A Guide to Choosing the Best IT Support Service
It’s never been more important in this day and age for both large and small-scale businesses alike to employ the assistance of an IT support service.
Businesses and organisations alike have always needed to be dynamic and forward-thinking. However, as the digital landscape has evolved and changed, it has become increasingly challenging to stay ahead of competitors. This situation has been further exacerbated by our reliance on digital assets and infrastructure to get us through the working day. Technology has many benefits for businesses. However, without continued maintenance by an experienced digital caretaker, your day-to-day operations may be at risk of data loss or extended downtime.
If you’ve already considered IT support for your business, then you will already be aware of the importance of finding the right company. Before signing any contract, it’s crucial you do your due diligence. Perhaps most pertinent, you need to ensure you’ve found an IT support company that aligns with the needs of your organisation.
What is an IT support service?
To hire an IT support service is to outsource the management and maintenance of your tech to a company that is external to your own business. Providing both remote and in-house support, a professional IT management company will actively manage your digital assets and infrastructure and in doing so, can ensure your system remains secure and functioning as it should.
Perhaps most pertinent, outsourcing the management of your tech to a proactive IT service cements business continuity within your day-to-day operations.
A reactive vs proactive IT support service
There are two common types of services most professional IT support companies will offer. These two services are known as reactive/break-fix and proactive solutions.
Reactive support is seen as a traditional kind of IT service. Also known as break-fix support, a reactive service will resolve issues as they occur. A reactive service involves little planning, and although the upfront costs are often less than proactive support, break-fix solutions often lead to extended downtime.
In contrast, proactive support is grounded in strategy and planning. A proactive IT company will actively manage a business’ digital assets and infrastructure and resolve issues before they escalate. Essentially, proactive services have an emphasis on growth and productivity. If your business needs an IT company that will support and grow with your company, and nurture that growth, then proactive solutions are for you.
How do I choose the best IT support service for my business?
A quick peek into the results of your favourite search engine will reveal hundreds if not thousands of IT support companies local to your business. However, actually picking a service that suits you and your business is a little trickier.
A good question to ask would be, what is the IT company’s experience with certain operating systems. If your business has Apple computers for example, then there is little point in employing the assistance of a company that specialises in Microsoft systems. Most tech companies are universal with plenty of experience in all systems, but it’s still worth asking. This is especially pertinent if your business has custom applications and specialised software. If your chosen company can’t support your infrastructure and digital assets, their lack of experience will cause issues further down the line.
The IT needs of every individual business will differ naturally, so it is imperative that your IT service aligns with the values and goals of your own company.
As with any service, you will need to look for experience. Although it may be tempting to opt for a brand-new, up and coming company in your local area, for something as important as tech management you will need to look for a well-established business with plenty of experience and expertise under their belt.
You might even like to look for an IT company that has experience specifically in your industry. Many IT services will have specialisations in specific industries such as insurance or healthcare. It’s important to watch out for companies who claim to “do it all” as they may not have as much of an understanding of your unique industry as another company that know and understand what you do inside and out.
It may be tempting to opt for a large-scale London-based IT company and receive remote support. However, that would make little sense if your business was located all the way up in Northern Scotland or at the furthest end of the South West coastline. Regardless of whether or not your think you need in-house support, it’s of paramount importance that your IT support company is local to you and your business.
It is possible for your IT service to access your digital infrastructure and assets remotely. However, in many scenarios, you might actually need technicians and engineers on site. This includes installations and network setups, training for your own staff and of course, troubleshooting and potential issues that can disrupt your day-to-day operations. In these situations, employing the assistance of a local IT company has a huge advantage.
Reliability and response times
No matter how amazing your IT support company is, you will experience an issue with your technology at some point. It’s a natural part of introducing technology into your day-to-day operations, and with the right IT support company, a solution should be easily found and implemented.
It goes without saying, your chosen company should be both reliable and responsive. Before you sign that contract, it’s important to ask plenty of questions to fully gauge just how quickly your IT service will be able to respond in the event of downtime. How fast do they typically respond when problems occur? Will the issue be resolved quickly once it’s known to you? How long will it take for the issue to be resolved if you require onsite support? Although the responsiveness of an IT company will differ dependent on the issue, there is nothing worse than finding out it takes 24 hours for your provider to respond in the event of an emergency. To avoid this, always ask as many questions as possible. If they are defensive, then their reaction and response should be telling enough.
