Whether they’re protecting you from malware, sorting out a computer bug, or helping you install and upgrade the best software for sales and accounting, your business IT provider helps keep your company running smoothly.
Before hiring a business IT provider, you need to take steps to ensure that they’ll provide you with high-quality service. What are 10 questions to ask your business IT provider?
1) “When you detect an issue, what’s your response?”
Your provider should have a clear plan for what to do both during business hours and outside of them. Hopefully, in addition to sending you an alert or notification, they’ll immediately take steps to address the issue before it causes more widespread problems (and beyond this, they should have a general approach that involves anticipating problems and preventing them). Your provider should also tell you who specifically will receive an alert and who will work on the problem.
2) “How will you monitor and manage my systems?”
Look into the software they use and how they can adapt it to your particular needs. Also, ask if they perform manual checks. Efficient IT support relies on automated systems. However, it’s important for IT professionals to regularly check to make sure that everything is operating as intended.
3) “Are you familiar with the core software my business uses?”
It helps if your provider shows familiarity with the most important software applications your business uses. (And maybe they can offer suggestions for other useful software or alternatives to what you currently rely on.) You can also use this question to start getting a sense of how much they know about your industry more generally and its IT requirements.
4) “How do you plan for a company’s future?”
Businesses change. They grow, they scale back, their structure alters. New technologies emerge that they need to adapt to. You have to get a sense for how your provider plans for future changes.
5) “How many IT professionals do you employ?”
You should make sure they have an IT staff that’s large enough to handle your needs and the needs of their other clients. Make sure they aren’t overextended among too many businesses.
6) “What makes you an IT expert?”
You should look into whether they offer IT services as a primary function of their business, or whether their IT support is merely an add-on to a different core business area.
7) “How do you know if you’re doing a good job?”
A strong IT provider will monitor their own work for ways to improve. They’ll also care about customer feedback and actively solicit it.
8) “What are your fees and what do you base your fees on?”
Make sure they’re upfront about everything you need to pay far. Also, ask specifically about how you pay for various services (for example, whether or not a service is pay-per-usage).
9) “Will I work with someone dedicated to my business?”
Ideally, they’ll assign you an account manager who will connect with you and get to know your business. This is preferable to having to deal with a different individual every time you speak with your IT provider.
10) “What’s your security track record?”
Your IT provider needs to have a sterling record when it comes to keeping customers’ sensitive data secure. Maintaining strong security includes properly vetting their own employees.
In general, you need to look for answers that are specific and thoughtful. Vague replies are a sign that your provider hasn’t clearly thought about how to respond to various issues and difficulties.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about what you should look for in an IT business services provider. The provider you choose should save you time and money and ease some of your concerns about running your business successfully.