10 questions to ask when looking for an IT support company
So you’ve found an IT support company and the contract is about to be signed – but wait, have you done your due diligence? Do you know the ins and outs of the company? Do you know your technicians by name?
A quick search online will turn up hundreds if not thousands of managed IT companies. While you’ll have no trouble finding an IT support service, finding the right service for the needs of you and your business can be a little more difficult.
Before signing your business up to an IT support company, do your due diligence. It’s important to make sure you’ve thoroughly examined and weighed up your options.
How big is your IT support service?
IT support companies can vary considerably in size. It’s important that your chosen service is compatible with the needs of you and your business. Larger companies have the ability to offer more solutions and services. They also tend to boast a bigger team which often boasts a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
However, the larger the company, the more impersonal you may find the service. It’s important to find a company whose team listens to your needs. Your IT management service should be tailored to you. Smaller IT support services may have less manpower but tend to form stronger bonds within their own company. If your business is fairly large then a similarly large IT support service may be for you. Smaller businesses may be better suited to a local service. A smaller, local service can often provide a more personal level of customer of service.
What services do you offer?
Your IT support company should offer a range of different services and solutions. They should also be able to deliver a personalised package tailored to your needs. Your services will depend on the size of your business and what it requires. Watch out for companies trying to oversell their services to you.
Managing your own information and data may seem simple enough. The reality is storing your digital assets is a lot more complicated than it seems.
There are many benefits to outsourcing your data management to a professional IT support company. Data management can increase operational efficiency, and ease tension and stress in your workforce. IT support companies will also store your data and back it up. This is in case of an emergency or disaster which threatens your network.
It may sound foreboding, but disaster recovery is absolutely crucial in preserving business continuity. Disaster recovery is the process in which you regain control over your network and digital infrastructure following a disruption. This disruption can range from cyber-attacks and internet connectivity issues to natural disasters and adverse weather conditions.
Say there was a flash flood right now that took out your digital infrastructure. How would you regain that data and information? Do you have a backup? An IT support company evaluates your network and plans for any unforeseen events that could threaten your business continuity. By analysing your system your IT support company should be able to plan for recovery. They will also make recommendations based on your current operations.
These days it doesn’t matter how small or large your business or organisation is – everyone is a target. Unfortunately, smaller businesses often fall victim to cyber-attacks because their system doesn’t have adequate security in place to protect itself from data breaches.
Safeguarding your business data and information should be a top priority for any business or organisation. Cyber security can be as simple as training your staff to distinguish a genuine email from phishing, and as complex as installing a functioning firewall.
A professional IT support company can evaluate and analyse the ‘weak’ points in your digital fence and develop a plan that will plug those gaps and strengthen your network security.
Does your IT support company offer different levels of support?
Most IT support companies offer different levels of service to suit your personal budget and needs. These levels of support include pay-as-you-go, break-fix and fully managed service support.
If you’re looking for short-term IT support, then pay-as-you-go is for you. Pay-as-you-go usually entails an hourly rate or fixed price and is available when you require extra support.
Break-fit support is available when you need it. Like pay-as-you-go, you may be charged hourly or you may have to pay in advance. However, unlike pay-as-you-go, break-fix usually involves a fixed-price contract – like an insurance policy, your IT support service will help you pick up the pieces after a disaster or crash. However, there will be no preventative measures in place.
Managed service support
Managed service support is where an IT support service fully manages your digital assets and infrastructure, which actively reduces the chance of something going wrong. You receive up-to-date software, functioning and a disaster recovery plan, as well as assistance with internet connectivity and the cloud. Managed service support ensures business continuity and usually involves an annual contract.
Do your contracts tie me in for a specific period?
Most IT Support companies expect contracts with a minimum commitment and a notice period for cancellation. It’s important both you and your chosen company know what to expect from each other, so be sure to read your contract thoroughly.
What are your response times?
Although a ‘guaranteed’ response time won’t necessarily mean your IT service provider is at your beck and call, your chosen company should offer a reasonable response. If you have an issue with your digital infrastructure or internet connectivity that poses a threat to your business continuity then your chosen IT support company should be coming to your aid as soon as possible – after all, that’s what you’re paying them for!
Will we get a dedicated account manager?
