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When I start working with a client, I frequently encounter a broken relationship between my client and their IT MSP (managed service provider).

There are numerous symptoms of the problem.

But at its core, the relationship has usually broken down because my client no longer trusts their IT service provider.

In many cases, the loss of trust has arisen because the IT provider has consistently failed to deliver a sufficient level of basic service.

For example:

  • Failing to resolve service issues promptly
  • Failing to address the root cause of a recurring problem
  • Failing to return phone calls or emails
  • Failing to answer simple questions using plain English

But in other cases, the loss of trust has arisen because of a disconnect between what the client assumes the IT provider is doing, and what the IT provider is actually doing.


The disconnect

When I ask a client about it, they usually recall that everything was pretty good in the first few years of the relationship.

But then there was a turning point.

The turning point arose when either:

  • The client had a significant incident (e.g. a staff member accidentally deleted important data; a laptop containing sensitive company information was lost or stolen; the client suffered a ransomware attack), or
  • The client was asked by an important customer (or a regulator) to show evidence that they were taking appropriate steps to reduce the risk of such incidents.

The client assumed that the IT provider had this all covered, so the incident should have been easy to recover from, or the evidence should have been easy to provide.

But it quickly became obvious that the IT provider was doing very little, if anything, to manage these risks on behalf of the client.



That was the moment that trust exited the building.


It’s not me. It’s them.

The client feels like the IT provider has scammed them, by only providing a subset of the services that the client ‘obviously’ needed.

After all, the IT provider is the expert, so it seemed like a reasonable assumption that the IT provider would be managing these risks on their behalf.

So, clearly, it’s the IT provider’s fault.

And that might be true.


The only way to know for sure is to look at the details of the IT service that the client is paying for.

If it’s not written in a contract or service schedule, then all assumptions are null and void.


The contract doesn’t matter.

Until the contract is the only thing that matters.



PS I provide (IT) relationship counselling, to help you rebuild your relationship with your IT service provider(s). Where a relationship is broken beyond repair, I am also a great matchmaker, enabling you to move on to a better (IT) relationship. If it’s something you need, let’s talk.