Signs You Need To Switch Managed IT Service Providers

By: Dustin Bonn
July 3, 2024

So…you signed a managed IT contract with a sales rep who promised smooth sailing ahead. You haven’t heard much from the company since, except for the one time you had an internet issue, and it took them a full day to fix it. But as far as you know, nothing really bad has happened. You’re left wondering if you’re really getting what you’re paying for, and you feel like there’s no way to know. Sound familiar?

Many of the clients we meet with are in that position, so here’s the good news: There are many relatively simple ways to see if your IT provider is doing a good job. I’ll spell those out — along with some helpful resources — in this blog! 

How To Evaluate Managed IT Service Providers

Every provider’s managed IT offering will be a little different, and it should be spelled out clearly in your service level agreement (SLA). Before signing with any provider and before ending your relationship with them, you should familiarize yourself with your agreement so you know exactly what to expect. 

But IT has changed very quickly, and some of those changes make it harder for businesses to see the work that’s actually being done on their behalf. At Marco, we work very hard to prevent disruptions, and because we are able to solve most problems remotely, our clients won’t see us as often. Most of our clients love that about us and are happy to be able to trust that their technology will just, you know, work. 

However, we also provide regular client business reviews to make sure our clients are happy with the service we’re offering and getting the guidance they need. If your provider offers you something like this, but you’ve declined their meetings, give them a chance. These meetings can offer a great deal of value and might provide the clarity you need. It’s also quite possible your IT provider could help you achieve one of your big goals for the year, but you know what they say — if you don’t ask, the answer is always no!

7 Poor Managed IT Services Warning Signs


Even though a lot of IT work is happening behind the scenes, there are still ways to tell that your provider might not live up to their marketing. Here’s what to watch out for…

1. You Notice a Lack of Responsiveness From Your Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Have you ever noticed that most emergencies seem to happen at the worst possible time? 

Some IT providers aren’t big enough to offer 24/7 help desk support, or they’ll outsource off-peak hours to a third party who may or may not be able to maintain the same quality of service. Sometimes, you get what you pay for, and the cheaper provider may be less responsive. 

Your SLA should clearly outline the responsiveness you can expect to receive. If your provider isn’t living up to their promises, it might be time to have a tough conversation.

2. You Experience Recurring Technical Issues and Downtime

Depending on your organization, half a day of downtime might be acceptable. For others, that could be catastrophic

So even if your provider is generally responsive, they should be doing more than just fixing things that break. We track all of our service requests, so if a single piece of technology starts causing more than its fair share of problems, we know to get to the bottom of it. 

3. They Have Insufficient Expertise or Limited Service Offerings

This is one of the best and worst things about modern technology — it’s designed to work together. Unfortunately, a service provider with limited expertise or resources can leave you caught in a blame game between one provider and another. And that’s a very bad place to be. 

When you have a problem with your technology, that’s frustrating enough, let alone having to pull teeth to get someone to fix it. If your provider can’t solve the problems you need solved, it’s time to reconsider the relationship.

4. Your Cybersecurity Is Lacking

Cybersecurity evolves quickly, so it can be hard for an outsider to know if they’re receiving the protection they should be. So, I’ll make it extremely simple…

If your provider hasn’t updated their cybersecurity tools in the past three to four years, that’s bad. If your provider hasn’t pushed you to adopt multi-factor authentication, that’s also, you know, bad. 

Good news: You actually don’t need to be Fort Knox! The basics go a long way toward protecting your business. The problem isn’t that cybercriminals are so good. It’s that most organizations aren’t taking reasonable precautions.

So…are you taking reasonable precautions? Our cybersecurity team put together an online cybersecurity checklist based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. It’s specifically designed to help small to mid-sized businesses see where they’re in line with best practices and where they fall short. If you’re working with an IT provider and they haven’t recommended some of these, well…you get it.

Get Our Cybersecurity Checklist  Download Now

5. There’s a Lack of Strategic Alignment and Future Planning

Is your provider helping you work towards your goals? Do they even know what your organization’s goals are? 

Technology can play an important role in helping you, for example, retain more top talent, offer more flexibility, grow your business, increase productivity, and more. If your provider is only helping you, in essence, keep the lights on, you’re being underserved. 

6. You Notice Billing Inconsistencies or Unexpected Costs

Phone bills can be confusing. IT bills don’t have to be.

There are a few common pricing models that you’ll see IT providers use, and you can tell a lot about the service you’ll get from the model a provider uses. For example, some providers make more money the more often you experience disruptions. 

Guess what happens? You got it.

We price our services per user, so as our clients scale up or down, so does their bill. It may be a small detail to some, but our pricing model makes it easy to avoid unpleasant surprises and helps demonstrate to our clients that we’re truly invested in their success. When they do well and experience fewer disruptions, that’s good for them and good for us. 

7. You Get Poor Customer Service and a Lack of Personalized IT 


When some people think about working with a large national provider, they assume they won’t get the personalized service they’d like. 

As companies grow, that personal touch (including personal accountability) is a common casualty. 

Confession time: Over our 50 years, we’ve had to work very hard to make sure that as we grew, we didn’t slowly lose the things that people liked most about working with us. So we went at the problem like a technology provider should — by using technology to automate simpler tasks so human beings could devote more attention to things that require a human touch. Every managed IT client also has a technical account manager (TAM) who will get to know their organization and personally make sure their needs are met. 

So, from where I sit, poor customer service isn’t acceptable, no matter how big the provider is. And if you’re not getting personalized support, chances are, you’re also missing out on that strategic alignment piece. 

Choosing the Right Managed Service Provider for Your Business

Look, most businesses will proudly proclaim themselves to be “the best” at whatever they do. They’ll also claim to provide “the best service” at “the best price.” And sometimes, managed IT providers get away with being anything but because many business owners are simply too busy managing their own business to look closely into someone else’s. 

We are sometimes asked to provide a technology or cybersecurity assessment for an organization wanting a second opinion on their current IT provider. But we also decided to write a complete guide on managed IT, including some additional red flags to look out for. I’ll just leave this here… 

Get Our Managed IT Guide Learn More


Topics: Managed IT Services