Having one point of contact with the IT company has many benefits. You can build a strong relationship with the representative who in turn will get to know your business through and through, including your goals and aspirations. By getting to know you and your business, your account manager can ensure your managed IT service accommodates any future plans you and your own team may have. Expect one or two contacts you can deal with directly.
When I phone my IT support company, will I speak directly to a technician who can help?
Make sure you ask who will help you in the event of a crisis. Large IT support companies often use call centres as their first point of contact, which can be manned by undertrained representatives with little to no technical knowledge nor any knowledge of your business.
Say you’re having internet connectivity issues – there is nothing more frustrating than being passed around a call centre from person to person as your business continuity and profits suffer.
Ideally, your IT service provider will offer direct support from one of their talented technicians, who can either access your network remotely or offer onsite support.
How can we log support calls with you?
Make sure your IT support company has a dedicated phone line you can go through when you have an issue or an enquiry. Employing a digital caretaker you can’t get a hold of is infuriating, not to mention destabilising for your business continuity and your staff. An online form or email address doesn’t hurt either.
Your IT support company should be available on call during working hours, from Monday to Friday.
Can we only call when we have a problem?
As previously mentioned, it is important both you and your IT service provider come to an understanding about the level of support they will deliver. Can you call your service when you’re not in a crisis? Who can you contact if your staff need assistance with Microsoft Office? Tech can be tricky, and ensuring your staff are up-to-date and know their way around your network can be a huge help in easing tension off your team and increasing productivity.
Any additional assistance your IT support can offer is worth knowing about and makes the investment into managed IT support even more of a viable option.
Do you provide remote management and monitoring?
Depending on your contract, your IT service may be able to provide you with both onsite and remote support, with some even offering 24/7 monitoring and surveillance. Preventing an issue before it escalates is obviously a priority for the security and continuity of your business or organisation, so employing a service that actively cares for your network and digital infrastructure 24 hours a day 7 days a week is ideal.
Remote management also reduces travel costs and can transform time-consuming issues into a series of quick, easily managed tasks.
Other questions to ask your IT support company
What makes you unique?
This question will be difficult for any service provider but any business you’re hiring should take pride in their work and organisation. You’re looking for a dedicated, close-knit team of technicians and engineers who boast a wealth of expertise and knowledge but watch out for cliché answers about value for money and quality of service.
How and when will I be charged?
How you will be charged will all depend on the contract you choose. Expect to pay in advance – support contracts tend to be paid monthly, quarterly or annually depending on the service you require.
Do you supply the hardware as well as support?
The point of outsourcing the management of your tech to an IT support company is having a single point of contact for any issues that may arise. So, when it comes to replacing your digital infrastructure, you may feel more comfortable knowing the team who recommended, supplied and installed it are also supporting it through both onsite and remote servicing. It’s also consoling knowing your support company will be able to find any replacement parts for your hardware if needed.
What do you support in your contract?
Does your company claim to “support it all”? It’s important for you and your team to read your contract thoroughly and work out what your IT support service will or will not cover. Most IT support companies cover charges for travel time, labour during a specified hardware and software fix and other onsite visits. However, there may be additional charges for custom software. It also pays to double-check the charges involved with devices connected to your network, such as printers, scanners and mobiles.
Do you have testimonials and case studies I can read?
Before you sign your contract, make sure to verify your company with other businesses and organisations. While a quick search on the internet will bring up plenty of testimonials you can scroll through, online reviews can be easily manipulated. It’s important you do your due diligence and ask your company directly for case studies and testimonials.
It may even pay to contact other businesses who’ve worked with them. Phoning directly will ensure the testimonial is not manipulated in any way, and you can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Managing your IT support with Acronyms IT Support
Choosing an IT support company doesn’t have to be a hassle. Acronyms IT Support was founded in 2003 after Dave Smith, our Managing Director and founder, decided he was fed up with overselling and unnecessary jargon in the IT industry. Our team of experienced IT technicians and engineers work tirelessly to ensure we’re delivering the right solutions to our clients, from disaster recovery plans and cybersecurity to internet connectivity issues and technical enquiries about the cloud. We can bring continuity to your business or organisation with experienced technicians and up-to-date digital infrastructure.
If you have any questions or are ready for your initial consultation, then please contact us today.