How Difficult Is It to Transfer to a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

managed service provider

As a local business owner, you probably spend a lot of your time thinking about IT issues. You may have a managed service provider in Los Angeles to help you handle your routine IT maintenance.

But what do you do if you’re not satisfied with the service you’re getting from this provider?

Transitioning to a new managed service provider may seem like a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be.

Read on to learn more about this process and what to expect during the transition process.

What Is Managed IT Services?

Before we get into how you can switch to a managed service provider, let’s talk about what a managed service provider is. A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that handles all of your IT needs for you. These services can provide plenty of IT expertise and the support you need to focus on running your business.

A managed service provider can provide a variety of different levels of service, depending on what you need.

You can get 24/7 monitoring, data backup and protection, antivirus and intrusion protection, and more. They can also provide comprehensive cloud services and live support services, as well as network and infrastructure management.

Benefits of a Managed Service Provider

If you already work with a managed service provider and you’re not happy, you might be wondering if you should even pay for an MSP at all. One of the biggest reasons MSPs are important is because it enables you to focus on your business. Instead of spending your valuable time handling IT problems, you can focus on managing and growing your business.

MSPs also bring expertise that your in-house team may not have. Because outsourced tech support companies have dedicated their careers to mastering the IT field, they know how to deal with almost any problem you come up against.

This can get your business back online sooner and save you from losing money during downtime.

When to Consider a Switch to MSP

So when is it time for you to start looking at switching managed service providers?

First of all, your MSP should be using the latest technology, both in terms of hardware and software. This is especially important in cybersecurity tools, since that field is always evolving to protect your business against new threats.

You also need good customer service from your managed service provider; when you call them with a crisis, you need to know that they’ll respond quickly. They should be a partner of your business and should work to make sure you have everything you need to be successful. If you don’t have this experience with your current MSP, it may be time to consider a switch.

What to Look for in a New MSP

When you’re shopping for a new MSP, there are a few things you’ll want to look for in a good IT support company.  Of course, plenty of technical experience and expertise is a must for your new MSP. You want to look for a company that hires top industry experts who will be able to tackle any problem that comes up during your business operations.

Your new MSP should also be able to help you reduce your downtime when emergency events do happen. They should be able to help you protect against these accidents, including setting up a bulletproof cybersecurity system. And their services should fit with your budget needs, including offering flexible support plans.

Read Your Contract

When you get ready to transfer to an MSP, the first thing you need to do is to read your current contract.

You may have to take certain steps when you’re ending your relationship with your MPS. Knowing what steps you have to take ahead of time can make your transition process smoother.

You may need to give your current MSP a certain amount of notice that you plan to terminate service with them. Look into the procedures to do this; do you need to send written notice, or will a phone call suffice? Also, look into how ending your payment structure will work, particularly when you will submit your last payment.

Inventory Your Equipment

Once you’ve gotten familiar with your termination procedure, it will be time to start taking a look at your IT needs. This should begin with taking a look at your computer equipment, including the equipment that belongs to your current managed service provider. Removing this equipment may be part of your offboarding process with your old MSP.

When you get ready to start a relationship with a new MSP, they may need to know what equipment you own.

They may provide you with a variety of different equipment, depending on your needs. However, if they can’t provide the equipment you need, you may have to purchase some of your own during the transition process.

Audit Your Existing Environment

In addition to taking a look at your hardware, you also need to audit your entire IT environment. Before you can start working with a new MSP, they need to know about your system needs. This can include everything from the size of your system to the specific areas where you need support.

Work with your new MSP to create a report detailing what sort of software, if any, you have to handle antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spam needs. Discuss what sort of firewalls you use and what sort of data backup plan you have. It’s also a good idea to provide them with some network specifications so they know what size of system you’re working with.

Give Your Current MSP Notice

Once you’ve finished your system audit with your new MSP, you’ll be ready to give your current MSP notice that you’ll be terminating your service. You may need to provide them with a thirty- or ninety-day notice so they can wrap up their service with you and schedule off-boarding. You may also need to submit this notice through some sort of official channel.

While you may want to handle this notice yourself, your new managed service provider can also handle this notice. This can accomplish a few things; for one, it removes that responsibility for that call from your plate. It can also facilitate some of the practical conversations that your two MSPs will need to have during the transition process.

