How Do You Know When It's Time to Change MSP's

Mike has been running his accounting firm for the past 25 years. As the time went by, his technology needs grew. What started as an office of two with two computers grew into a firm of 20, each with their own computer. When the pandemic hit, Mike decided to move his team to a remote model. When he did, he also hired an MSP, or managed service provider, as he knew he needed help. The first two months were smooth sailing, then something happened. As his MSP gained bigger clients, Mike’s company and his needs seemed to get placed on the back burner. Phone calls were not getting returned on time, help desk tickets went from hours to days, and the decision Mike made to help his

business, well, it began to hurt it. Mike was faced with a rough choice. He either had to hire an in-house, dedicated, IT staff, which he knew he could not afford to do, or to

dump his existing MSP. From there, he knew he needed to start shopping around immediately for a new partner, as tax season was coming up, and he could not afford any

more downtime.  The first time around when choosing an MSP, Mike went in blind, only knowing his immediate needs. Now, after dealing with his former provider, he knew what he wanted and more importantly, what he was not going to deal with. What are some other reasons people would want to change providers?

REASONS TO CHANGE MSP’s

RESPONSE TIME

Response time is of the utmost importance when dealing with your company’s technology needs. Depending on the issue, minutes can cost you hundreds if not thousands in damages and downtime. No matter what the issue is, you want your MSP’s help desk to give you an expedient response. Not only could it save you downtime and money, but it will also make you feel your business is valued and not lost in the shuffle. Another big factor in this is the level of customer service. No one wants to feel dumb or like a second-class citizen, and it’s no different when dealing with your IT team. Ask yourself this “Does my MSP make me feel valued as both a business and a human being?” If not, it may

be time to move on.

TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY

Trusting a company with your systems and your data is hard enough as it is. After all, these are the things that power your business and allow you to track your performance. Your MSP exists to advise, implement, and optimize the technology side of your business. It is important that you can see the results of the work being done, and the changes being implemented. This allows you to know what is working and what isn’t, so you and your MSP can make changes accordingly. You could be getting the best advice in the business, but

without seeing the data to back it up, how will you know what is effective or what needs amending. The answer is, you can’t. Being kept in the loop by your MSP is invaluable, as is being able to trust that the decisions they are making are working as they told you they would.

PROACTIVE APPROACH

Does your MSP get to the bottom of an issue the first time it happens? No company is immune to tech issues, be it firewall issues, system errors, or worse yet, breaches. How these are dealt with can be a make-or-break moment when choosing to continue with an MSP or changing course and finding a new partner. Do they take the band-aid approach, and just cover up the problem and keep it moving? Do they get to the root of the problem and fix it, ensuring that it goes from an avoidable issue to an issue that is being avoided? Those

are the questions to ask when analyzing your choice of partner.

SECURITY

This is perhaps the biggest concern when it comes to trusting an MSP and continuing to do business with them. In the past two years, we have seen a rise in MSP’s getting hacked. From the hackers point of view, it’s simple. Why take the time to hack one business for their data and access to their network, when you can hack an MSP and get that information for multiple businesses? You want an MSP that takes their security as seriously as your security, not one that fails to practice what they preach. Ask for an explanation of what they do on their end to protect the data of you, their other clients and themselves. You also need to make sure they take compliance seriously. An MSP that isn’t on top of their compliance isn’t on top of your compliance, and this has serious consequences. As covered in previous blogs, being found non-compliant can cost your company thousands, if not millions of dollars in fines depending on the sector you are in.

COST/SERVICES

Do you look at your MSP bill every month and see things that you are being charged for that you never use? Does your MSP take a “one size fits all” approach?  Just like with your

cable company and other services you use in your personal life on a day-to-day basis, you want to make sure that you are only being charged for what you are using, not what you are not. A great MSP, such as Delval Technology Solutions will offer a la carte or tiered pricing plans to make sure that you are getting a solution that fits your business.

After doing his research, Mike realized that it was time to dump his existing managed service provider and move on. He knew what to look for, an MSP that was based on security, customer service, and proactivity. At first, he was cautious to trust based on his past experiences, but eventually he found the MSP that was right for him. They were willing to show him each step of the process, and he felt like their only client, although he wasn’t. Mike learned what many before him already have, a great MSP partner is invaluable.


What is A VCIO and What Can It Do For You?

