Selecting the right IT Support Firm for Your Business

In All by Mike Abbott

Are you in the market for an IT support firm? Maybe your business has experienced an event where technical difficulties had a significant impact on its ability to operate efficiently. Perhaps your business is large enough that you have an IT support specialist on staff, but that person is having difficulty effectively providing technical support at the scale required by your growing business. Regardless of why you are taking a look at businesses that provide IT support services, we want to provide you with the tools and knowledge to select one that will be able to effectively meet your needs.

So where should a business begin their search for IT support services? Referrals can be a great way to source quality IT support but even with a referral, it is important to research whether or not the business or individual to whom you have been referred will be able to meet your needs effectively. If you are referred to an individual who provides it support, for example, it is worth considering that there may be a situation where you need assistance immediately but your IT support person is on vacation or preoccupied with a project for another business that is consuming the majority of their time and energy. Another important consideration is whether or not the individual or business you are thinking about hiring has experience working with businesses that are similar to yours or are at least in the same industry. If they have, this is a good indicator that they will be a good match for your business. This is especially important when it comes to things like encryption for communications between law firms and their clients, or HIPAA compliance for businesses in the medical industry.

It is a good idea to make a list of your business’s goals and needs for IT support and ask questions during the hiring process to ensure that the candidate being considered will be able to meet them effectively. If, for example, your business has recently acquired several pieces of expensive equipment from a particular vendor it would behoove you to determine whether or not the support firm you are considering is familiar with and able to provide service for that equipment. You may even be able to log on to the website of the company that produces this equipment and procure a list of businesses that service that particular brand. One consideration here is that your business may not be utilizing the best available set of technology solutions and it may be worth hearing out arguments to that point. If one of the businesses you are considering as a potential provider of IT support makes this case, get a second opinion to ensure their recommendation is a good one. This is a great way to ensure that your business has the equipment it needs without spending money on pricey technology that it doesn’t.

We don’t want to belabor the point, so we have provided the following 5 guidelines to help you in your quest to source quality IT support:

1) Local support is superior to remote support. Businesses with technicians and system administrators on staff are superior to those who outsource their IT support because they are more likely to be well-qualified and make it to your site to provide service more quickly.

2) Make sure the firm you are considering has a proactive approach to IT support where they monitor your system, apply updates and security patches without being asked to do so and have a system in place that alerts them when your technology is having problems so they can begin finding a solution before you even discover that there is a problem.

3) Look for businesses that look beyond your immediate needs. A good IT support firm should assist you in developing a multi-year plan for your IT support so that you are able to plan for it expenditures and budget appropriately for them so that your network and IT infrastructure are kept up to date.

4) Make sure they are well qualified – ask about the certifications of their technical support staff. Take a look at the technology that your business uses – ask specific questions about how it should be managed to get a sense of how familiar they are with particular software applications and hardware components.

5) Don’t let anyone intimidate you by throwing a bunch of jargon your way and speaking in acronyms. A good IT support company will make an effort to convey the information they are expressing in a user-friendly way that you will be able to understand.