Choosing a computer support company is no easy task. With so many options out there, it can be quite difficult to know which provider is the right fit for your companies’ budget and specific requirements. Many businesses make the mistake of being ‘sold’ on a solution because of the price, but find out later down the road they aren’t getting quite what they expected. We’ve written this guide to help you choose the right IT provider for your business.
When evaluating IT providers, you will be primarily looking for five prerequisites: suitability, support, services, credibility, and reliability.
Finding the right IT provider is imperative for the success of your business. You wouldn’t hire someone that doesn’t fit your company culture, so don’t do it for an outsourced IT provider. Find a company that can handle your needs, communicate effectively, does not talk down to your staff and provides quality service at a price suitable for your business needs.
An office visit can also be a great time to ask them WHY you should choose them over one of their competitors. If they can’t answer why then generally you shouldn’t choose them. Also, make sure they don’t just say they have great employees and great service blah blah blah. Make sure they can claim things that are truly different about them and make sure they have guarantees and testimonials to back it up.
Lastly, Avoid ‘techie’ talk or jargon. Many IT providers will talk extremely technical and not take their time to fully explain what they’re doing and why. Make sure they take the time to fully explain their solution to you in a way that you can actually understand.
Receiving a quick response from your provider is essential for running a successful business. Confirm that the support responsiveness is guaranteed and that you’ll be working with technicians – not voicemails.
When calling support, you want to make sure most of the time someone is actually answering the phones. There is no bigger stress than having to leave a voicemail and anxiously await a return call when you have no idea when to expect one. To test this out, call their helpdesk and see if you get through to a real person or voicemail. If you get their voicemail, time the response to call you back. Furthermore, confirm they have a guaranteed response time to your support requests. You will want to have confidence in the fact that your problem is being looked after in a timely manner.
This can sometimes include after-hours technical support. Ask how they handle network issues that happen after hours. Make sure they have employees on call who can answer your calls or even come on site if needed.
Remember, many IT providers will claim to have great customer service. Make sure they back it up with a guaranteed response time and after hour support.
Lastly, a good IT provider will meet with you once per quarter to go over the health of your IT systems, suggest other technologies you should be aware of, talk about issues and what was done to resolve them, ask about any forecasted changes for the next quarter, and invite your feedback on the service you have been receiving. These are commonly known as quarterly business reviews.
Many IT Providers will offer diverse services. Although these ranges of services are quite important, knowing the specifics on how these services will benefit you is truly essential.
For starters, a good IT provider will give you a free network assessment before even showing you a price. They install software on your server and take a look around, then provide you with recommended actions. This is a great way for you to sample their services, as well as knowing what they will be offering you, before committing to anything.
Having a backup and disaster recovery plan is vital. Make sure they recommend both an onsite AND offsite backup system. Also, find out how often they test your backups. How often do they do a full test restore of your data? Do they back up your data before performing any type of project or upgrade? All these questions should be addressed when picking your IT provider.
Once these topics have been covered it’s recommended that hardware be discussed. Is it provided? Is it readily available? Find out if hardware is kept in stock. This will really come in handy if you ever need a laptop, desktop, server, switch, or firewall ASAP rather than waiting a day or two.
After discussing all the core services offered, see if there are other, non IT services that can be beneficial to your organization. Many IT providers possess other technologies that you may not even think of like telephone systems, surveillance, website development, etc.
Your IT provider will be managing some of your most sensitive information and operations. When choosing a provider, focus on credibility, experience, reputation, and training.
It is quite important to ask the IT provider about how long they’ve been in business. New IT companies will generally not have documented processes and your support will be slower. They will also have less experience managing networks so some of your issues they may not have seen before. Experienced providers should also have highly trained technicians. Ask the provider what training their technicians have available to them. You want to make sure their technicians are staying up to date on new technologies that you could potentially be using.
Many MSP’s will offer SLA’s (service level agreements) with varying metrics. When reviewing these agreements make sure that all of the verbal promises that have been are actually included in the written agreement.
In closing, verify your potential provider guarantees projects will be completed on time and budget. A company may be the most experienced and have the best employees, but they lose respect quickly when they can’t stay within budget or deliver on time. Make sure they stand by their guarantees
So you have now aligned yourself with a credible IT provider that seems to offer the support and services your company requires, but are they going to be reliable? Quickly confirming a few key offerings can verify this.
Will they monitor your network 24/7/365? Your company is constantly on the go and your services should be too. Around the clock monitoring ensures your provider stays on top of potential network issues. This allows the provider to solve problems before you even know they’re a problem. However, if things do go terribly wrong, you should confirm your provider carries errors and omissions insurance.
Lastly, Security is undoubtedly a major concern of yours. Your IT provider and their employees have access to your network, passwords, and confidential information. The IT Provider could have past or disgruntled employees that could pose a threat to the integrity of your credentials. Ask the provider how they protect access from former employees and make sure you walk away with peace of mind. Also, ensure they have Cyber Liability Insurance to protect your business.
Choosing an IT provider is not a decision you want to take lightly. Make sure you know they are the best fit for your business before signing on the dotted line.
If You’re Considering A New IT Provider, Download Our FREE Guide To Find Out What You Should Expect To Pay For Computer Support In New Jersey and New York: