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Almost every business looks for ways to address vital IT needs without adding to its overhead costs. Hiring an IT services company can help accomplish both goals. The IT service company can handle any aspect of your technological infrastructure—cloud computing, networks, data storage and backup, communication, security, disaster recovery, mobility, end-user support, and more, to deliver innovative, secure, and flexible technology solutions tailored to your business needs.
Unfortunately, finding the right IT services company for your needs can be a challenging task, and you often don’t know if you’ve made a wrong choice until after you’ve signed a contract and your business is on the line. Before retaining an IT service company, you need to perform your due diligence to ensure you are working with the proper IT partner who has the right experience, credentials, processes, expertise, and services to effectively protect and manage your network.
Here are 7 questions to ask your potential IT service company to narrow down the playing field and find an IT partner that will meet your business’s needs.
1. Are They Local?
Although only a tiny fraction of IT tasks cannot be performed remotely, it’s still essential to verify that your potential IT services company can provide on-site support when necessary. In the off-chance you need on-site technical support, your IT services provider should have a solution in play to bring that support to you. This could include a local office in your vicinity or a network of IT pros in your region the IT services company can dispatch to you in short order.
The benefit of having your IT services provider just down the road or on-call with the ability to be on-site within an hour is that when emergencies or unexpected issues do occur, having a resource on-site to work closely with your team can ensure that any outages or technical issues are resolved within the shortest time possible, minimizing potential disruption to your business.
Local IT service companies can also provide you with personalized service. When you work with a local service provider, they will take as much time as necessary to learn about your organization and your needs and create a plan specific to your objectives for the near and distant future. You also have the opportunity to get to know the staff and develop relationships with them throughout the life of your contract. Doing so makes the partnership all the more meaningful and valuable to your organization.
2. Is your IT Services Company’s help desk in-house, or do you have to call or email a third party they contract with?
Running into technical hiccups, such as unexpected downtime, application errors, or security threats, is understandable, but what counts is how quickly your IT services company can resolve those issues to keep your business running and offer uninterrupted customer service. Not only does your IT provider need to be available 24/7, but they also need to quickly respond to your needs and problems and perform the necessary fixes promptly.
Find out whether the company handles all aspects of their services in-house or if they outsource. Ensure that your IT service company doesn’t forward calls to a third party they contract with but has an in-house help desk team that is constantly staffed, ready to respond, and solve your problem within the shortest possible time. You should also ask the following questions:
3. Do They Have Cybersecurity Experts on Hand?
The right IT service company should prioritize cybersecurity, and as such, must have a team of highly trained and experienced cybersecurity experts on staff. This will secure your IT infrastructure from many computer security threats, such as viruses, malware, and hackers, among many others.
The best way to determine if your potential IT services company has cybersecurity experts is to demand security certifications. These include Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), SANS GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), CompTIA Security+, and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
Apart from inquiring whether they have cybersecurity experts on staff, you should also ask the following questions:
4. Do They Offer Cybersecurity Training?
Your employees play an immense role in maintaining the security of your IT system. Because 90% of corporate data breaches result from employees falling victim to social engineering, your IT services company must have the expertise to train them in cybersecurity awareness. Without the proper training to recognize what may be an attempt at phishing or any other form of cyberattack, your company’s IT security could be compromised with the click of a button.
An IT service provider can run phishing simulations to help employees identify a threat when they see one. Their score on the simulation can demonstrate how your employees are prepared to identify real threats.
5. Are They Planning on Selling?
The market for IT services companies is growing, and new providers are coming up weekly. You want to make sure that the company you’re signing an agreement with is safe, reliable, and ready to take on your company’s needs. You want to select an IT service company who will be around as long as your company (hopefully forever).
To have a proven track record of longevity is one of the most vital signs of continued performance and stability. You can determine an IT service company’s longevity by searching for press releases, asking for financial statements, or checking with references. Look at the company’s leadership. Where have they worked? What projects have they done before? Find out as much as you can about the company itself before you sign on the dotted line.
6. Is The Monitoring and Management Of Your Network Done By Your IT Services Company Or Someone They Contract With?
The right IT services company should offer around-the-clock monitoring and management of your IT infrastructure, including workstations, servers, network devices, firewalls, routers, and switches at all locations, so they can spot and prevent problems before a crisis causes downtime, data loss or other disruptions.
However, some IT service companies outsource this vital role to third-party vendors they contract, which can leave your business vulnerable to attacks. So be sure to confirm that your preferred IT company handles your company’s network monitoring and management in-house.
7. Are They a One-Stop-Shop?
Juggling multiple vendors can create a complicated IT environment, integration issues, and compatibility difficulties. A single source of operations provides for more effective management of functions and systems. The right IT company should be a one-stop-shop for all your IT and network security needs. It should have a full array of IT services ranging from network security, IT support, CIO services, cloud services, and managed services.
While the process of evaluating a potential IT company to work with requires both time and effort, it’s well worth the effort. Finding the right IT services company to meet your company’s unique technology needs will make a significant difference—from lowering IT costs to saving critical downtime and allowing you to focus on more strategic business priorities.
At 0neSource Technology, we provide a full range of IT services designed to promote the growth and success of your Wichita business. Our proactive services can help you cut costs, mitigate risks, stay secure, reduce downtime, and give you peace of mind knowing IT issues are proactively prevented through 24/7 monitoring and regular maintenance.
We are your trusted local Wichita IT company, and our IT experts are available to provide on-site support. If you’re considering partnering with an IT services company or looking to change your current service provider, contact us today and let us show you why we are the perfect fit for your business.