Is Your IT Provider Holding You Hostage?


July 26, 2019

Change can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be.

Are you thinking about changing IT providers? Watch out — your current IT provider might be holding you hostage, and you don’t even realize it.

Technology is crucial for all businesses; after all, we’re no longer working primarily with pencil and paper. For the good of your company, you have to ensure this technology is in the hands of someone you trust — someone who’s capable of supporting your business. Unfortunately, things happen. Your company outgrows your IT provider’s capability. They drop the ball in a big way. Alternatively, it might be a slow deterioration of the relationship over time, death by a thousand cuts.

Whatever the reason, if you’ve decided to change IT providers, it might be intimidating to start that good-bye conversation with your current provider. After all, they know everything about your network. If that conversation goes south, things could get messy very quickly. Where do you even start? What do you ask for? Who do you ask? It should be straightforward, but unfortunately, it hardly ever is.

Every network infrastructure has credentials.

These are the keys to your kingdom, and they ensure only those who should have access to things like your firewall and server have it. And that’s the way it should be. So when Integris brings on a new client, the first question we always ask is, “Do you have the credentials?”

Can you guess what the typical response is? Clients don’t know they have credentials for their infrastructure, let alone what those credentials are! Their current provider has left them entirely in the dark. And then when they ask their current provider for these credentials, they get an absolute runaround of a response. Even though the client owns these credentials, their IT provider is holding them hostage. By extension, their IT provider is effectively holding their entire business hostage.

So why are we talking about this?

Because this behavior creates distrust in our industry. Businesses expect to be treated by all IT providers this way — to be shielded from important information about your business. What’s perhaps even more frustrating is the way people allow their IT providers to treat them this way. They don’t understand that they own this infrastructure, and they have the right to their credentials.

Not to say we don’t understand the logic behind the provider’s reluctance. Most are afraid to share the credentials for fear of fixing a mistake a client made on the network. However, at Integris, we release credentials to clients for any number of reasons. Before we do, we make them sign a document, so they understand we’re not liable for any changes they make, and that the resulting consequences will be billed accordingly. Regardless, it’s understood from the beginning that our clients’ credentials are their own, not ours.

Don’t get us wrong — we’re not advocating for post-its with your credentials plastered all over the office for everyone to see. But you need to know you have a right to access them. If your IT provider tells you anything different (even if you aren’t looking to change), that’s a red flag that things could get ugly should you ever decide otherwise.

Client beware!

Want more from your IT provider? We know change is hard.

A conversation is a great place to start. Contact us to set up a call.

Nia Morris is a Senior Marketing Specialist for Integris.

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