It has become a common trend for IT providers to hold their clients’ services for ransom. This is in attempt to keep their clients by fear of losing their services, instead of doing a good job. Here are a few tips on how you can keep your services running and not be at the whim of a controlling 3rd party provider.
Protection From Web Developers:
Recently we re-posted a link from the BDC about being held hostage by your web developer. Here are some of the tips that we suggest that will help you avoid this in the future.
- Own Your Domain: when registering your domain, make sure you are the administrator on the account and that you are not leasing your domains from your developer. Alternatively, register domains with an IT professional and not through the developer.
- Web Hosting: It is common practice for web developers to also host your website. We encourage using a separate company for hosting the website. This provides an easy transition from developer to developer in the event you wish to refresh your site every couple of years. You can simply provide the developer access rather than moving the site.
- Use a Common Development Platform: For small businesses, we encourage a common development platform, such as WordPress. By using a common platform, the selection base of developers is much wider. More importantly, you are not held hostage by an expensive custom platform that only your developer can work with.
Protection From IT Providers:
Our business focuses on being a Managed IT Solution provider and maintains clients by providing valued services. There is also significant trust and transparency that must come from that relationship. Not everyone conducts business on the same ethical level. Here are some tips on how to hold your IT provider accountable.
- Know Who Owns your Software: We encourage small business to own all their software. It is practice for some IT providers to lease or rent software licenses to their clients, while retaining the licenses for themselves. We understand that software can be an expensive upfront cost but discourage from leasing if you will not eventually own the licenses.
- Backup Strategy: Having a clear and redundant backup strategy will eliminate the risk of your data being held hostage by IT providers. We encourage knowing where your data is located and having it on multiple mediums, such as Off-Site Backup, Disk and Tape. This will allow you to switch providers without risking data loss.
- Passwords: Knowing your passwords is by far one of the easiest ways not to be help hostage by your IT provider. Ask your provider for a binder with all your passwords in it, this will give you control over your network. It will also allow another company to take over your network with ease, should you wish to do so.
As our business environment changes to be more and more technology dependent, the technology costs will also continue to rise. It is important to have options and flexibility with your IT providers and not feel you are caught between a rock and a hard place. Technology and IT providers should add value to your business, not cause you headaches. As business owners, its important to let IT professionals do what they do best – but be smart and keep yourself protected.