Professional services firm case study

We are a professional services firm with around 60 users. We had been with our IT support provider for just over 12 years and weren’t particularly happy with the service they provided, but most of the time things weren’t bad enough to prompt a change.

Issues would flare up from time to time - sometimes they were technical issues and sometimes they were customer services issues, including slow responses to tickets. In most circumstances, these issues were somewhat resolved and life just carried on as normal.

We had accepted this barely adequate service as we saw moving to a new provider as a hassle that we didn’t want. There was also a loyalty factor in that we had been with the company for quite some time and they had seen us through many IT changes.

In May 2019 I happened to be speaking to someone that ran a company with a similar culture to ours (albeit a bigger firm) and he mentioned that they had just swapped IT support providers, to Datek Solutions.

He told me how fantastic the new service was and how he wished that they had done it years ago.

It was amazing hearing his story as it pretty much mirrored our experience. It seemed that we were not the only people putting up with mediocre IT support just because the thought of moving just felt like too much hassle. He was so vocal and passionate about what they had done and gave me the details of their new provider.

I made contact with them that same week and we had an initial conversation, which went well. They spoke our language and what they were saying just made sense and was logical. Although I liked what I was hearing, I wasn’t ready to kick off a change immediately, as things seemed OK with our IT.

However, I was pleased that we had that initial conversation as I just felt more ready to make the change, even though I knew it wouldn’t be imminent.

Over the next six months or so, Datek called me a few times, just to touch base and see how things were going. There was certainly no ‘hard selling’ going on.

Towards the end of 2019 we decided that we wanted to achieve Cyber Essentials accreditation. We went through the process but, to our surprise, failed due to the insufficient security of our IT.

I called our provider and, to my annoyance, rather than facing the issue head on, they went into ‘Teflon’ mode and started explaining how this was not their fault. I called them on multiple occasions to see what route we could go down to resolve the problem but their tone and response irritated me considerably, prompting me to reconsider a move.

I called Datek and explained what had happened. They said that they had recently helped another one of their customers achieve Cyber Essentials so were familiar with the process and requirements. We agreed that Datek would do a full audit of our IT system. This experience was a massive eye-opener. We did the audit as a live online session so one of my colleagues and I could see exactly what was happening in real-time and Datek could talk us through what we were looking at.

Some of the issues we found on that session were: -

  • Some servers had not been rebooted for hundreds of days, which means they hadn’t been patched and were missing several critical updates (that was one of the main reasons that we failed Cyber Essentials).
  • The password for our firewall was the generic “admin” password that they are all shipped with.
  • Several users had not been set up properly, and they had far more permissions than needed and had access to sensitive information far above their pay grade. I’m not sure whether they realised that they could access this information or not but this fact left me in a very difficult situation.
  • One of the hard drives in our server was faulty. As we had RAID setup, this failure didn’t cause any operational issues but, if a second hard drive had failed, we would have been down for days until new hard drives were purchased, installed and all our data restored from backup. Even then we would still be missing data as all we had was the previous night’s backup, so everything was done that day would have been lost.
  • We back up internally but also to the cloud as a belt & braces process. We could see on the online audit that the cloud backup service was not working and there hadn’t been a successful cloud backup done for 9 months! (And we were paying our IT support provider each month for this service.)
  • A lot of our infrastructure hardware was out of warranty.

There were many other issues that came to light during this process, but we had seen enough and wanted to move over to Datek as quickly as we could. Datek have an easy-to-use process to help customers move away from their IT provider and into the Datek eco-system.

Following that process made me realise how straightforward moving IT providers was and all the concern we had in changing providers was totally unnecessary. Datek made the whole process very smooth and we hardly even noticed the transition!

About a week after the initial online audit, we had all our ducks in a row and Datek were able to start supporting us. The difference was night and day. The improvement Datek provided was obvious to all of us. Within a few weeks, we had full up-to-date documentation on our entire IT environment - something we hadn’t had for many years.

We also had a structured plan for moving forwards and Datek had already resolved all the red flags that had been highlighted in the audit.

At the time of writing this, we have now been supported by Datek for over a year and the service continues to be excellent.

Our staff have more faith in logging tickets as they know their issue will be picked up in a timely manner and resolved. Datek have a SIP (service improvement plan) and we meet quarterly with them to review our SIP document. We can see that everything has been done that was agreed in previous SIP meetings and anything from the new meeting is added to that same document, so nothing can slip through any gaps. And we now have Cyber Essentials accreditation – all thanks to Datek.

I can whole-heartedly recommend Datek Solutions to any business that is looking for an IT Provider to take complete ownership of their IT environment. All providers seem to promise this service but not many actually do it – Datek do!