Valerie had a problem. She runs an accounting firm, but they still do many things the old fashioned way. She knows she needs to update her hardware and software to stay compliant and ahead of the curve for her business and her customers. After all, her competitors are. Valerie isn’t a “techie” as she calls them, and she also can’t afford to hire a full time CIO to keep her informed and keep her company up to date. A friend of hers told her to look into a VCIO, or Virtual Chief Information Officer. That way she had access to

an expert for a fraction of a cost. Is a VCIO right for Valerie, is a VCIO right for you?

WHAT IS A CIO

CIO stands for Chief Information Officer. This executive is responsible for managing, implementing and executing decisions related to IT and computers for the company. Technology is everchanging, with new updates and products hitting the market seemingly daily. It is the job of the CIO to stay up to date on both emerging technology as well as how the technology that is currently being used by the company is functioning, both strategically and practically. However, having a full time CIO is a costly endeavor. The average CIO salary

currently stands at $129,000 annually. For companies that are in the tech field, having a full time CIO is a necessity. For other enterprises, such as Valerie’s, the need for tech

expertise on an as needed basis is there, but having a full time CIO on staff is simply unfeasible. They will not be utilized on a full time basis after all, but will have to be paid on one. This is where the VCIO comes in.

WHAT IS A VCIO

A VCIO is a virtual CIO. It gives companies access to expert advice and opinion on an on-call basis. It is usually a service offered by an MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions. Having a VCIO is a great way to fill in the gaps in expertise of both yourself and your staff. It’s also a fantastic way to grow your business while saving money. What can a VCIO provide your business?

EXPERTISE

If you are like Valerie, your business is your expertise. Many business owners have specific ways of doing things, however some of these methods may be outdated and while providing personal comfort can leave a company falling behind. We exist in an era of ever changing and ever updating technology. If one were to try to keep track of everything new on the market, it would eat into those valuable hours spent servicing customers and building your business. Having a VCIO in your proverbial back pocket allows you to have

an expert to call on to answer questions, help you strategize, and aid in implementation of your hardware and software upgrades. It is key to remember that since this person does not hold an executive position within your organization, they are providing suggestions and insight, which is up to you and your team to implement.

INCREASED SECURITY

Cyber-security is becoming an increasingly hot button issue. Hackers and other cyber-criminals are working full time to breach businesses and steal data. They are crashing servers with DDOS attacks, installing various forms of spyware to pick up vital information, and even installing ransomware, locking up sensitive files until a ransom is paid. Once these breaches occur, your data can hit the dark web where it is for sale to anyone with access. These attacks and breaches can ruin an enterprise. Having a VCIO gives you

access to someone who can help you build not only a nearly impenetrable network, but also aid in both monitoring of your network and help your business bounce back in case a breach does occur. A VCIO stays up to date on all the newest threats and the newest ways to combat them, helping you keep your business and your customers safe from the dangers of cyberspace.

STRATEGY/OPTIMIZATION

Choosing your technological plan for your business isn’t something to do with haste. It takes proper insight and foresight, so your choices work for your business, not hinder your company. Having a VCIO on your team gives you access to someone who can think five steps ahead. They know what you don’t know to look for, the hurdles and headaches you may encounter, and how to navigate through these issues to ensure that your plan is properly executed from the start. Not only that, but they will also evaluate your existing systems so that you can use what is already in house to the best of your and your technologies abilities.

CONTROL

At times, adding an executive to your team can bring with it some headaches. While you may control the budget, you do not however, control the decision. A VCIO puts you in the driver seat with an expert co-pilot. Your budget is under your control, from start to finish. You know what your expense for the VCIO each month will be, without having to worry about paying out bonuses (unless of course you want to), hiring more employees for your team to aid you CIO, paying benefits, and other costs incurred from hiring new employees.

When it comes time to make the final decision, they will guide you, but at the end of the day, you are in control of the situation. To top it all off, most companies such as Delval Technology Solutions have multiple VCIO’s, so if you don’t feel your particular VCIO is right for your business, you can easily change who you are working with seamlessly.

Valerie called her MSP and signed up for their VCIO program. She was comfortable knowing that she now had access to an expert who could help. They made a strategic plan, working with her to upgrade her technology to fit the growing needs of her business. They showed her how to utilize her existing systems more effectively and she was able to eliminate hardware and software that was now obsolete. Valerie felt relieved knowing that she had someone watching her back on the security end to keep her system protected and have a plan in case the worst did occur. Her staff now had access to better technology and had someone to call on if they had questions, and productivity soared. When it came time for Valerie to choose what to add to her business, she did so with confidence as her VCIO had set her up for success. She had all that, without having to break the bank on a new executive. Valerie didn’t just gain a VCIO, she gained peace of mind.