‘Tis but a Scratch: Red Flags that Should Raise Questions about Your IT Service Experience

In the wonderfully hilarious British cult classic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur once defeated a guard on his quest for the Holy Grail. In the famous scene, the guard refuses to let Arthur pass and thus the battle begins. Arthur gravely wounds the guard, who continuously claims, “Tis but a scratch. It’s just a flesh wound.”

The same sense of denial can be true when it comes to your IT systems.

Think of your IT service provider as the wounded guard in this scenario. They’re there to help protect you company from intrusions or downtime. Yet, due to the complicated nature of technology and the opaque visibility into how to effectively run these technical systems (you’ve hired it out for a reason – we’re not all tech experts!), it can be easy to fall into the “what I don’t know won’t hurt me” trap.

There are many times when the person responsible for managing IT infrastructure is either in over their heads or too distracted to do the job well. In this article, we outline what those red flags are to look out for, the impact they can have on your company, and what you can do proactively to avoid any service provider-caused downtime.

Red Flags that Something is Amiss with IT Service Provider

Signs they’re distracted or too busy to provide good service

  1. They don’t call you back
  2. Slow to respond to tickets
  3. Take a long time to arrive on site

Slow response time is caused by a number of possible factors. For starters, they could be understaffed, perhaps going through layoffs and unable to handle the flow of tickets and inquiries coming into their office. This is troubling not only because it takes a long time for tickets to be resolved, but also because it means when they do get around to your issue, they’re probably not investing much time into seeking a full resolution. This can lead to recurring issues or slow breakdowns over time that end up costing a lot of money down the road.

Signs they’re in over their head with technical requirements

  1. There is a virus or intrusion on one of your devices
  2. Systems are perpetually problematic – aka you experience repeating IT issues

Similar to how recurring issues or larger IT issues can be caused by poor communication and lack of time to focus on your problem at hand, if the problem is beyond your service provider’s expertise you will see continuous or dangerous problems cropping up. Being infected with a virus indicates serious security breakdowns. If your systems are experiencing repeating IT issues, it can mean your provider doesn’t know how to fix (or even what is) the central problem.

This, of course, leads to additional concerns – like are your backups running properly in the event something bad does happen in your infrastructure? Has any customer, staff or proprietary information been leaked – leading to concerns around regulatory violations or financial vulnerabilities. And, finally, if there is a problem that looks like a scratch, is it really a deep wound?

Waving the White Flag of Surrender – and Resolving your IT Service Experience Issues

Whether you’re avoiding the confrontation with your provider due to a pre-established relationship (you like the guy!), fears about switching costs, or simply not knowing what you don’t know, it’s important not to go down with a sinking ship.

One area provider recently went out of business and a number of their clients have come to us in fear. What does this mean for their systems? How long will it take to migrate? Will they now experience lost data, business intelligence or significant downtime? All because they failed to act when the warning signs were first appearing.

Five steps you can take to proactively assess the health of your IT service provider:

  1. Ask for a full scan of your systems and a detailed explanation of the health of your IT
  2. Communicate with them that they communicate poorly, and dig for causes instead of empty promises
  3. Request a copy of their policies and procedures for how they run your infrastructure
  4. Make them test your backups, and ask how often they are doing so
  5. Request administrative access to all of your systems and a documented copy of your entire infrastructure design

If you’re still concerned that your business is at risk after attempting to address your concerns, don’t be afraid to find new support. Transitioning providers does not have to be a difficult or expensive process.

For more information on how Tekmanagement provides superior IT service to our clients, you can contact us online or by phone at 541-779-4777. You can also read testimonials from our valued clients here.