There’s an awful lot to keep on top of when you run an MSP business, and complacency can land your company in some very unpleasant situations.
In this article we discuss five surprisingly common “schoolboy errors,” that many IT service companies are responsible of making. If you think your MSP business may be guilty of making some of these MSP mistakes, make some immediate changes to rectify the situation. If not, problems could be just around the corner.
It’s strange, given how much technology has moved on, that an ill-timed power failure can still bring a server to its knees. This is why UPS devices are, quite rightly, considered essential for servers and other key devices.
However, experienced IT professionals still encounter power-related server problems when UPS units are in place, simply because no time has been spent on configuration and testing. You must think carefully about the options available, make sure the UPS software closes down databases (think particularly about Exchange and SQL), and decide at what point in the recharge cycle it is safe to return power to the server(s).
Users are not often reliable in telling you where they are storing data, so you (and your staff) must be proactive in keeping an eye on their working patterns.
Be on the lookout for things like unsanctioned Dropbox accounts, files stored on desktops, and accounting system backups being dumped on local drives. Do as much as you can in terms of high-level configuration to protect users from themselves (i.e. redirect desktops and document folders, and think about where email archives end up). No important data should only reside on a local hard drive that could fail at any time.
Users hate to have to keep asking IT staff about the same issue over and over again. Sometimes, if it’s not preventing them from working, they’ll give up and put up with it.
That doesn't mean they’ll keep quiet, however. In internal team meetings, they’re sure to criticize your MSPs service. If you don’t ask for feedback and double-check the users are happy, you may discover your clients are looking around for alternative service providers behind your back.
Many companies complain that their IT providers work reactively and not proactively. If your firm is guilty of this, it’s highly likely that you’re also missing out on revenue that’s there for the taking.
There’s always something happening on the network (or in the IT world) that can generate more revenue, you've just got to be engaged enough to find it. As many technical people are not natural salespeople, plenty of these opportunities remain untapped.
This is a simple point, but one many MSPs miss. Generally, hardware is covered with a manufacturer’s warranty. For a typical server, this is probably something along the lines of three years onsite cover.
You MUST keep track of these dates. If not, you can guarantee that you’ll lose a drive in a RAID array a week or two after warranty expiry. Good luck finding a replacement.