MANAGED IT SERVICES | 4.5 MIN READ
When you are unhappy with your Managed Service Provider's work, the last thing you want is to be stuck in a contract with them. While many contracts are airtight, there are a few things you can do to create a little wiggle room. Keep reading to learn some tips on how you can get out of your MSP contract as well as how to go about choosing the right new MSP for your business.
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Evaluate Your Grievances
Before pulling the plug on your MSP, sit down and get your thoughts together. Write down a list of goals that you wanted your MSP to accomplish, and then evaluate if/how much they have done to achieve those goals.
Concrete evidence showing a lackluster performance will be more persuasive than simply saying you're unhappy with your MSP's work. For instance, have you experienced any cyber attacks or network breaches since signing with your MSP? If so, how long did it take for them to restore your network?
Factors such as these can show you how much your MSP does to ensure that your network is well-protected and your concerns are addressed in an appropriate timeframe.
Find Breaches of Contract
If your MSP still refuses to release you from your agreement, review your contract carefully to ensure you understand the deliverables promised by your MSP.
Most Managed Services Providers have SLAs, quarterly business reviews, patching timelines, scheduled reports, and other deliverables worked into the agreement. If they are not meeting these terms, they are in breach of contract. Once you’ve established that a breach has been made, you can inform your MSP that they are in breach of their contract and you will no longer be paying the remainder.
Depending on the MSP you’re working with, this method might require you to get a Technology Attorney involved to negotiate the terms of your release if the MSP is still threatening legal action.
Look for a Termination Clause
In your contract, there might be a section called a termination clause which states that you can break your contract if you aren't happy with your MSP's services.
Usually, there's a stipulation that you must give the company around 30-60 days to attempt to alleviate any problems before letting you out of your contract.
An additional stipulation might be that if you break your contract early, you must pay off any remaining debt on any hardware or software that you leased from your MSP.
If you don't see any clause like this in your contract, that should be a red flag to you. You shouldn't be forced to stay in a contract if your managed service provider isn't addressing and alleviating the concerns you raise.
RELATED: Managed IT Services Contracts Defined
Establish a Probationary Period
If you have a termination clause in your contract, then you should be able to establish a probationary period in which your MSP must make strides towards correcting your grievances.
If you don't have a termination clause, check with your MSP to see if you can add one. During a probationary period, lay out the ground rules. Set a firm deadline, which at the end of, you can break your contract if you are still dissatisfied with your MSP's services.
Probationary periods show your MSP that you're serious about breaking your contract, and could be the motivation they need to correct your complaints. If your MSP has lackluster performance during this period, then you have grounds to leave your contract.
How to Choose the Right MSP
When you're on the hunt for a new MSP, considerations such as cost and response times will probably cross your mind. However, there are many other factors that you should consider to ensure that you are picking an MSP that's at the intersection of the right price and the highest service quality.
Industry-Specific MSP Plans
Different industries have varying needs in a managed services provider. While the healthcare industry might need an MSP that's HIPAA-compliant, a business that frequently deals with credit cards may need an MSP that can comply with PCI DSS.
Technology changes so rapidly that data privacy regulations have been implemented to keep up. When you shop for an MSP, you may want one that can assist you in keeping your network up-to-speed with and the new and updated regulations.
Figure out any specific needs that your company may require in an MSP and ensure that they can work with you to meet them. For instance, if you wish to restrict who has access to sensitive information, specify those details with your MSP.
Cyber Security Education Programs
All it takes is one employee who is un-educated about cyber security threats to slip up and let a hacker into your network.
This can happen in an instant and can compromise your entire network. For instance, if an employee received a phishing email and clicks an attached link, malware could covertly be installed on their computer, allowing a hacker a backdoor into your network.
Thankfully, some MSP's offer cyber security training for employees, including mock phishing tests. These tests send fake phishing emails to employees, and send those who click the email's link to a cyber security training course. These courses help foster a culture of personal accountability within your organization.
Some MSP's can also work with you to develop a password policy for your company. Password policies educate your employees on how to use strong logins to put a barrier between hackers and your private data.
Disaster Recovery Planning
In the event that your company is the victim of a cyber attack, waiting to make an action plan until an attack happens is too late. Disaster recovery planning is a proactive, not reactive, approach to cyber security.
Make sure your managed service provider will help you set up a contingency plan from the start of your contract that includes points such as the chain of command in the event of a cyber attack or network crash.
Additionally, on and off-site data backup is another major point that needs to be addressed in a contingency plan. Regular data backups can reduce downtime in the event of a network outage.
While a ransomware attack or network crash can cause minimal data loss if data is backed up, ensuring that data is backed up constantly to systems both on and off-site ensures that network downtime is kept to a minimal, which reduces the costs associated with network downtime.
Business Growth Planning
Is your business planning on expanding or moving locations? Even if you aren't, imagine the planning that goes into an expansion or move. While you would probably consider factors such as the cost of these situations, you might not consider how to plan for your network to grow or move with you.
When shopping for an MSP, see if they have the ability to help strategize and implement a major business development like a move or growth. MSP's can help you determine what hardware and software will be necessary to secure your network, and can help you budget for said expansion or move.
Additionally, in the event that your office decides to transition to a remote environment, see if your MSP can assist in planning and setting up your network. The right MSP will quickly set up your network to ensure that there is a smooth transition to a remote environment.
If you think that it's time to cut the cord with your Managed Service Provider, don't feel pressured into sticking around.
By clearly spelling out your complaints and evaluating your contract for key clauses, you should be able to take the necessary steps to break your contract so you can begin a search for a new MSP.
The right Managed Service Provider will be able to help your company set and achieve cyber security goals and plan for the future of your network.
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Marketing Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.