Are you looking to hire an IT support provider for your business but aren’t sure which provider to choose?
IT support providers offer many benefits. They can increase the security of your business and better train your employees on how to prevent security breaches. The right provider can also help you save money and manage your company’s big data. Additionally, IT service providers are available 24/7, allowing your business to remain constantly vigilant should a problem arise.
When you begin your research for IT support providers, you’ll quickly realize that there are many options to choose from. How do you select the right provider for your business?
Read on to learn how to find the right IT support provider for your business.
Consider Your Current Business Needs
First, you need to consider the current needs of your business. Take into account the complexity of your current systems and the skills needed to manage them.
You also need to factor in your business’s growth. Are you planning to expand your business or hire new employees? Or, maybe you’re opening up new locations soon?
You also want to consider your business’s upcoming projects and whether you need to add redundancy to your critical applications and servers. Once you’ve figured out the needs of your business, it’ll be easier to find an IT support provider that can help with these specific areas.
For example, let’s say you want to enhance your business’s network security. If this is the case, you’ll need to hire a support provider with experience in DNS-based security solutions. Or, let’s say you’re on the hunt for a hosted email solution. In this case, you’ll need a provider with experience administering solutions such as Google G-Suite.
Consider the Contract Length
Another thing you need to take into consideration is the length of the contract the IT service provider offers. In some cases, IT companies try to lock businesses into contracts that are two years long or more.
While this is great for them, it’s not so great for your business. If you’re unhappy with your provider, you should be able to leave them at any time. Ideally, you want to find a provider that offers month-to-month contracts with a cancellation clause between 30 and 60 days.
While most providers are moving toward this model, some only still offer long contracts.
Certifications and Training
You need to hire an IT support provider with experience in the systems you use. A good way to gauge an IT provider’s experience level is through certifications.
Microsoft and many other technology vendors offer certification programs to IT providers and other professionals in the field. However, these certifications are typically issued at an individual level instead of company-wide. Therefore, you’ll need to ask the provider what certification their employees hold.
While this isn’t a complete list, here are some of the most valuable certifications to have in the IT world:
- Microsoft technology associate (MTA)
- Certified information systems auditor (CISA)
- Cisco certified network professional (CCNP)
- Cisco certified network associate (CCNA)
- Cisco certified internetwork expert (CCIE)
- Certified information systems security professional (CISSP)
- Certified data professional (CDP)
- Salesforce certified development lifecycle and deployment
- Certified ethical hacker (CEH)
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
- AWS certified solutions architect
- Global information assurance certification (GIAC)
You should also ask how often they renew them, as many certifications require annual renewal. The provider should also be able to speak to the ongoing training employees receive to keep them up to date on the latest technology.
Ask the provider specifics about their training- Are their employees cross-trained in different systems? Do they set a budget aside for employee training?
While most IT support can be done from a remote location, it’s still wise to hire a provider that’s local. If onsite support issues arise, you’ll get faster service.
For example, let’s say your firewall fails and needs to be replaced. If your IT support provider isn’t nearby, they may need to call up a third-party vendor to help you. Depending on the availability of the vendor, it could take days until someone gets out to your business.
When a provider is headquartered nearby, they’ll be able to dispatch an engineer in a matter of hours, if not minutes.
Being an excellent IT support provider isn’t just about being good with technology. It’s also about being good with communication. Ask the IT support provider how they communicate with clients and how quickly they respond.
In fact, the contract should state clear guaranteed response times- typically referred to as service agreement levels or SLAs. However, note that the SLA usually refers to when the provider will begin addressing the issue, not when the issue will be solved.
If an IT service provider guarantees they can fix an issue in a certain time frame, that’s a red flag.
Technology varies from industry to industry. This is why it’s important to find an IT provider that knows the ins and outs of your industry.
For example, if you work in manufacturing, then you want to search for IT support for manufacturing. The same goes for other industries. Check to see if the provider has ranks or awards in your industry. You should also check to see if they’re trained in your industry’s technologies.
Are You Ready to Hire IT Support?
Now that you’ve read this guide, it’s time for you to begin your search for the right IT support provider. With the right amount of research, you should have no problem finding a provider to suit your business’s needs.
Of course, there’s more work to outsource besides IT services. Check back in with us to learn more about business outsourcing.