Running A Thriving Business When So Many Fail

What Goes Into Choosing An IT Provider?

There are very few businesses running nowadays that don’t have some manner of IT setup, it seems. Sure, the home business that runs off of one PC and one printer might not have much need for a professional to help them with their digital technology, but when you start expanding to have multiple terminals, networks, and digitally connected technology such as VoIP phones and Cloud software, then you need to start making sure that you’re doing it efficiently, effectively and securely.

The IT provider is the professional that most of us are going to rely on for just that purpose. However, there are plenty of them out there. How do you determine who exactly you’re going to work with? Here are a few criteria to consider when making your choice.

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How quickly do they get back to you?

You want to make sure that your IT provider is on the ball. When you’re having some kind of IT emergency, you might not be able to wait for hours. Feel free to ask them directly how long they take to respond to their clients and pay close attention to how long they take to respond to your initial queries about their business. Also, do they offer emergency services at all hours or do they strictly operate within business hours?

What are you looking for?

You have to keep in mind your actual aims for hiring an IT provider. If you’re looking for just repair and troubleshooting purposes, then there are plenty of providers for that. When you’re looking for an advisor to help set up and optimize your existing IT scope, then you have to be a bit more specific. The larger your scope, the more likely you are to need more than just a fix.

See if they have experience in your industry

You might think that the service that IT providers offer to businesses and how they offer them would be pretty uniform across the board. However, the truth is that they can differ largely depending on the industry and the kind of work that they do. For instance, an accountancy IT provider might offer things like data and document management services specific to the sensitive kind of financial data that an accountancy firm has to be careful in protecting and managing carefully. See if your choice of IT provider has experience in your industry and how they can use that to offer more specific kinds of service.

Can you get to know their team and culture?

It’s not all about the services, either. You want to be able to know about the company itself so that it’s never just an anonymous service on the other end of a screen or phone line. To that end, make sure that you have the opportunity to get to know every team member who is going to be working directly with you. Ask them questions, even basic ones, to see how they respond, whether it’s with positivity or with condescension. Give them feedback early to see if they’re receptive to it. You need to go with your gut, sometimes. If a relationship feels wrong, be willing to act on it.

Are there specific technologies that you want to use?

You might want to look even more specifically at your needs. Perhaps you want IT help because there are technologies that you think you could benefit from. You might be a freelancer looking to make use of Cloud technology or have an office setup that you want to put on a network, or perhaps you’re specifically looking into securing your devices. When you are looking at IT providers, ensure that you look into the specific services that they offer. Many of them will have technologies that they specialize in.

Do you stay in control?

There’s no reason to distrust the vast majority of IT providers, of course, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave yourself unnecessarily vulnerable, either. Ensure that your provider gives you control of access over all of your systems, software, hardware, and networks. You don’t want complete control over any aspect of the business to be entirely in the hands of another. There have been stories of bad actors holding admin passwords and other access controls until they are paid specific fees. You should always be the only one with the sole right to change the admin password for any IT tools.

Your IT provider will be a constant partner for as long as you’re working with them, so it’s important to make your choice with care. Spend your money wisely and take the time to think about your needs before you make your choice.