A Tale of Two IT Companies

Technology isn’t perfect. But there’s no doubt that running a business without it would be near impossible. You already know how frustrating it can be when the internet is moving at a snail’s pace hindering your ability to do your job. Just imagine missed and dropped phone calls on a daily basis. Imagine your staff sitting around not being able to access their files because the servers are down. Imagine the cost of that downtime. But the worst of all is not being able to get a response from your IT provider in an emergency situation.

That’s exactly what happened to MTI Baths, a Suwanee-based manufacturer of high-end bath products. Like a lot of small businesses who hire IT companies to manage their networks, MTI Baths expected a certain level of service from their provider. They expected there to be a layer of security to keep their network safe. They expected proactive monitoring and backups in the event of a massive failure. And they certainly expected an IT provider who would go to bat for them and work with technology vendors to ensure their employees could just do their jobs instead of worrying about technology.

When the company first experienced a total shutdown of their network, they immediately contacted their IT provider. And that’s when things went south. Generally speaking, an IT provider should be able to assist its clients in getting back to work swiftly. But to do that, regular backups and test restores need to happen to ensure those files can be restored in the event of an actual emergency. MaryBeth Barfield, controller at MTI Baths, and other executives thought they had their bases covered. They were paying good money to an IT provider who was supposed to be looking out for their best interest – and that included keeping current backups of their network.

You see where this is going. “The most recent backup our vendor had was from November” which was eight months prior to the attack, said Barfield. That eight-month lag amounted to thousands of files and hours of work – gone. Barfield estimates that the lost hours of productivity probably cost the company more than $15,000. It was a very stressful time for everyone at the company.

Technology Plays a Big Role in the Success of MTI Baths

MTI Baths products can be found in many boutique hotels across the globe and in the homes of discriminating homeowners throughout the United States. The company was founded in 1988 by a self-driven entrepreneur, J.C. Henry, who is known in the industry for inventing the world’s first self-cleaning whirlpool tub – one that is still on the market today. Upon his retirement, Henry wanted to leave the company in trusted hands that would continue his legacy of quality and service. After a failed acquisition deal, he decided to sell the company to a group of 25 employees who invested their 401K savings and mortgaged their homes in order to purchase the business that they loved. Preserving the culture of the company was important to Henry and the new owners.

One thing that separates MTI Baths from other bath manufacturers is their passion for delivering exceptional customer service with a personal touch. That means all their calls are answered by a person, not an automated machine. “It’s important that we spend time helping our customers with ordering and installing our products. Our phones are a very important part of our business.”

Unfortunately, their phone provider – much like their IT company – was not delivering the level of service MTI Baths needed to keep their customers happy and their business growing. Downed phone systems, latency issues and dropped calls plagued the business, and their IT provider was not willing to invest the time and effort necessary to resolve the issues with the phone service provider. Missed calls translated to missed orders. “Our employees were frustrated. Our customers were frustrated. Not getting support from our IT provider was the last straw.”

Out With the Old

It was time to look for new IT company – one that was focused on being proactive, not reactive. “We were really looking for somebody that would partner with us,” she said. “And partner with us long-term. Someone who had skin in the game who could tell us what we need to do from a technology perspective. We needed an advisor. That was really important to me.”

Team MIS was put to the test right out of the gates. On the day Barfield gave notice, their IT company shut down their servers and withheld all documentation from her including passwords prompting an emergency call to Lliam Holmes, a Certified Ethical Hacker, a Certified Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator and CEO of MIS Solutions. “There’s no telling how long we would have been down, but Lliam was able to hack the passwords and get us running in about an hour.”

The MIS projects team went to bat for MTI Baths and was successfully able to switch their phone service to MIS Solutions’ system and transition their network to a more stable, secure environment. “MIS really does have our best interest at heart,” Barfield said. “We like that MIS is local and nearby because we really can’t have downtime. And having a support team we can call or email has made everything a lot easier for us when we do have issues.”

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