The Covid-19 crisis has put an enormous strain on countless businesses across the country. You may be finding it difficult to provide an effective service to your customers and operational challenges may have caused many a sleepless night as you work with your staff and partners to steer a route through the crisis.
At times like these, you need an IT partner you can trust. Your IT provider should have stepped up to the challenge posed by the crisis. They should be providing high-quality ongoing support and maintenance and they should have been instrumental in implementing your business’ secure and effective transition to remote working. The current situation is a test of your provider’s resolve and commitment to your business. In this article, we explore some of the signs to look out for that suggest your IT support provider may not have what it takes to safeguard and properly support your business in times of crisis.
Signs of Inexperience
Now more than ever you need seasoned, highly accredited professionals on hand to seamlessly guide your transition to new technology and ways of working. Due to the ever-changing nature of technology, ongoing training is vital in the IT sector and any skills or knowledge gap is soon laid bare. If you sense your provider is learning as they go and struggling to implement changes it may be time to consider switching. If they struggle now they will likely struggle as your business grows and changes in the future.
When choosing a provider to consider their qualifications, client testimonials, evidence of continuous training and staff development, and (while it is no absolute guarantee of quality) you may want to consider how long a provider has been in business, especially if your IT demands are high.
Failing to meet guaranteed response times
Note that ‘response time’ isn’t necessarily the same as ‘resolution time.’ Your IT provider’s ‘Guaranteed response times’ typically refer to how quickly you can expect the first response to any issues that you log with them. Your expectations should be high, and you shouldn’t be lenient! Your provider’s response time promises might be dependent on the level of supporting your paying for and the level of priority assigned to particular issues, but you should expect close adherence to promises made; if a 2 hour response time is guaranteed then hold them to that, and you should expect business-critical issues to be responded to with near immediacy. You should similarly consider any uptime guarantees your provider may have specified and whether or not they have been able to meet these commitments.
A failure to meet response time pledges may be a sign of an under-resourced helpdesk or simply a provider that makes promises it can’t deliver in order to lure customers through the door.
Signs of poor security
Businesses implicitly expect their IT support provider to adhere to impeccable security practices. The bond of trust between IT providers and their clients is based on the assumption that IT companies take security extremely seriously – but many don’t!
It can be hard to know what to look out for but as a basis, your provider should hold ‘cyber essentials’ accreditation, carry out effective update and patch management and implement a ‘zero trust’ policy (an approach to security where all individuals within and out with the company are viewed as a potential threat to security).
Failing to accept responsibility
The relationship between your business and your IT provider is one of ‘shared responsibility.’ Your IT provider has a responsibility to ensure that the solutions they provide pose a low level of risk that is acceptable to you, your business and your clients, while your business is also responsible for ensuring that you take on board and implement the advice given by your IT provider.
Sometimes things go wrong, and when mistakes are made it is vital that the responsible party owns up! If your IT provider has a tendency to deflect blame to you, your staff or business at every given opportunity despite your best efforts to follow the advice and act in good faith, then it may be time to seek a new IT provider who’ll treat you and your business with the respect you deserve.
You and your team aren’t learning anything from your provider
Good IT providers don’t just foist technology on their clients, they educate and reassure. There’s a good chance you decided to outsource your IT because you wanted to tap into the guidance and expert knowledge that IT companies should possess. So, if your IT provider isn’t giving you the time of day to guide you and your staff through new technologies then it may be time to look for a partner who is willing to invest properly in their relationships with clients.
They’re not familiar with your industry and aren’t commercially aware
It is important that your IT provider understands the unique operational challenges faced by your business and has some knowledge of the challenges faced by businesses in your sector more generally. If every conversation with your IT provider sounds like a sales pitch, and they never mention the likely outcome for your business or ways in which particular solutions are beneficial in your sector then it may be time to switch. Fundamentally, businesses adopt technology to help them grow and achieve their goals, your IT provider should be mindful of this and present the benefits of new technologies in the context of your business or businesses in your industry.
They don’t provide proactive maintenance/monitoring
If your IT provider only deals with issues as you arise it may be time to switch to a company that implements the ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach instead. IT issues can result in lost revenue, so choosing a provider that carries out proactive maintenance is often a very wise investment.
We understand that IT support may not be the first thing on your mind at the moment, but the current situation presents a good opportunity to take stock and evaluate your IT provider’s performance at a time when you really need them to deliver for you and your business.
We’re Team Metalogic
We’re Team Metalogic, a managed IT services provider offering outsourced IT services to SME’s across the UK. With a proven track record, with extensive experience and a full portfolio of industry accreditations & certifications.
Our stress-free solutions don’t complicate things, in fact, they improve efficiency and save money.