- 27th June 2021
- Posted by: Mark Dodds
- Category: Security
Admit it – you couldn’t really give two hoots about the latest tech news, software updates, or cybercrime statistics.
That’s fair; you’ve got a job to do and the last thing you need is to concern yourself with the intricacies of the tools you rely on each day to just work.
Thankfully, if you pick the right IT support company, you won’t need to invest time in that stuff, because they’ll be doing it for you. Your clients hire you because of your expertise, and in turn you hire your IT company because of their expertise.
Everyone’s a winner.
However, the IT support industry is unregulated, and that presents some challenges for businesses like yours. There are no guidelines on how these companies should operate, and that means anyone can set themselves up as an IT support company.
Scary thought, right?
This is why you need to be highly sceptical of them all and ask the following questions.
”So, how long will it take you to fix an IT problem?”
The answer to this question will always depend on the scale of the problem, but a timeframe should certainly be forthcoming.
There’s a good reason for this: their experience should enable them to give you an idea of how long you might be without your system. More importantly, this question will reveal how they approach such issues and whether they’ve done it before.
Do they have processes they immediately turn to for the specific IT problems you’re experiencing? Or do you get the feeling they’re going to wing it? Remember – you’re assessing their suitability based on how they respond to a problem; not the problem itself. Their response will instantly tell you everything you need to know about their knowledge and professionalism.
”How can you help us reduce IT interruptions?”
There’s nothing worse than your internet connection suddenly disappearing or a device not waking up from sleep.
Downtime is a thing – it happens, but it shouldn’t be a business killer, and you should certainly be able to plan through it with the help of your IT support company.
That makes this a vital question. How will they work proactively to both reduce interruptions and pre-empt them? Their answer should reveal that they’ll be busy working away in the background, ensuring all checks are undertaken to ensure future instances of downtime don’t arise.
More importantly, they should confirm that big updates and maintenance periods will take place outside of your working hours – whenever they happen to be.
”Who will be looking after us?”
Your IT company shouldn’t be a team of faceless individuals. You have every right to expect to be assigned one point of contact (or a small team, if you’re a larger organisation).
It’s also reasonable to expect an introduction to this person to get a feel for how you can work together and whether or not they’re a good fit for your business.
Dig a little deeper. Ask if they have account managers with expertise in specific areas of IT. If they do, it’s vitally important you’re assigned someone who’s an expert in the stuff that matters to your business.
IT support isn’t just about skill and experience – it’s about personalities, too. So, make sure you’ll have the right one to work with.
”Explain something deeply technical”
This should be an easy one for them. The idea is for the person opposite you to explain a complex IT issue in terms you can understand.
This doesn’t mean dumbing it down to the point of it being needlessly simple and irrelevant – you still need to walk away from the conversation with a new understanding about something vitally important.
If they struggle with this and resort to endless acronyms and tech speak, then they might not be for you (could you really put up with that for the length of the contract?).
”How will you keep up with us?”
This might sound a bit arrogant, but it’s a very important question. Your business is evolving and growing all of the time, and you need an IT partner who can match that pace.
There’s nothing wrong with one-man-band bedroom IT support, but that person potentially won’t be able to keep up with you as your business grows. And what happens when they go away or are off sick?
Ask how they can keep up with innovations and changes in your business. What if you bring in more staff, require more tools or decide to move to larger premises? Can they follow suit and continue to support you as closely as possible?
More importantly, can they ensure your business remains safe from cybercrime? The bigger you get and the more complex your business becomes, the higher a target you’ll be for cybercriminals. Some smaller businesses don’t have the resources to keep up to date with this hugely important topic – and that could cost you in terms of time, money, and reputation.