Size and levels of service
The IT service you and your business require will vary from other companies. You don’t want to be paying for services you don’t require or use. It’s important to watch out for overselling within the IT industry. Make sure you employ a company that will tailor its services to the needs of your business.
It’s also important to consider the size of your business in comparison to your IT support. Do they have the means to support you and your team? How many engineers and technicians do they have readily available to assist you, and perhaps most pertinent, will they be able to scale up to meet your needs as your business grows?
Most IT services will also have multiple levels of services, with reactive (break-fix) and proactive services being the most common. It’s important to make sure the level you choose will support your business without having to pay extra for services you might not need. Within those levels, a number of different solutions will be available. A professional managed IT company will be able to tailor those solutions to the needs of you and your business.
IT consultancy is essentially a service that involves assisting a business with the planning, designing and installation of technology systems. Whether you’re relocating, opening another office or are simply updating your technology, an IT management company can guide you through the process, offer advice and provide valuable insight into the best way to meet your business objectives. By recommending the best solutions, an IT support service can save your business time and money.
IT consultancy can also be brought in as a one-off solution rather than signing a year’s contract with your company. If you already have an in-house tech department, a managed IT service can increase the scope of your existing team.
An IT company will also be able to assist your business with cloud-centric technology. Ideal for streamlining operations and boosting productivity, cloud-centric technology such as Microsoft Cloud Services will enable your team to work both remotely and simultaneously as well as share their work easily with other staff. Data and information will also be kept in the cloud securely under the watchful eye of your support company.
These days businesses are increasingly reliant on technology in their day-to-day operations. In fact, your network connection may be the most important asset within your digital infrastructure. A reliable and stable internet connection is crucial in maintaining business continuity.
An experienced IT support company will be able to analyse the needs of your business. From there, they should be able to set up your internet plan accordingly. If internet connectivity is crucial in minimising downtime at your company, then you will definitely not want to cut corners. Employing the assistance of a proactive IT company will ensure a strategy is in place to ensure business continuity. Any potential issues will also be resolved before escalating further and minimising future disruptions.
Other questions to ask your managed IT company
The IT industry is a wide-ranging field with a number of services and companies readily available to businesses in need. If you think you may have found the right company for you and your business, be sure to do your due diligence and ask plenty of questions.
Do you have a dedicated account manager?
There’s nothing worse than speaking with someone different every time you contact your tech support. If you’re working with an IT support company and building a relationship with them, then it’s important that they have a representative at their company you can approach. This person should know the goals and values of your business through and through, as well as your setup.
How much will it cost?
Before signing your contract, make sure you double-check there are no hidden costs or fees. IT support is often billed monthly, and a reputable IT support company will be upfront about how much they will be charging you.
Do they offer 24/7 support?
Does your business operate outside of normal business hours? Then you are going to want to check that you can get 24/7 support from your managed IT company. Although this kind of support may incur a higher cost, it may be a necessary service for your business.
Does your IT support company offer an audit?
Are proactive solutions important to you and your business? Then it’s crucial your IT support company offers an initial audit. Your IT support will need to know your digital assets and infrastructure thoroughly. This includes evaluating your setup and its current state. By doing so, your managed IT support will be able to resolve any issues before they escalate, and strategise accordingly.
Do you have any reviews I can read?
Although searching for your company online and reading reviews is an option, nothing beats a review from a real client. Talking in person or over email is the best possible testimony you could receive. It can also reveal to you the reality of what it’s really like working with your IT support company. A company with happy customers and clients should be comfortable with you contacting those clients and discussing their experiences.
It’s equally important to watch for an IT company’s reaction when asking this question. If your company gets defensive, then you might like to investigate further before signing anything.
IT Support Services at Acronyms
It is senseless to invest in the latest technology without hiring a digital caretaker to manage and maintain it. From increased productivity to happier employees, your business can also stand to gain from hiring an IT support company.
Acronyms IT Support has been delivering a range of services to businesses across the South West since 2003. Specialising in cost-effective, hassle-free IT solutions, we deliver some of the very best IT solutions the region has to offer.
If you have any questions about IT support or are ready to book your initial consultation, please contact the team today.