January 20, 2023

Major Risks of Low-Cost MSPs and What to Watch Out For

MSPs are slowly becoming the go-to for many SMBs around the world, as taking out a service with an MSP can often be more effective, and more affordable for many businesses that may not be able to afford a full-time individual. In today's article, we’re going to take a look at some of the major risks of taking out a low-cost MSP service, and what you should be careful of. Let’s jump right in.

Major Risks of Low-Cost IT Providers

Although the budget is usually a forefront requirement for many business owners looking for an IT provider or MSP, you should always go into the research process with an open mind. This is mostly in part to find the perfect MSP for you. Here are some aspects you might want to watch out for when profiling that perfect supplier. They include;

Lack of Exclusivity & Commitment

An MSP, generally speaking – will be a shared service. You and your business are one customer, of possibly hundreds of others and often you may feel left out, or forgotten about more often with a low-cost MSP. This is mostly in part to the service being sold so cheaply, that more business flock to a singular MSP, which can cause a rapid increase of work for said MSP leading to commitment elsewhere which can often mean getting pushed somewhere in the middle of a long queue.

Whilst this lack of exclusivity isn’t normal for most MSPs, sometimes there may be busy days and quiet days, but your MSP should set out defined SLA (Service-Level Agreements) outlining maximum response times and resolution times for any issues, or actions that can be taken on your services such as vulnerability management, or response to cybersecurity-related incidents.  

Gaps in Security & Regulations

Having a low-cost MSP doesn’t necessarily mean that poor security and regulatory compliances aren’t met, but there is a greater chance that you’ll experience this with low-cost MSP services. Security gaps could be as simple as weak passwords for the MSP service accounts, clear-text storage of both their own and your staff’s passwords and even poorly configured hardware or software can all pose a grave danger to you and your business.

Companies, or more specifically MSPs that use various security accreditations have proven themselves to be secure, and safe MSPs to work with to ensure that your business isn’t affected by any attacks on your MSP. This again, shouldn’t be a premium, but just a quality-added aspect of a great MSP service.

Scope & ‘Contracts’

As an MSP ourselves, we’ve been on both sides of the glass. Many low-cost, and often super-cheap MSP services are often very contractually obliged. Although the defined scopes that most MSPs put in place allow for more accurate pricing, and a defined support scope – many low-cost MSPs will not move on this. For example, you could’ve been a customer for several years, never missed or delayed payment and never complained about the service – but the moment you ask for something out of scope, they refuse to touch it or even speak of it.

This all comes down to the quality of the service, with friendly and supportive MSPs like Electric IT, we would be happy to help where possible, as long as we’re helping you progress with your business objectives and needs from a technological point of view. This shouldn’t be a premium, but rather just another aspect of a perfect MSP service built for your business.  

Physical Presence

Although many MSPs will sit in the background of your virtual staff team, and only operate when you need them to do, the physical presence of your MSP may stand out to you. In Electric IT’s Gold package, you can be assured we’ll be on-site with you at least once a month, but this physical presence isn’t always there with low-cost IT providers.

Typically, the lower the cost, the less you’ll see of your MSP. Although you may prefer them to stay remote, for any on-site issues where maintenance has to be provided infront of a device, you want to ensure someone can get to you. Some low-cost MSPs will refuse to come to the site due to size and demand, but again may be part and parcel of the cost of the service overall.  

This is typically outlined in the initial service offering and contractual obligations of both parties, along with defined SLAs (for both remote and physical, on-site resolutions). Ensure this documentation is created and provided to you before you exchange any money with the provider as this is important!  

Do Affordable IT Providers exist?

Of course, quite a few MSPs that you’ll speak to will be affordable, but being affordable should never be because of the quality of the service you get. Affordability to an extent should just be down to the margins of the MSP, and not necessarily the quality of the service being delivered, after all – you are the customer and need to be looked after correctly.

Whilst we look to provide affordable services for you, we understand that we might not meet the budget requirements of your company, although we would do our utmost best to meet you there. Something we can promise you, however, is the quality of our services. We provide you with top-tier service, no matter the type or plan you take with us, as to us – you are number one.  

Closing Notes

Overall, looking for a low-cost service provider is not a bad thing, but be careful with the extremely cheap services as you will likely be compromising on the quality of service, which is not great when you need to rely on the service you’ve purchased.  

We have our service offerings, including Office 365 Backups, Secure DNS protection, monthly on-site infrastructure reviews and unlimited user support whenever you need us. These are all parts of the package when you take out a service with us, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy every moment – even when your infrastructure falls over - let us deal with it for you. Contact us today to discuss further options and see how we can help your business thrive in an ever-modern world.