’t have to accept poor service simply because you don’t have an in-house expert on your team.
Changing to another MSP, understandably, can be a cause of anxiety. But the adage ‘Better the devil you know’ certainly shouldn’t apply when you’re investing your hardearned income and outsourcing your IT support to a third-party provider.
In a fast-moving and competitive marketplace, it’s vital that your IT infrastructure and software is up to speed and able to support your business as it changes and grows. More than ever, robust cybersecurity is also non-negotiable: a criminal attack on your business could threaten its very existence and plunge you into an unwanted nightmare that has few affordable escape routes.
At TMB Group, we offer the highest standard of IT support for businesses in a wide range of sectors. But there are many underqualified or substandard IT MSPs out there so, in this guide, we will explore the six critical signs that you need to call time on your existing MSP relationship.
Critical Sign 1: Your MSP Is Unresponsive
When your daily operations depend on your IT systems working seamlessly, any interruption to service can cause your business to grind to a halt. For customers, there is little that is more frustrating than being told that their enquiries or orders can’t be processed due to ‘computer problems’, so IT downtime can quickly become damaging to your profits and your reputation
Even with the most up-to-date infrastructure, IT problems are not impossible to avoid - but it’s the ways that the situation is rectified that really counts. Sometimes the fix is simple and just requires the knowledgeable eye of an expert who has the experience to know how to respond. But if your IT MSP is unavailable or can’t attend to the problem promptly, your business could face a prolonged period of disruption without access to its most important systems.
If your current Managed Service Provider is slow to respond and sluggish in their delivery, it’s a clear sign that it may be worth investigating your options.
Critical Sign 2: Your MSP Communicates Badly
All Managed Service Provider and client relationships depend on effective communication. While your IT MSP deals primarily with technology, your contract is still underpinned by a human relationship, with communication at its core.
Good communication is essential to ensure your business gets the most from its IT. Modern IT systems are not simply a repository for critical data; a well-designed infrastructure should provide opportunities to grow your business and support it as it evolves. To achieve this, your MSP needs to understand the structure and needs of your business, your long-term objectives, and the barriers you face to healthy growth.
If your MSP communicates effectively with you, they will ask the right questions to enable them to devise the most suitable solutions. If you find that your IT isn’t delivering what you need, then it may be that the MSP is not listening to what you need most.
When communication is poor, you’re not likely to get the best from your IT solutions. Working with a partner who proactively forges a positive working relationship is critical to ensuring your hardware and software solutions are a best fit for your business’s key priorities and needs.
When it comes to cybersecurity, there is no room for complacency. In 2021, the average cost of a cybersecurity breach for UK businesses was £2,670, a figure that, for small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, could spell disaster. Even for larger companies, a cyber-attack can be expensive, as the cost of putting things right tends to soar as the size of a business increases.
Sadly, cyber-attacks are becoming more widespread and commonplace. Criminals exploit weaknesses in businesses’ security shields, targeting them with ever more complex and undetectable weapons:
• Ransomware can cripple the entire IT infrastructure of a company, encrypting critical data files until a ransom is paid for their release.
• Malware can prevent access to critical parts of your IT network, steal data from servers, or even render the entire system inoperable.
• Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks can bring your company website crashing down, so customers are unable to place orders or make enquiries.
Because cybersecurity is such a complicated area, it is prudent to entrust your business to an IT expert who has the knowledge and expertise of cutting-edge security tools to counter the attacks against your organisation. But if your business has been exposed to a cyber-attack already, it strongly suggests that those tools aren’t delivering the protection you need.
Even if an attack was small or resulted in only minor inconvenience as opposed to extensive financial damage, it’s time to consider switching MSP. Next time the cyberattack could be much larger and more destructive. If you’re unconvinced, it’s worth remembering that 60 per cent of businesses fail within six months of a major cyberattack or data breach.
