This isn’t a fairy tale. It’s a true story. Once upon a time, in a story that might sound awfully familiar, there was a business owner who wanted to find a trustworthy and reliable technology support provider. First, she tried this IT company. But they never returned her phone calls.
Then she tried another IT company. But their prices were way too high.
Finally, she found an IT company that would customize their services especially for her business. And it was just right.
Awww. That was nice.
Now, what’s the moral of the story? Don’t put your trust in just any IT company.
But, how do you begin your search?
Make Your List Of Questions & The Answers You Want To Hear
How long have they been in business? How large is their IT company?
Don’t use any company with less than three years of experience in the solutions you use. This will weed out a few right away.
If it’s a small IT company, your business will probably be higher on their priority list, although, large IT companies can offer a broader base of experience and knowledge. Their resources will be more expansive as well.
It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons here according to your organization’s requirements.
What are their IT staff’s qualifications and certifications?
A reliable IT provider should have lots of info regarding the certifications their technicians hold. Why are certifications important?
According to CIO magazine, using certified professionals is beneficial to your business:
“44 percent of IT decision-makers say certifications result in employees performing work faster, 33 percent said it results in more efficiency when implementing systems and 23 percent say it helps deploy products and services faster with fewer errors.”
If you use both Apple and Microsoft solutions, make sure they are certified on both.
Also, ask if they provide continuing education for their techs. Do they attend industry events to update their skillsets?
Have they served businesses in your industry? Can they support the applications you use?
Ideally, your technology support provider should have experience in what you do. Find out if they’ve worked in industries and with businesses of the same size. Ask them for a reference list of customers from your industry to be sure. If not, determine if the work they’ve performed for others may align with your needs.
Also, think about your employees, the type of work they do, and which applications they access in the typical workday. Can the IT company support these applications?
You may use specially-built applications to handle workflows. Your IT provider should understand how your business works, the technology you use, and be able to support it.
How will they help you grow your business with technology? Do they offer outsourced CIO services?
Ask how they’ll help to support your growth goals. Just as you have a one-year, three-year, or five-year business plan, they should provide strategic IT planning that aligns with your business objectives.
An Outsourced CIO will ensure that your technology meets your growing business demands.
- They will develop a thorough understanding of your company and technology infrastructure.
- Offer suggestions for new IT solutions that can promote your success.
- Develop an IT Strategic Plan that aligns with your goals and your budget.
- Perform ongoing evaluations and performance metrics to ensure your business stays on track with your tactical technology plan.
What kind of service can you expect?
- Do they offer 24/7 service with a live person on the other end of the phone, chat, or email?
- Is their help desk staff qualified to address your issues right away?
- Will they remotely monitor and maintain your IT system 24/7?
- If they can’t fix your problems remotely, how long will it take for a technician to come to your site? Is this backed by a written Service Level Agreement?
What is and isn’t covered in their contract?
Do they provide fixed-fee services? What’s included? Find out what they don’t offer that you might require. Are there extra costs for services, and if so, how much are they? You deserve a reliable IT partner who will work to provide an IT system that’s secure, efficient, and increases your staff’s productivity.
What about cybersecurity? How will they protect your IT assets and data?
- Be sure they provide a layered cybersecurity solution to protect all of your computers and network from unauthorized access, malware, spam, viruses and other forms of cybercrime.
- Will they provide Security Awareness Training for your employees to ensure they don’t fall victim to hackers and phishing emails?
- Will they remotely monitor your network for security threats on a 24/7 basis, block these threats and eliminate them?
- Do they provide vulnerability assessments?
- If you are in healthcare, are they HIPAA compliant themselves? As a business associate, they must be. Will they provide HIPAA or other industry regulatory compliance support?
- What about your mobile devices? Do they provide Mobile Device Management?
With the increase of more sophisticated cyber-attacks today, make sure you’re educated about cyber threats. Your IT company is responsible to ensure that you are armed with the best protection available to safeguard your data and IT infrastructure against cyber-crime.
Ask about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery – and the Cloud
Do they provide a secure cloud-based backup service? How often do they test the disaster recovery plan? Will they perform tests to estimate the recovery time and the impact of potential failure?
Speaking of the Cloud, do they have Cloud Consultants on staff who can help you choose the right solutions for your business? Can they migrate your technology to the Cloud?
Finally, ask them how much everything will cost.
Make sure their IT Service & Support Plans align with your budgetary requirements.
If they won’t customize their services to meet your needs, the story’s not over yet. Keep looking for the reliable IT Support Company that’s right for you.