Making the decision to switch to a new managed IT services provider (MSP) can be challenging. Maybe your contract is ending, or your registered investment advisory or financial advisory firm is not getting what you need from your current arrangement. In any case, it’s important to know what to expect when changing MSPs so the transition can go as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips for a seamless transition.
Leaving your current MSP
Before switching IT partners, it’s important to evaluate your current MSP and why you’re looking to leave. If it’s simply because you’re not happy with the service, then make sure to document your frustrations so that you can relay them accurately to the new MSP. Be sure to highlight specific areas where your current MSP is falling short. This information will help the new MSP understand your current environment and ensure that there are no issues or surprises once the transition is complete.
Typically, the process of breaking ties with your current MSP will take anywhere from two to four months. This is because most MSPs require at least a 30-day notice before terminating a contract. Once they know when you want to end your partnership with them, they can plan for offboarding. This involves removing all their hardware and software from your IT environment and transferring all of your data and systems over to the new provider.
Choosing a new MSP
Now that you’ve made the decision to leave your current MSP, it’s time to find a new one. You can start by asking your colleagues and peers for recommendations. If you know other registered investment advisors or financial advisors who work with an MSP, ask them what their experience has been like with that particular provider. You can also look for reviews online and on social media.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential providers, reach out and schedule some demos. Most providers offer a free consultation in order to get a better understanding of your business and the services you need. During this meeting, be prepared to discuss your current IT environment, as well as what you’re looking for in a new provider.
As an RIA or financial advisory firm, it’s crucial that you find an MSP that is familiar with your industry, particularly in the areas of security and compliance. The more experience they have working with companies in the financial industry, the more likely they are to have solutions designed to meet your specific needs.
Onboarding with your new MSP
Once you’ve decided on a new MSP, you can start the transition process. This includes signing a new contract and scheduling the installation of new hardware and software.
Most MSPs have a standard onboarding process that usually takes between two and four weeks. During this time, they will work with you, as well as your old MSP, to migrate your data over to their systems and ensure that everything is up and running smoothly. There may be some downtime during this process, but your new MSP should work with you to minimize it as much as possible.
You should inform your employees of the changes in advance so they can plan their tasks accordingly. Although IT systems are rarely inaccessible during transitions, it’s always best to be prepared for the unexpected.
Once everything is up and running, monitor the new provider closely to make sure they are meeting your expectations. If not, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and discuss your concerns.
Switching to a new MSP may seem like a tedious process, but with careful planning, it can be smooth and seamless for your RIAs or financial advisors. By knowing what you’re getting into, you can minimize the amount of downtime and ensure that the new provider meets your expectations.
RIA WorkSpace can help ensure that your RIAs and staff have the technology they need to adhere to cybersecurity policies. Contact us today to see how we can help.