The Managed Service Provider (MSP) Quandary: They’re Only as Good as You Allow Them to Be

mspWhen I hear of managed service providers (MSPs), I think of services in a compartmentalized box or a box of Legos. While that may be a simplistic view of what a MSP is, it actually fits because that’s how companies tend to use them. They take parts that they want from a box and leave others that they don’t want. And as an end-user chooses a product or service from the box, the pieces are attached together to form an organization’s total service solution. This process is used whether it is a small company or a Fortune 500 company.

After an organization’s needs have been met, and after the service level agreements (SLAs) have been signed by the appropriate departments within an organization, then the work begins. But, the relationship can become problematic even when the relationship begins under the best of circumstances. A business relationship can spiral out of control very quickly because the organization may not believe that the MSP is doing its job correctly, or even worse, the organization blocks the MSP from doing its job.

There’s an old saying in the tech industry: “Working with computers would be great if it weren’t for the clients.”

When a business is paying for services, you would think that it would listen to its hired service provider, but that is not always the case. This is sometimes the case for services that cost above and beyond the price of the MSP. For example, through monitoring, it is determined that more cloud storage is needed, or a system critical server is about to fail. The organization says, “We don’t need that right now.” Translation: “We don’t want to pay for that right now.”

So the MSP team has issued the warning and laid out the evidence to support its findings, but the organization fails to act. So what happens when systems fail? You guessed it. The organization blames the MSP for not being adamant about the problem before the crisis erupted.

Or, the organization fails to listen to the MSP for no apparent reason. For example, a major organization receives a call from its MSP that monitors security. This MSP calls the security manager at the organization and tells the main contact that there’s a high probability of a major breach. Instead of taking immediate action, which might include checking the security infrastructure and searching for holes, the security manager ignores the warning. So what happens? A breach happens, and it causes millions and millions of dollars in damages.

But, let’s not forget. The MSP did the job that it was paid to do – a job that cost this organization a lot of money per year, and a major breach happened because the organization failed to act on intelligence that the MSP had provided. This error in judgment not only cost the organization money – but most likely, its reputation as well.

So before hiring an MSP, consider this. How much is its advice worth to you? Are you going to listen when the MSP gives advice, or will you listen ONLY when you want to? Granted, there are some MSPs that just want to take your money and provide lousy service, but for the most part, MSPs are honest. MSPs offer important services that your organization cannot handle due to manpower, space, equipment, or infrastructure issues such as the inability to manage disaster recovery, backup, and other infrastructure limitations.

The right MSP that’s the right fit for your business can help make your business run smoother and recovery much quicker.

Image Credit: Pakorn via

This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate, and scale your business.

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About Allan Pratt

Technology and cybersecurity professional with focus on tech news, cybersecurity, networking, infrastructure, data protection, consumer electronics, and social media.
This entry was posted in Business Process, Cloud Computing, corporate data, Data Breach, data protection, Data Security, MSP, Network Security and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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