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The Important Questions to Ask an IT Service Provider



The Important Questions to Ask an IT Service Provider

IT Service Provider

Information technology is one of the most critical things for a business to get right, and it’s also one of the most challenging. There are a lot of little details you need to handle. Without a background in technology, that’s hard to do.

That’s why managed IT services are so popular. The managed IT market actually reached a value of $239.71 billion in 2021.

Hiring an IT service is an important decision, so you must verify that your IT service provider has the experience to meet your needs. Below are the questions you need to ask when interviewing managed IT services.

What Qualifications Does Your Team Have?

Qualifications mean a lot in the IT world. Anyone can read information online and claim they know how to manage computer issues. It takes another skill to prove your ability by getting the right qualifications for the job.

Ask an IT service provider what qualifications their IT team has. Here are a few popular IT certifications you can get:

  • A+
  • Network+
  • CCNA
  • CEH
  • Security+

Each of these certifications deals with a different aspect of IT, so you’ll need to work with a company that has qualified professionals in the IT field you need. It also pays to work with a company with college-educated professionals since there is so much technical work behind a properly functioning IT infrastructure.

What Services Do You Offer?

While some managed IT service providers offer every service you can imagine, that won’t all be the case. Some companies offer limited services and focus on being great at those.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s something you need to know. You don’t want to hire a company only to discover that they can’t meet all your needs.

Figure out what services your IT company needs and ask your IT options if they can meet those needs. It also pays to figure out if you’ll need any additional services in the future. Finding a company that can scale with your needs means you won’t need to shop around for more support at a later date.

What Are Your Support Hours

Finding a computer company that can meet your support needs is critical. It’s not hard to find a company that works during business hours. However, that’s the bare minimum you need to look for when looking for an IT service provider.

Ideally, you’ll hire a company that offers expanded support hours. Many IT firms employ people to work during all work shifts. With how prevalent remote work and after-hours work is in today’s world, you can’t afford not to have support when something breaks during off-hours.

Do You Have Industry Experience?

The IT infrastructure you need may not be the same one a company needs in another industry. Companies in different industries can have drastically different needs. Some of those needs require specialized experience that every IT company won’t have.

Take a healthcare company, for instance. Data security is serious in this industry. There are sets of laws under HIPAA regulation that govern how you protect and store your data.

Those laws are complex, so you need an IT company that has experience setting up infrastructure in the healthcare industry. Ask your IT options if they have specific industry experience and what’s required to create a robust IT industry for your business.

Are You Experienced With Cybersecurity

Security is a concern for companies globally. Reports show that cybersecurity attacks increased by 50% in 2020. Unfortunately, the number of attacks will not likely decrease in the future.

You need to do everything possible to improve your company’s security. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done when you have a complex IT infrastructure. It takes one slip-up to create a data breach and compromise your company.

Many IT firms offer cybersecurity specialists who can help you create a plan to protect your business from hackers. Ask your IT options if they offer security consulting that will audit your current setup and provide options for making things more secure.

What’s Your Support Request Process?

The way an IT company responds to your support requests matters a lot. You don’t want to send an email and not hear anything for days. You need a straightforward process that gets you in touch with a support representative as quickly as possible.

Some companies will do this by phone. You’ll have a support number and get an immediate response when you call. This capability is excellent if you need immediate help with an emergency.

Other companies go the support ticket route. They have an online portal that allows you to submit a help request. That request gets assigned to a support technician who will get back to you as soon as possible.

Whatever method a company uses, make sure they have a guaranteed response time. You don’t want to wait more than 24 hours to get the help you need.

Do You Specialize With Hardware and Software

There are a lot of options in the IT world. There are countless hardware manufacturers and software vendors. Unfortunately, some of those systems are complex and require unique expertise to learn.

You need to work with an IT provider that knows what systems you use. Catalog your current IT systems to create a list of all the companies you currently work with.

Ask the companies you speak with what their expertise is with systems like yours. In some cases, a company will have a certification from a hardware or software company that says they’re an expert at working with the computer systems you use. Going this route will ensure you hire a company that can handle the job from the moment you hire them and won’t need to spend time learning how to work with your IT infrastructure.

Do You Offer Backup Services?

Data backups are critical in the information world. You rely on information now more than ever to make better business decisions, and the chances are good that you’ll store most of that data on your computer systems.

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and computer hardware fails. Sometimes, your IT infrastructure messes up and causes you to lose your business information.

You need to work with an IT provider with the expertise required to build a reliable backup system. Check with the managed IT services you speak with about how they’ll handle this process.

How Do You Handle Pricing?

Finding an IT company that can meet your budget is critical. Great help costs money, but you don’t want to spend all your company’s budget getting reliable IT support.

That’s why you need to investigate the various pricing models IT companies offer. You can hire an IT company on a retainer if you need regular help and have a larger budget. They’ll provide a fixed amount of support every month for the fee.

Hiring a company hourly may be wiser if you don’t have a large budget and only need sporadic help. You only pay for what you need and won’t have a massive bill since you don’t utilize many services.

Do You Have Testimonials?

You shouldn’t only rely on the word of an IT provider when you interview managed IT providers. Their job is to sell you a service. You won’t hear much about their poor points that may convince you to hire someone else.

You need to hear from previous and current clients to get more information about companies. Ask the companies you speak with to give you references willing to talk with you.

Use your time with previous customers to learn the positives and negatives of working with a company.

Can You Scale Resources?

There will be times when your company experiences unexpected growth. While this is great for revenue and exposure, it can create chaos in your company and strain your IT resources.

The problem is that some IT companies have limited capacity and may not have the extra resources to help during those times. You can’t afford for that to happen.

Ask your IT options how well they can scale. You need a guarantee that you can expand your IT resources if you experience unexpected problems or demand.

Don’t Hire an IT Service Without Asking These Questions

Information technology is something you can’t overlook when you run a business. You need more tools than ever to compete in business, and the right technology can offer precisely what you need.

You need to find an IT service partner that knows how to provide the IT infrastructure your company needs. Ask the questions above during your search to vet a service provider and discover if they can offer the service your business deserves.

Do you want to read more advice that will help you make great business decisions? Learn more about other business topics by reading more posts on the blog.