When hiring an I.T. services provider, there are several things you need to consider carefully. These factors will determine if you have found a quality service provider.
SLA’s (Service Level Agreements)
The Service Level Agreement is a document that outlines the specifics of the relationship you want with the I.T. provider you choose. Essentially, it is outlining the “rules of the game.”
For example, how will the service provider respond if your site is down? Will they provide a call within three hours or three days? Everything related to the services you expect to receive should be outlined in the SLA.
The agreement should also define what is considered a critical situation, which requires faster response time, and a non-critical situation. By having these things outlined with your service provider, you can avoid questions and issues in the future.
Before signing anything, make sure you understand what you are buying. Just because a service provider offers backup solutions it doesn’t mean you can trust them blindly.
Instead, you need to find out if they actually test these backups to ensure they are working. If no testing is done, or if it is not conducted regularly, you may lose critical information needed for day-to-day operations.
It’s also important to find out who owns the responsibility for the data or system being backed up. If you use a cloud service provider, who is backing up the cloud, and who is responsible if the information is lost?
Another important consideration is who owns the responsibility for where data lives. Also, how will lost data be restored if something happens? The prevalence of breaches and hacks is higher today than ever before and it’s important to have an I.T. service provider with the right solutions in place to ensure your data can always be restored if issues occur.
All this information needs to be outlined before using an I.T. service provider to ensure your business is protected and that the right backup methods are in place.
Cloud Services: On-Premise Hardware vs. Cloud Hosting
The I.T. service provider you hire should also serve a consultative role. They can provide information and advice regarding when it is time to make a move to the cloud.
For example, most modern businesses have already moved email systems to the cloud (this is a no-brainer). However, do you know when the same migration is needed for your
CRM function or accounting processes? When is it time to move your core business processes to the cloud?
The decision to trade one-time hardware or software spend to a monthly per-user fee is a big one. Your I.T. service provider can help you weigh the pros and cons of this move to ensure you make the right decision for your business.
Security: Business Continuity, Compliance, Training, Antivirus
All businesses, regardless of size or industry, must deal with security issues. Today, everyone is a target.
No longer does a person or organization have to have tech skills to become a hacker. Those with the funds can purchase malware as a service and engage in phishing attacks, cryptolocker attacks, data breaches, and more. These acts that were once limited, now have a wider reach due to them being available as a service.
Because of this, alone, you need to have security on your radar as a top service from the I.T. support company you hire.
In addition to providing the necessary protections, you must also find a service provider that offers ongoing training for employees. This teaches them how to spot a nefarious email that may lead to a network breach.
Finding the Right I.T. Service Provider
A quality I.T. service provider is going to offer you a customized solution based on your business’s specific needs. Instead of just providing the services a business owner thinks they need, the I.T. professional will evaluate the existing processes, assess risks, and take other steps to ensure the solutions offered meet the business’s needs now, and in the future.
If you are ready to seek I.T. services for your business, The Purple Guys can help! Call and set up an appointment for us to come in. Together, we can access your situation and talk about your needs.