How to Choose a Managed Service Provider in Philadelphia – Part Two

Not all IT Providers are the same.

In my last post I mentioned that most Managed Service Providers and IT Support companies in the Philadelphia area typically utilize similar technologies and support tools.  Most have good intentions and offer great Help Desk support.  However, our experiences over time show that most haven’t built out the necessary processes and strategies to ensure that their programs are successful.  Providers generally do a great job when installing new network environments, including servers, switches, e-mail and backup solutions.  Yet, these same vendors often fail when it comes to avoiding the ‘technology slide,’ which is when the environment gets out of alignment as changes occur over time.

During one of our recent sales involvements we met with a PR firm who wasn’t happy with their current IT consultant.  Their IT support costs with the vendor were very low, but over the last 12 months they had several technology outages and experienced more downtime than a typical office should.  After asking our contact questions about their provider’s performance, we found several instances where problems could have been eliminated with basic checks and balances.

Some of the issues they experienced during that time frame include a series of failed server hard drives, an expired server warranty, an expired SSL website certificate and several important Help Desk tickets that went days without an update or a resolution.

All these issues caused company-wide downtime and employee frustration; yet, all three could have been eliminated if the current vendor had built in processes and procedures.

  1. The customer had great technology in place to drive their business, but the server was down for three days because the provider failed to see that their hardware warranty expired.
  2. Their clients couldn’t access data on their public facing website because of the SSL lapse, so a portion of their business halted for a few hours until the certificate was renewed.
  3. The support team was having trouble with those Help Desk tickets and end users didn’t receive status updates, causing major concern.

Our experience shows that when a Managed Service Provider has one or two process problems, there are probably more that go unseen.  The worst-case scenario is when a network is compromised because of a vendor’s lack of policies and procedures.

We recommend finding a Managed IT Provider with a proven track record, including a successful history of processes that drive IT security and efficiency, compliance regulation experience and technology planning.

Our next post will review how a local law firm didn’t prioritize cyber security and network security, which resulted in an avoidable crippling breach of their network.