The relationship with your current IT provider probably started off strong. They worked to make computer and network improvements and solved several pain points with your systems and network. But now, some time has passed and you may have started to hear less and less from them. Is this really a good thing, or are has your IT provider moved on? You might feel as if they have complete control of your network, almost too much control, and keep important passwords and information you’re entitled to on a need-to-know basis. In the short-term, this may seem like an ideal relationship – it was a point to free up more of your time and focus away from IT right? But think about what this does in terms of your ability to move on and shop other options in the event of them coming up short.
No one likes feeling trapped. Losing control of your network or getting lost in overwhelming and confusing technologies can be scary. It’s easy to lose track of how much control you’ve already granted to your outsourced IT provider. The worst part, that cloud-based network or hosting solution you signed up for is probably owned and managed by your IT provider – meaning, they have complete access and control of the entire account! So what does that mean in terms of your agreement? If you shop elsewhere will they hold your data hostage? Can you trust they’ll release administrator passwords? And how outrageous will the bill be when you leave them for good?
Learn about IT outsourcing for small businesses here.
Are You Held Hostage By Your IT provider?
You’ve noticed some red flags, so here’s how to avoid being trapped with your current IT provider:
- Go over the contract – Make sure your service level agreement (SLA) is mutually benefited by both the client (you) and your outsourced IT provider. Look over it several times and never be rushed into signing anything. Also, ask that items be removed or added if necessary. The SLA will define a way of business and the relationship responsibilities between both parties.
- Get administrator access – This is most important with accounts used for administration. For instance, you should have the administrator username and password to your server, applications like Office 365, and your hosting provider. All of which if ever locked out of, can mean severe loss to your company.
- Create a username and password list – You should be provided a list of all usernames and passwords by device on your network from computers, servers, and network components. Make sure to have administrator access to all of these devices. A great IT service provider will provide a network map with all the important data you need and are entitled to have.
- Have an understanding of your network – Just by simply understanding the technologies and architecture of your network, you’ll be in a better position when it comes to explaining your current IT needs to a new provider. At the very least, you should know exactly what you’re paying for. Tell them to leave the geek speak out of it – and simply ask; What are the services you currently provide to us? and How does it all work?
- Have reliable reporting – A true IT partner will have complete transparency in the contract and how IT services are delivered to your company. Everything from full ticket documentation, to corresponding invoicing, and frequent detailed reporting, are all important to having your current IT partner show they’re accountable to your network. This will help you know and see that they’re delivering on their promise – and when they don’t, you can call them on it!
By having this information, you will feel empowered that you have an understanding of your network, and the keys to your company. You can feel satisfied knowing that in the event you’re not happy, you can easily switch or begin to find an IT partner that will appreciate your business and enjoy being your outsourced IT partner and an extension of your company.
Keep in mind that your IT provider should not only work for you, but with you as well. The agreement and relationship should always be mutual and in everyone’s favor.
If you’re not happy with your current IT provider and want to explore your options, contact ITC; a computer and IT support provider in Austin, TX and let us know how we can help. We can provide you with the personalized and responsive IT support you need, as well as assistance with all of your business IT service needs.
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