Schedule Off-Boarding

Once you’ve notified your old MSP that you’ll be ending service with them, you’ll need to schedule off-boarding. This will be when your old MSP withdraws from your IT network, removing log-ins and shutting down accounts. They’ll turn over the needed information to your new provider and officially close out your account with their company.

Before shutting down your account, your old MSP may need to schedule a time to come pick up any hardware they own. There may be an uninstallation fee associated with this, so be sure to clarify that in your contract ahead of time. Of course, you may be expected to pay for any damaged equipment that belongs to your old MSP.

Typical Off-Boarding Timelines

Off-boarding can take some time, and you may need to plan for some downtime during this transition. However, most MSPs work to make sure this transition has as little of an impact on your business as possible. The two companies will coordinate with each other to get old equipment moved out and software uninstalled before the onboarding process begins.

In general, your old MSP will likely set up their off-boarding time for a Friday evening after business hours. This ensures that the downtime your company does experience will impact your day-to-day operations as little as possible. Removing the old hardware may need to happen at a different time, possibly earlier in the week before the official off-boarding.

Start Onboarding

Once your old managed service provider has officially signed off, your new MSP will be ready to take over. In general, they’ll want to start their onboarding process as soon as your old provider finishes off-boarding. This keeps your downtime to a minimum and ensures a smooth transition.

Most MSPs will start their onboarding the same night that your old MSP signs off for the last time. They’ll install any new software that you’ll need, and they may even bring in and install the new hardware you’ll need. They’ll also check to make sure your old MSP removed everything from your network that was under their control.

Hand Over IT Control

During the onboarding process, your new managed service provider will need to take control of your IT environment. Given that they’ll be running it for you every day, this control won’t be unusual even after onboarding is wrapped up. But this control is especially important when they’re getting your new system set up and ready to go.

Your new provider will likely change all access codes and passwords that allowed your old MSP to access your system. This helps to keep your company safe, especially from disgruntled former employees of your old provider. They’ll provide you with these new logins so that only you and them will have access to your system.

The Transition Process

After all your passwords are changed, the full onboarding process can begin. Your new managed service provider will likely start by performing a full data backup of your entire system. This helps them to ensure that no data gets lost during the transition process and establishes the new routine for these backups.

They may also take a closer look at your cybersecurity system and try to fix any weaknesses or loopholes they encounter. They’ll update any software that needs it and set up patches and fixes as needed. If all goes according to plan, your new MSP should be done setting up your system before you open for business on Monday.

Transitioning Your Employees

Even once the onboarding process is finished, your MSP’s work is far from over. In addition to getting your system up to date, your new managed service provider will also need to help your employees transition to the new environment.

This step will likely involve an in-person visit to your office so they can meet with and train your employees.

Your MSP may meet with your employees and go over relevant information about the new system. They’ll get any logins updated as needed and provide training in any new programs or protocols your employees may be using. This meeting also gives your employees a chance to meet the people who they’ll call when trouble arises.

Working with Your New MSP

With onboarding done and your initial transition wrapped up, you’ll be ready to settle into a working relationship with your new managed service provider.

A good MSP should be available to help you navigate any questions or challenges that come up during the course of your business. Not only should they help you through a crisis, but they should be an active partner in helping you to prevent downtime from happening in the first place.

There will likely be a longer transition period when your company works out the kinks of your new MSP relationship. Your team will learn how to work with your new MSP, and your new MSP will learn your business routines. As time goes on, this relationship should improve and your service should become a natural part of your business rhythm.

Find a New Managed Service Provider

A managed service provider can be a fantastic partner for your company, but you need a company that fits well with your needs. Switching to a new managed service provider is a bit of a process, but not an odious one. Make sure to provide your old MSP with plenty of notice and schedule a convenient time for your new MSP to do their onboarding.

If you’d like to find your new managed service provider, check out the rest of our site at BeStructured Technology Group. We are an award-winning Los Angeles IT support firm that provides IT service, IT consulting, and managed IT services.

Schedule a consultation with us today and let us show you how great IT support in Los Angeles can be.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.