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Finding the right IT company for your firm can be a long and tedious process – but once you think you’ve found the right one for you, don’t rush to sign any agreements! Make sure to ask the right questions about what they are agreeing to do for you, so you know all your bases are covered.
Getting the right IT means the difference between just getting by and thriving. We know it can be hard to find the right company to outsource your businesses IT, but we also know it’s not impossible.
Don’t just pick a company off the Internet because they’re the closest one to you. Do your research to find out if they are truly qualified to protect your data and meet your organization’s unique IT needs.
1. Can I Get Someone From Your Company On The Phone When I Call?
Larger IT companies may subcontract a call center to handle their support requests – this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but guaranteeing quality of support and the expertise of the person you’re talking to can be difficult when you’re not actually talking directly to your IT company.
2. Do You Have A Guaranteed Support Response Time?
You should know what to expect in the event that you file a support ticket – will it be addressed the same day? Within an hour? Many IT companies will have some form of Service Level Agreement (SLA) to detail what you should expect in terms of response time.
3. Do You Tell Me What You’re Paying For?
Don’t let yourself get nickel-and-dimed. Get the details of any additional fees and charges put in writing ahead of time. If your IT support is supposed to be all-inclusive, then you shouldn’t be paying a premium for after-hours support, right?
4. Do You Offer RMM Services?
Continuing on from the last question, you’ll want to check about Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) services. These software tools allow IT companies to provide support for issues and manage ongoing maintenance in a non-intrusive manner – perfect for organizations that don’t want IT personnel around their premises.
5. Will I Have A Consistent Point Of Contact?
You need to know whether you’ll get the same person every time you call, or an ever-rotating team of new support technicians. While the latter may be knowledgeable about IT in general, they won’t have the level of familiarity with your organization and support history that can contribute to an optimal support process.
6. Will You Document Update & Patch Management Processes?
Updating software is a fundamental part of IT maintenance and cybersecurity best practices. Your IT company should be handling this on a weekly basis, but they should also be able to speak to how they will avoid imposing downtime on you and your staff while these updates are carried out. All of these processes should be documented and verified so that you can check in whenever you like.
7. Do You Test Backups?
Backups need to be tested on a regular basis – at least weekly, but ideally, daily. If they’re not rested, how can you really trust that they’ll work when a disaster hits?
8. Do You Have A Documented Disaster Recovery Plan?
Is this IT company going to follow a tried and tested plan when the worst occurs? Or just wing it and hope for the best? Ask to see their disaster recovery plan, and have them walk you through it.
9. Is Your Staff Certified?
Find out what types of technical certifications their staff can offer – the more they have, the better, especially if they apply specifically to the software you use at your manufacturing firm.
10. Are You Familiar With The Applications I Use?
As with expertise in the manufacturing industry, your IT company needs to have an understanding of the line of business software you use. Any line of business applications you use need to be properly supported.
11. Will You Work With Our Vendors When Something Goes Wrong?
Having your IT company as a vendor liaison is an extremely valuable service, but not all of them are willing to do it. Some will insist you play the middle-man between them and the support teams for the technology you use, whereas some will take care of it for you. If possible, always go with the latter.
12. Will You Provide Network Documentation?
You need to have your own copy of all the truly important info about your network. This means software licenses, passwords, user access rights, and more. You need to know that, if your IT company were to vanish from the face of Earth without any warning, you could still access your systems (or, easily switch to another IT company without resetting all your systems to default).
As you can see, finding your next IT company may not be as simple as you hoped. However, if you take this process seriously, you may never have to look for managed IT services in NH again.
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