9 Critical Aspects That Will Help Evaluate an IT Support Services Provider
In the age of technology, numerous IT support service providers exist out there. But, not all are capable of bringing you the benefits and outcomes you may be looking for.
A business’s IT infrastructure is crucial to its functioning, especially in modern times. It is, therefore, imperative that the IT company you work with has expertise and experience in proactively protecting and managing business networks.
Mentioned ahead are a few important aspects that you should consider when picking a potential managed IT services provider.
- Experience and Reputation
It makes sense to find out for how long the IT company you’re considering tying up with has been in the business and whether or not they’re good at what they do. You can do this by simply visiting their website and checking for case studies, client testimonials, and reviews. You can also get information on the year of establishment, their services and protocols, and technology vendors. You will do well to also browse through online communities and review forums dedicated to providers of IT services and network security. See if the IT company of your choice finds favorable mentions there. If you have family or friends in the IT industry or who have worked with an IT company, ask them for recommendations.
- Service Terms and Conditions
Every managed IT service provider offers services based on an SLA or a service-level agreement, which mentions the details of the level of services and other guarantees you can expect from them. These include everything, from the delivery process, areas of maintenance, and monitoring and reporting to the performance standards and the response time to your requests. The agreement will also include what would happen if the IT company fails to fulfil the guarantees issued to you. You can also negotiate with them to tailor their services according to the specific needs of your business. This should also be mentioned in the SLA.
- Accessibility and Response Time
Downtime can cost companies dearly. Malfunctioning, underperforming, and flawed systems can delay operations; so it is crucial that you have them up and running as soon as possible. This is why your IT service provider should be accessible and respond promptly to your location 24/7. Your provider should be able to facilitate continuous availability so that your business’ productivity remains unhampered even when on-site maintenance is in order. You should ask the IT company you are considering about how long it will take for them to respond to your requests and to get a professional to your office. The idea is to choose a provider who can support your strategic objectives and deliver demonstrative value.
- IT Budget Planning
This is an important factor when evaluating a potential IT services provider. A good provider will drive value into your technology-backed projects by giving you a clear picture of the maintenance costs along with estimates for future technology-related expenses. In any case, you will do well to go with an IT company that will help you optimize your expenditure to increase your ROI while delivering within your budget.
- Third-Party Vendor ManagementHealthy vendor associations are a strategic asset. Most managed IT services providers work with multiple hardware, software, and services vendors, which can make managing each one difficult, but it isn’t impossible. It is important that your potential IT company is well-connected with reputed vendors and is able to manage them successfully.
- Security Testing and Monitoring
With advancing technology, new security protocols emerge frequently. At the same time, hackers misuse technology to find new vulnerabilities and develop advanced malware as well as methods of attack. It will be the job of your IT company to track the emerging cyber threats all over the world while monitoring your networks 24/7. IT support service providers should be able to provide you with an authorized and well-documented cybersecurity plan that meets your business’ unique needs. You should enquire about the physical and network security protocols they will employ to protect your sensitive data. Check if they plan to implement penetration tests to ensure the strength of their measures. In order to mitigate internal threats, the IT company should be able to train your employees in security awareness. They should also have clear and practicable measures in place for recovering data, in case of a disaster.
- Disaster Recovery and Backups
Continuous uptime doesn’t just happen but is planned for. To this end, every business requires a customized disaster recovery plan for each of its locations and the assets therein. A managed IT services provider has the responsibility of alleviating several daily maintenance jobs that can eat into the time of an in-house IT professional. In fact, a provider may do a more thorough job by performing them on a daily basis. Before hiring one, find out how frequently they perform backups and their expertise in data recovery.
- Transitioning to the Cloud
Harnessing the cloud makes perfect sense if you want to strengthen your cybersecurity while accessing your data conveniently from any location at any time. Most IT companies offer cloud migration and transition services to enable cloud adoption for their clients. This service is immensely beneficial to online businesses and those that are set up across geographies or the ones with multiple websites. At the same time, your IT support service provider should be able to scale their cloud services to adjust to the increasing demand as your business grows.
- Ongoing Maintenance and Support
Prevention is better than cure. The IT company you partner with should be able to anticipate and address future problems before they arise and disrupt your operations. They should also be available round the clock to perform necessary fixes, should your IT system throw up an issue. Find out if they will be able to assign a dedicated account manager or support manager as a point of contact during emergencies. In case of unexpected downtime, your IT services company should be prepared with backups and redundancies to enable clients to resume their services as soon as possible. The potential provider should be willing to offer help desk support with remote access so that you and your employees always get the required answers promptly.
The ultimate goal of every business, regardless of its size, is to develop and earn profits. Achieving this goal requires managers and employees to use their skills and execute several tasks every day. Some of these functions are better off being performed by the experts. IT is one such function. Working with the right IT company will help you save time and money, and transform your business into a growth catalyst. However, not every managed IT services provider will be able to deliver the level of strategic support your business needs. The above factors will help you evaluate your prospective IT support service provider so you can receive quality IT services to take your business forward.