For any business, unplanned downtime can be incredibly disruptive. When the problem involves IT, on which most daily operations depend, the consequences can be extensive. Lost revenues are the most immediate concern – if customers can’t place orders, they won’t pay your business and they will most likely look elsewhere, and if your team can’t collaborate effectively, then working time is lost and projects delayed.
When downtime occurs, your first call for assistance will be to your Managed Service Provider. They may solve the problem, at least temporarily, but unless the root cause is identified and addressed, there’s a high chance that the situation will recur. It is always worth asking why the period of downtime happened and what steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence. It may be that a system upgrade or closer monitoring of your infrastructure’s performance is required.
If service outages happen repeatedly, it suggests that your MSP hasn’t identified the reasons behind them or may not have the capacity to solve the problem. In this situation, it’s worth reconsidering whether your IT partner is cut out for the job.
Ideally, your MSP should be able to manage every element of your business’s IT needs, including hardware installation, software upgrades and training, remote monitoring, disaster recovery, and cybersecurity. One of the key benefits of outsourcing your IT is that it is more cost-effective to do so than to hire full-time in-house IT staff. So, if you’re currently paying more than one MSP to look after your IT – e.g. one business for hardware maintenance and another for managed software support, that’s a sure sign that you’re overspending on your managed support.
Working with multiple MSPs also poses risks for your business. Unless each MSP has clearly defined responsibilities, the chance of confusion is high, leading to conflicting advice. Effective IT support depends on each separate element working seamlessly together, so giving one MSP responsibility for software and another team responsibility for hardware isn’t likely to yield the consistent approach that you need for optimal system performance.
The best solution is to find an MSP who can meet all your needs under a single service contract, which will result in a more efficient, cost-effective use of IT and a more responsive approach if things go wrong.
Critical Sign 6: Your IT Partner Isn't Keeping Pace With Your Business Growth
When your business is ready to expand, your IT infrastructure must be primed to support your organisation’s growth. Scaling up is every SME’s ambition but, sometimes, it happens more quickly than you anticipate. If your IT infrastructure or software systems are lagging behind because your MSP isn’t ready to implement the changes you need, your business could miss vital growth opportunities.
MSPs may be unable to support your growing enterprise for several reasons. They may lack the expertise in a key area or not have access to the cutting-edge technology upon which growth depends. You may even be finding that you’re doing your MSP’s work on their behalf! It is not uncommon for managers to delegate tasks to other staff that, ordinarily, the Managed Service Provider should complete, to provide quick solutions to emerging problems or to avoid accepting that the MSP simply isn’t delivering.
If your business is on the cusp of expansion but you feel your IT MSP can’t or won’t support you, it’s vital that you find a new partner quickly, so your enterprise isn’t held back longer than is needed.
If you are seeking a new expert partner who can take care of every aspect of your business’s IT needs, contact TMB Group today.
What makes us different?
• With over 30 years’ experience providing professional IT support for businesses, we have worked with organisations in virtually every sector of commerce and industry.
• As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we are experts in the license and deployment of a range of Windows-based applications and can provide reliable ongoing support to ensure you get the best from the software.
• Our expert team have an unrivalled range of skills and technical qualifications, so you can be assured that your business’s IT is in safe hands
• Our commitment to delivering reliable IT solutions results in high levels of uptime for our clients, so they can focus on providing superior service for their customers, without the stress of managing their systems.
• Our cybersecurity solutions offer the highest degree of protection for your
business, protecting your critical data from prying eyes and building a powerful shield against cyberattacks.
• We provide bespoke IT managed service solutions, with 24/7 monitoring and response, so you can be confident of rapid support if things go wrong.
Contact TMB Group To Safeguard Your IT Systems, Connectivity And Online Security
If any of these critical signs strike a chord with you, it’s time to get in touch with TMB Group.
We offer expert IT consultancy, software licensing, network installations, and cybersecurity solutions for businesses across London and the South-East, and
we’ve completed thousands of projects for our customers when their existing IT partners weren’t making the grade.
To find out more about our services, or to request a quote, please book a call with one of our IT specialists.
Phone: 0333 900 9050