As a small business owner or manager, you may not have time to become an expert at all of the technical details of running your company’s computer network. Fortunately, there are ways to find tech-savvy professionals who can keep your computers and network operating smoothly without requiring too much of your attention.
Here are some good things to look for when you are hiring or contracting with an IT services firm.
1. Functional Capabilities
When looking for help in managing your company’s computer network, it is important to make sure that whomever you hire will be able to handle all of your company’s needs. Some IT firms specialize in certain types of work like web design or server maintenance while others are more general. If you only need help with a few issues, it might be best to hire a firm that focuses on that area rather than one that may not have enough resources for your needs or experience in the specific areas of technology you require.
2. Key Contacts
It is important to have access to a team of experts at your IT company, not just one person. Find out who you would be working with if you hired them by asking for client references and talking with the technicians before making a decision.
Whether you need help setting it up or someone to monitor your network to find issues before they become serious problems, it is important to make sure your IT company can meet your needs. If something goes wrong in the middle of the night, will you be able to sleep if it’s not fixed right away? It is important that companies offering IT services can handle problems quickly when they arise.
Do you need someone local for on-site assistance? If you have a global network that is managed from multiple locations, you will need a firm that can work around the clock. Make sure your IT services company has experience working with small businesses and the specific challenges they face.
5. Industry Specific Knowledge
If your business is only in the beginning stages, you may not have a very large IT budget to work with. In this case, you will need someone who can help keep costs as low as possible. Find out if an IT services company offers free estimates and transparent pricing before hiring them so that there are no surprises later on that could put your company at risk.
6. Networking Knowledge
Your IT services firm should be able to give you the information you need about the systems they are responsible for, including how it all works together, without presenting too much technical jargon that would make it difficult for you to understand what they’re saying. While most modern networks are highly complex, you don’t need to understand every little detail in order to manage your company’s IT network successfully.
7. Technology Upgrades
If you are looking for new computers or servers, is your IT services firm able to help? How about software? You should ask if they offer assistance with purchasing and installing the latest updates and upgrades in order to protect your business and create a better user experience.
8. Customer Service
No matter how good the services you receive from an IT company are, if you can’t get someone on the phone when there is a problem it may not be worth continuing the relationship. Choose an IT company that gives you multiple ways to contact them and responds quickly to your requests for help.