The IT scene is one of the fastest changing ones today. As ideas and products evolve to address emerging complexities, it becomes more important for business owners to ensure that they are in sync with the latest developments. For most businesses, IT requirements involve the following must-have features:
- Ensuring you are updated with the latest in IT developments
- Ensuring your business is equipped to meet your clients’ needs and requirements
- Ensuring your data and that of your clients stays secure
- Ensuring that you are well-equipped to manage any critical problems/outages efficiently and without affecting business continuity
For a smaller business, maintaining a robust IT department can prove to be expensive and thus not a viable option. As a means of reducing expenses, businesses often resort to outsourcing some parts of their IT needs or calling on experts for help only when required. None of these options are truly reliable. Depending on the number of times you require help, these options also do not provide much value for the money.
How to choose the correct provider?
Choosing the correct IT provider can improve your business productivity by increasing the efficiency of operations and systems. Also, depending on the functions and requirements of your business, the right IT provider can help you better manage your business with the immediate resources that they have at their disposal.
Here are some suggestions that can help you select the right IT provider for your business:
- Check how long they have been in the business
Inquire about the number of years of experience they have. When providing managed IT services, the service provider works as an extension of your IT department. When you work with a more experienced provider, you acquire more hands-on expertise. It is more likely that your provider has additional staff who understand your business’ requirements.
- How strong are they at customization?
Customization is key when it comes to small businesses and start-ups. How strong a service provider is at customization will determine how they will analyze your problem and determine a solution for it. For example, you may not need a particular security module or feature because its scope is not applicable to your business needs. A provider experienced in your industry can help better identify specific solutions, as well as business insights, tailored to your company.
- What kind of support is provided?
The support provided should depend on your business requirements. Furthermore, your provider should be able to meet your SLA objectives, if those are established. Apart from the technical support provided, how do they meet your communication needs and how comfortable are you with that? Would you like in-depth reporting or would you prefer a summary-level report? Do your needs include a weekly or a monthly reporting schedule? These and similar questions can help you determine the level of support the provider can give your business.
- What security measures are in place?
Security is probably the number one concern of most businesses. Security needs to encompass both your own data as well as that of your clients’. In addition, any security issues you face or may potentially face also ideally need to be pre-empted and covered by your provider. This delivers peace of mind for you to carry on your business and allows you to concentrate on business growth, as opposed to worrying about system security.
- What are the back-up solutions provided?
Back-up is the best insurance for business continuity in the face of a critical problem. Business continuity may be impacted by relatively minor data loss or entire pockets of data becoming affected due to an unforeseen event. In either case, recovery of the data is important. Back-up solutions should help you continue business operations when you encounter any problems that resulted in the data loss. You should also be able to recover your data such that it allows business to continue uninterrupted. These two functions combined help ensure an all-around back-up.