Unique business needs require unique solutions. That’s certainly true when searching for a company to provide IT support. Some companies, especially larger ones, often look to establish their own in-house IT team. If that’s a solution you’re considering for your business, check out this resource on the benefits of in-house vs. outsourcing.That option, however, is not for everyone, especially many small and medium-sized companies. Such businesses often opt for outsourcing, as this is more likely to provide a higher level of cost-efficiency and expertise to manage everything from cybersecurity and reliable internet connectivity to compliance issues and data loss prevention. But, choosing the right IT company can feel intimidating. If you don’t have an in-depth grasp of IT yourself, it may be hard to know what to look for or what questions to ask. That’s why we put together this handy checklist, helping you better understand what to look for when hiring an IT company.
Questions to Ask a Provider: How does your company’s experience apply to my business’s current and future needs? Also, what various skills does your team offer my business? One of the most foundational factors offering insight into an IT company is if they have the expertise that allows them to handle all types of unique situations. This helps them to understand how your business operates, so they can create solutions that are tailored to your needs instead of a “one-size-fits-all” approach.Another factor to consider are the relevant skill sets that a potential provider brings to the table. Hiring a company composed of multiple team members provides collaboration and a broader range of experience from which to draw, giving your business even more resources on hand.
Question to Ask a Provider: How do you approach the process of client communication? (When asking this question, be mindful if the potential provider explains not just how they will communicate their needs, but also if they describe the process of listening to yours.) This leads us to the next consideration on the checklist -- communication -- which is less about IT and more about quality business practices. First, as with any service you outsource, a provider should inquire about and listen carefully to descriptions of your needs. Then, that provider should clearly communicate its proposed strategies to assist your business and unambiguously relay tactical details, such as project deliverables, costs, and timelines.
Questions to Ask a Provider: How do you stay up on emerging developments in IT? And how do you assess if they would apply to a business such as mine? Part of what you’re looking for in an IT company is its foresight and ability to stay on top of emerging trends – whether that’s new tools that can help your business, or emerging threats that could do harm to you and your customers. That said, an IT provider should do more than just fix any problems that come along. The company also needs to keep an eye out over the horizon and communicate trends to you and how you should prepare for them.
Part of what you’re looking for in an IT company is its foresight and ability to stay on top of emerging trends – whether that’s new tools that can help your business, or emerging threats that could do harm to you and your customers. The company needs to keep an eye out over the horizon and communicate trends to you and how you should prepare for them.
An IT provider should do more than just fix any problems that come along. In addition to watching changes in the industry, they should be paying attention to your technology and helping you plan to replace parts of it as they reach the end of their life. While surprises are bound to happen they should be infrequent with proper planning.
Questions to Ask a Provider: Do you offer cyber-defense training to employees of clients? Educating your employees about potential cyber threats is one of the most impactful ways to protect your business. While you and your staff may not always know what to keep an eye out for, again, your IT company should. However, not all providers are equipped for this type of training. Companies willing to train you and your employees on, for instance, what common phishing attacks look like are going above and beyond to protect your business.
Questions to Ask a Provider: If I do an online search about your company, what will I find? First, representatives of IT companies should know much of what has been said about their services, especially online. They should also know and encourage you to check out online reviews, maybe even provide you with contact info for customer references.Still, consider all such reviews and referrals with a touch of skepticism. Not that they’re all incredible, but good reviews can be done by shills, while unfavorable assessments could be the product of less-than-honorable reasons. However, all taken together, such reviews can give an indication of the strengths and weaknesses of a given provider. One further note: Customer reviews on a company’s website may only show positive feedback, but online sources, such as Google and the Better Business Bureau, typically don’t allow businesses to delete negative reviews.
While this list may not be everything your business needs to consider when choosing your IT support specialist, it’s a primer to help you pick a business partner that’s right for you. If you’d like to put this list to good use, give us a call! We’re happy to answer all of your questions, AND we’ll throw in a free consultation. Contact us today!