When it is time for your business to hire an IT service provider, don’t jump in headfirst without doing your due diligence first. There are several qualities you need to consider when finding the right service provider for your needs.
For example, is the company in a position to help with a crisis? Do they have the knowledgeable staff needed to handle the problems a business of your size may encounter? Are they outsourcing some of the services to another company or provider?
These are essential questions that must be answered before you choose an IT service provider.
Finding the Right Service Provider
When you begin searching for an IT service provider, you need to find legitimate companies that have good reviews. It’s easy for a company to claim they have a 24-hour help desk with 15 employees on the phones, but how do you know this is true?
Before hiring a company, be sure to stop by the physical location (if possible). If the location is a house, the claim of 15 employees is typically not true. You should take any steps you can to validate the claims made by an IT support company (and any service provider) you plan to hire.
In addition to validating the location, ask for references. While the company is probably only going to provide clients that will give positive reviews, you can do your own research on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms. You can even speak with the company’s office manager to get their view on the quality and reliability of the IT service provider in question.
Once you have narrowed down your options to the top three service providers, it’s a good idea to take a close look at the services offered. While certifications matter, they aren’t deciding factors.
Chances are that the services offered by a company will sound very similar. However, consider this scenario:
It’s time to purchase a new PC. The cost of the equipment is $1,000. If you have an all-inclusive service provider that charges a set, monthly rate, all you pay is the cost of the equipment and the installation and integration with your network is included in the fee you already pay.
However, there are some companies that charge a flat fee for monitoring and management, but charge additional fees for projects, such as PC integration into your network. With this company, you have the $1,000 charge for the equipment and another $500 charge to set it up, connect it to your network to make it functional.
In a situation where everything else is equal with the companies, the one that provides all-inclusive prices and no additional project fees will likely be the best option. It’s important to consider each service from each provider and find out where additional charges may apply.
Finding a Credible Service Provider
While there is nothing wrong with a startup IT service provider, the problem is, they don’t have any proof that they can provide the protection and qualities your business needs. You have to consider if you are willing to put your business in the hands of a company with no proof that their processes work.
A credible business is one that is established or that has “been there, done that.” Even if they only have a few years of experience, this is enough time to see proof of their processes and if their services have been beneficial to other businesses. This level of credibility provides peace of mind that you are putting your business in the hands of a company that can handle its needs.
Ask About Insurance
A professional company will have professional liability coverage. Stand alone individuals and smaller startups may skip having insurance to save on operational costs. A specific type of insurance that all companies should carry is Cyber Liability Insurance. In today’s world, Cyber crime is a reality for every business. Having coverage, specifically for IT focused businesses, is a must. The answer to what insurance they have in place will tell you a lot about the maturity of the company.
Finding a Reputable IT Service Provider: A Checklist of Must-Have Qualities
When you are ready to choose a IT service provider, use the following checklist of must-have qualities to ensure the right company is found.
- Account manager
- Who will be your go to contact for questions, advice and escalations? Skill set, experience and availability
- Help desk
- How many people are available? Hours of operations. Response time guarantees
- How many? Areas of expertise.
- On-time support
- What SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are in writing?
- Data backup
- How is it backed up and where is it stored.
- Cloud services
- What do they offer, resell and support
- Your data will be in their hands. Do they use 2 factor for all access? Do they offer training?
- Innovative tools
- Are they staying current?
- Remote and On-site support
- Do they offer both remote and when needed, on-site support.
- Proactive maintenance
- How do they keep you current with patches, updates, antivirus and monitoring?
- 24/7 monitoring
- Are they watching your systems 24/7
If you are ready to seek IT 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.