5 Signs You Have Outgrown Your IT Guy
As any small business grows, responsibility is spread over an ever-increasing number of staff and eventually it becomes necessary to implement controls in various areas of the business. Simple practices that worked well for a team of six employees begin to break down when the team expands to thirty or fifty. As a company professionalizes everything from performance appraisals to accounting methods, it also becomes necessary to develop professional practices to manage IT systems and resources in order to protect the business and keep employees productive. Often this means it’s time to leave your IT Guy and work with a Managed Services firm. Here are 5 signs it is time for a change.
- Nothing gets done until you call for help.
Many smaller technology firms provide service on a break-fix model, meaning they only come to help when you call. Often this means only one or two key employees are authorized to call for help due to the hourly cost. Since calls are infrequent, the vendor has limited contact with your network. Response time often lags and you have little to no documentation of your computer systems. If your firm is growing, you’re seeing more and more people sitting around waiting for help. This is the least of your issues with a break-fix model. Break-fix support is like sailing a ship without a rudder.
A good Managed Services firm provides a set of professional management practices included in their service. They continually monitor your systems and perform proactive maintenance to prevent problems. In the event of an outage, your provider knows there is a problem before users become aware and starts working on the problem immediately. For single user issues, your staff can open a ticket and get help without asking for permission because user support is part of your Managed Services agreement. You are no longer the bottleneck for technical help and if you want to know what issues were worked on, your MSP has a ticketing system to give you as much detail as you want.
- You are dependent on one or two key people.
Partnering with a tiny technology firm exposes you to operational risk. These days it is increasingly likely that key personnel will be quarantined for a week or more to stop the spread of Covid. Beyond that, your engineer could be working on a critical issue for another company. Even if your technician is available, if your chosen firm only has two or three people, what are the odds they have someone available with the expertise you need? One engineer can’t be expert at everything. Are you paying them hourly to learn about the technology you use? That doesn’t make sense.
A good Managed Services firm has a team with deep skills in a variety of technologies who help each other develop in new areas. Team members have resources to call for instant help on a problem they are unfamiliar with. With a larger team, you can have one engineer helping someone with a desktop problem, another evaluating rules on your firewall, and still another verifying your backup – all at the same time. Managed Service Providers also document your IT environment to speed troubleshooting and design work, making the larger team even more effective.
- You worry about Ransomware.
Protecting your firm from Ransomware is a two-pronged strategy. First, there are tools from Endpoint Detection and Response, Phishing awareness training, Secure Remote Access, to Cloud Security and others. Your technology firm should be discussing these tools with you and how they can help prevent a Ransomware attack. If your firm has partnerships with security vendors who provide these products, they have the expertise to advise you and effectively implement them for you. The odds are, your IT Guy lacks these relationships.
The second element of any Ransomware protection strategy is effective IT policies for security and backup. These policies will help you prevent and recover from a variety of threats. Your vendor should be recommending IT policies consistent with your desired security posture. Has your IT Guy met with you to discuss your security posture?
- You Have Lax or Non-existent IT Policies.
As your firm grows, your stored data becomes more and more critical to your success and also more and more expensive to recreate in the event of a complete system failure such as a Ransomware attack that encrypts your data AND backups. Does your firm have a strict user access policy that requires password changes, limits access to system resources, and provides for user data to be centrally stored and protected? Do employees share passwords? Do you periodically test your backup solution? Do you periodically check for security vulnerabilities? If these common practices are not being followed, your data could be at risk.
- You Don’t Know What Technology You’ll Be Investing in Next Year.
A technology partner should understand your business and bridge your needs to technology available in the marketplace. You should be meeting regularly to discuss how your business is evolving, how your technology partner is performing, and what technologies will help you be more successful. If your IT guy isn’t talking to you about technologies to improve employee productivity and satisfaction, or at least the security of your technology environment, it might be time to talk to a Managed Services firm.
If you’ve grown, you need more timely support and better protection of your data. It’s time to give MTSi a call and learn about Managed Services.