4 MSP Problems: Is it Time to Switch Providers?


December 9, 2020

Four common MSP problem causes companies to switch IT providers.

Each issue erodes trust and turns your doubts into an endless stream of questions and complaints:

  • Does anyone at my MSP know how to follow up via phone or email?
  • Isn’t this the tenth time I’ve submitted a ticket about recurring issues with OneDrive?
  • Where is my contract? I thought we paid a fixed monthly amount, but I see extra charges on this month’s invoice.
  • I’ve added twenty people, and it doesn’t look like I’m getting any volume discount.
  • I used to talk to the owner all the time. It seems like she’s disappeared since they sold out to that copier company from Tennessee.

Are you losing confidence? You’re entitled. I’ve met hundreds of people like you over the last 17 years.

MSP services are relatively new. And the noble but unattainable quest for perfection is part art and part science. Especially finding ideal provider/client matches.

At Integris, we may be an MSP, but our first objective is to help you identify issues. So you can research solutions with eyes wide open and without salespeople stalking you through InMail on LinkedIn.

As your guide, we’ve assembled four simple sections highlighting significant areas of concern that ruin most IT support relationships.


MSP Problem #1 – Major IT System Failure

According to Veritis, “45% of companies reported downtime from hardware failure.”

System disruption includes but is not limited to servers, workstations, and networking equipment like switches, firewalls, and data backup appliances.

Each node is similar to the patchwork in a figurative digital quilt.

Dynamic Technologies cites five more statistics for widely reported causes of total unplanned downtime:

  • Loss of power (35%)
  • Software failure (34%)
  • Data corruption (24%)
  • External security breaches (23%)
  • Accidental user error (20%)

Are you exhausted yet? Up to 60% of all data backups are incomplete.

I’ve been advising SMBs on technology solutions since 2003. And these figures don’t surprise me.

Astonishingly, at least half of the new clients I’ve ever acquired didn’t make a move until they experienced a significant disaster.

Are you comfortable with the old saying, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? No judgment if you are; you’re not alone.


MSP Problem #2 – Slow Response Times

When you have a deadline and something isn’t working, five minutes seems like five hours.

And if tech support is slow to respond, you’re frustrated, and your productivity is also taking a nosedive.

Slow response times have many root causes, and the reasons are related to every section in this article.

The following questions will help you decide which considerations are most relevant to your company:

  • Are your workstations standardized and up to date? (Make, Model, Year, etc.)
  • What about the warranties? Are they current?
  • Can each team member open tickets with your MSP, or do you have one individual running point on behalf of everyone else?
  • Are you running one file share on a traditional server and another in the cloud?
  • What percentage of your team works from home on personal computers shared by other family members?
  • Does everybody have the correct M365 license, so it integrates with their specific line of business applications?
  • Do you have any way of verifying if your users are storing data on unauthorized cloud services?
  • Is your team using Multi-Factor Authentication?
  • What percentage of your team is allowing automatic updates to take place? (Hint: many people put this off because no one likes to reboot when there’s a deadline.)
  • Is everyone prompted to log into the network with a user ID and a unique password?
  • Does your MSP’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) have explicit language about response times and the specific conditions that make time-bound guarantees possible?

There are so many other valid questions. Hopefully, these widespread concerns will stimulate your curiosity to dig deeper.

Do you and your MSP have similar operating mindsets?

Now for something obvious but frequently tolerated.

Many companies are in a constant state of debate with their MSP. For instance, MSPs with higher levels of operating maturity will advise the client to have up-to-date, standardized equipment.

This combination maximizes stability and is less prone to malfunction.

When an MSP is trying to serve a business with a lower level of operating maturity, the client may be reluctant to invest.

“Upgrade the Wifi network? My budget is all gone paying for you guys to support me!”

At the same time, it’s not uncommon for the business to expect the MSP to respond whenever there’s a problem.

Over time, the issues will grow in frequency, and the MSP will never be able to intervene rapidly enough to keep the client happy or ever recover.

This phenomenon is commonly called “death by a thousand cuts.”


MSP Problem #3 – Regulation & Compliance Gaps

The previous section is a perfect icebreaker for regulation and compliance. It’s doubtful that the company, in my hypothetical example, would be a good prospect for a compliance upgrade.

If they can’t make the budgetary justification to replace essential equipment, their MSP’s recommendations to consider a more formal commitment to any of the following popular frameworks would no doubt fall on deaf ears:

  • NIST SP 800-53
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • ISO 27000 Series
  • NERC 1300
  • ANSI/ISA 62443

To add a little intrigue and cost to the discussion (Sorry!), your organization can comply with the latest regulatory guidelines, have dynamic, sustainable systems, and still not achieve 100% security. It’s not attainable.

No matter how advanced technology gets, human errors cause over 95% of data breaches.

Do you have compliance concerns?

Is your provider promoting compliance initiatives you don’t embrace? Or can’t afford to implement?

That’s enough to inspire some businesses to find an MSP with lower standards.

I once worked with a real estate investment client who had merged with another company two years prior, and they were still operating on two separate file servers.

One had their domain on a bare metal server. The other had its domain in a private cloud running desktop as a service.

They were very successful but very set in their ways. The firm refused to merge their file shares or even attend training on desktop as a service (which they were adamant about keeping as a carryover from their previous provider).

It was an operational nightmare and a compliance mess. And the client didn’t care.

Are you ready to get more intentional about hardening your systems for better business performance and evolving compliance challenges?

Make sure your MSP is not only versed in your particular compliance requirements but also has documentation to show they are compliant.

It’s not enough to take care of your systems. You now have to worry about everybody else. “Third-party vendors were responsible for two out of every three data breaches,” according to The Internal Auditors Research Foundation.

Learn More: Hyperproof Compliance Stats 2021


MSP Problem #4 – The Absence of an IT Strategy

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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