Choosing an IT Support Company for Your Business
In today’s digital age, information technology is fundamental. And if you are a modern business owner, you have a basic understanding of having a reliable IT support company on your side.
Certain tech innovations have most likely extended into your own business and industry. Solely focusing on isolated business processes and strategies is no longer the norm.
Today, if you want your business to succeed, you must have an effective IT strategy in place for future and long-term improvement.
Engaging with a professional IT support company could result in numerous benefits for your business.
Simply put, an IT company offers yours with expert guidance on anything IT-related that your business needs for its day-to-day functions.
In today’s post, let’s take a closer look at what an IT company offers, how you can benefit from their services, where to find reliable IT contractors, and what questions to ask so you can hire the best in the field.
What Is an IT Support Company?
As an IT managed services provider, an IT support company consists of professional IT contractors in its core team.
These specialists provide businesses with professional guidance, direction, and support on several IT applications that companies need.
These IT applications range from general computer uses to troubleshooting issues to internet connectivity and electronic hardware and software installations.
IT specialists are knowledgeable about the following areas:
- General computer applications
- Different types of cloud platforms
- Electronic hardware setup
- Device networking and connectivity setup
- Software applications
IT support is a highly specialized technical field. Each member of an IT support company has their own unique set of IT skills and specific areas of expertise.
Therefore, a reliable IT support company is composed of a large selection of IT specialists.
With all their knowledge and expertise pooled, a good IT company can attend to a wide array of business owners’ IT demands and requirements.
On-call IT technicians provide first level support. This assistance could either be by email, phone, or in person. There are many more services that an IT company offers. Read on to learn more.
Types of IT Services
Managed IT Service
This type of IT service can be further subdivided into a variety of specific services. Generally, managed IT service providers support businesses continuously at a regular, agreed-upon rate.
This type of arrangement is typically less expensive for businesses over time. The main benefit of this type of deal is businesses can prevent costlier IT issues from forming since they already have the ongoing assistance of an IT company in the first place.
Small business owners looking to get their preliminary network up and running hire IT support companies for this service. However, many IT companies offer this valuable component as part of an IT service package that proves to be more beneficial for business owners in the long run.
Unlike managed IT services, where businesses pay a regular monthly or yearly fee to the IT company, on-demand IT offers IT services when needed. The services are still the same – you just pay for the individual services on demand.
Cybersecurity is a top concern for any type of business – no matter what industry they are in. One of the most popular services that IT support companies provide is evaluating and responding to potential IT threats. Network security services is typically already part of a managed IT service package.
Modern business owners need a database. This is where they can have an electronic system of collecting, storing and monitoring all their business data. An IT support package will typically include database management, which also entails proper security and performance compliance.
This IT service usually coincides with database management. IT companies provide a platform or service for safe and secure storage for all their clients’ business data. This service entails either a cloud platform or an on-location storage option for backups or extra data storage.
This IT service is also usually combined with an IT security offering – especially for businesses that handle proprietary or sensitive data and assets.
This service includes a dedicated cloud network or platform for your business.
IT companies usually offer a software application delivered to their clients over a reliable cloud platform that they charge a membership or subscription fee for access.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Service
This is an online IT service that allows businesses to communicate via voice calls. This service is typically included as part of the overall managed IT service package.
Some IT companies offer computer repair as either a standalone service or part of an IT package. This service requires in-person meetings with clients to repair their computers. Thus, the target clientele for this type of IT business is within the local community or the IT support company’s reach.
What to Look for in an IT Support Company
No Long-Term Work Project Contracts
Unfortunately, some IT companies would resort to questionable tactics to get the clients’ money. This is in the form of locking customers into long-term contracts.
A professional and transparent IT support company would not make it hard for a client to leave or update the contracts’ terms if they are unsatisfied with the services.
If you are a business owner, find an IT company that offers month-month contracts and preferably with a leave clause of one to two months.
Fortunately, more and more newer IT companies are moving towards this arrangement.
Proactive Business Management
A good IT model entails a proactive approach when it comes to meeting the clients’ IT needs. This includes monitoring the clients’ IT network for issues or outages to prevent future problems.
Moreover, a proactive approach goes beyond monitoring and anticipating any issues.
The IT support company you hire should be familiar with your environment, business, and industry.
This ensures that they can give you expert recommendations on what tools, software, and applications to use to increase productivity and reduce downtime.
A professional IT company will regularly confer with their clients to discuss important business-related goals. From there, they should be able to create an IT plan to achieve those goals.
Experience and Continuous Training
Experience matters in the IT industry. It’s not a good sign if the company you hire is clueless about the processes you need and is learning on your time.
Before you employ the services of an IT support company, check the certifications they hold. These certifications are usually given to individual IT contractors.
Thus, ask a potential IT company what certification programs their employees have.
You should also remember to check how often these certifications are renewed. Information technology is an ever-changing industry. As the digital age advances, so does the IT tools, software, and processes we use.
Therefore, IT specialists need to acquire continuous education. This helps them stay updated with the latest news and trends in their industry.
Ask what training and education an IT company provides for their employees. Professional companies typically have a budget dedicated for employee training and education.
Proficiency in Data Security
Securing valuable business data and assets is a fundamental aspect of running a company. Thus, you need to hire a company with high proficiency in data security.
This is especially true if you are in a regulated industry such as healthcare, telecommunications, oil and gas, financial services, trading, electrical power and transmission, and more.
An IT company must have a comprehensive understanding of your industry and help you stay compliant with strict regulations within your trade.
Guaranteed Response Times
Say you’ve already found an IT support company and you’re about to sign a contract with them. As you read your project agreement, make sure it is clearly specified what guaranteed response times you are getting.
Guaranteed response times, also referred to as SLAs (service level agreement), are typically outlined in the work contract. This should also include what ensues if the IT company doesn’t meet the response time requirement.
Moreover, SLAs commonly refer to when the IT provider addresses your issue. Most clients think it’s when the specific issue will be fixed.
Questions to Ask IT Providers
Who are your typical clients?
This question is to let you know whether the IT provider is familiar in your industry. If you are in the healthcare industry and the IT company you are looking to hire tends to work with oil and gas companies, you may have to look for a different IT provider.
Who is going to be responsible for my business?
This question lets you know whether you will be liaising with a single point of contact or multiple IT specialists.
Having two or three IT specialists to look after your account is entirely normal. However, if you have to get with multiple specialists just have to have someone deal with your query, then that’s a red flag.
Also, you need a dedicated IT professional who is familiar with your company’s IT structure.
How much do your services cost?
No two businesses are alike, even those in the same industry. An honest and transparent IT support company can only give you an estimate of their services once they know everything they need to know about your IT demands, business goals, and other pertinent information about your day-to-day operations.
When you’re given the cost of their IT services, don’t hesitate to ask for a quick breakdown of the expenses. This is especially helpful if you want to compare the quotes you get from different IT support companies.