Deciding on a managed services provider can be difficult.
Here’s how to pick the best IT company for your business.
So, you’re searching for an IT company – specifically, a managed services provider.
Perhaps you’ve struggled with downtime. Perhaps you have outgrown your existing tech expert. Or perhaps you recently suffered a data breach- which, at an average downtime of 59 hours and a cost of 1.1 Million (Varonis and IBC), is a huge loss. Either way, you’ve decided it’s time to find an IT company to look after your technology.
We’ve put together several recommendations to help you find the best.
An IT company should have business-specific experience and business-grade standards.
The trick with looking for an experienced IT company is to look beyond longevity. Inquire about the specific experience of the individual employees, founders, and management. The type of experience is most important. Make sure the IT company has extensive experience providing business-grade solutions.
Technology is constantly evolving. Inquire how their employees keep on top of industry best practices. Do they offer tuition reimbursement programs? Do they host regular Lunch n’ Learns? Do they encourage their employees to continue learning on their own? You want to choose an IT company that stays on top of the latest business technologies and best-practices.
Another, consideration is industry specific experience. You may find the best support comes from those with experience operating in your field, especially if there are regulatory requirements.
Finally, consider whether the IT company has experience supporting your unique systems, such as PoS (Point-of-Sale), medical equipment, or other components of your technology stack. If not, consider the complexity of your tools and whether they truly require specific expertise.
An IT company should have fast service
No one has time to wait around for tech support, especially if the issue is critical. If you suffer a breach or server outage, every minute counts.
Before signing, review their SLA (Service Level Agreement) and request information about their average response times for the last 3-months. Try and confirm the information with at least 2 client references.
Another important consideration is the length of time that it takes to solve a problem (resolution time). Is the problem normally fixed the first time? Does the IT company commit to resolving common issues within a reasonable timeframe? While it’s common for IT companies be busy, it’s important that they have the necessary resources to ensure quick and efficient resolution of your issues.
It’s a good idea to pick an IT company that aims to resolve 70% of incident tickets every day.
An IT company should help you build a long-term plan
Great IT partners focus on proactively preventing issues before they happen. Part of being proactive is maintained a long-term multi-year roadmap that outlines projects for several years to come. After all, no one likes unexpected expenses.
As equipment and software exceed 5-years, the amount of support tends to grow exponentially. The roadmap should cover the next 2-3 years and include all projects, estimated costs, and the tentative schedule. It should be revisited quarterly with your IT company to extend the roadmap and check on progress.
Example projects include replacing old PCs and servers, implementing new security best-practices, upgrading internet, replacing software, etc. The roadmap should be strategic, support your business goals, and eliminate business challenges.
An IT company must focus on security
The right IT company will bake security into everything they do. From setting up a firewall to purchasing the right equipment, everything matters.
Having an antivirus and a firewall is no longer sufficient protection against today’s cyber threats. The size of your business doesn’t matter, the lowest hanging fruit is often the first to be hit. IT companies should protect you by implementing many of the NIST and CIS security standards.
Security is never “done” and requires constant attention and adoption of emerging best-practices to defend against modern threats.
An IT company should be more than just a helpdesk
Helpdesks deal with incidents as they arise and are an important part of IT services. However, helpdesks are for reactive IT support. A helpdesk-only IT service will help you solve incidents, however, it likely won’t reduce the number of incidents that happen.
You need an IT company that offers Proactive IT services to reduce the number of incidents in the first place. Proactive IT services include ongoing maintenance, 24/7 system monitoring, year-round compliance checks against best practices, and the roadmap we mentioned earlier. This helps ensure that everything is secure and operating as expected.
Proactive IT is often provided by Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
An IT company should look for the right solution to a problem
Some companies tend to focus on quick fixes rather than correcting the underlying issue. It’s important to choose an IT company that genuinely targets the source of the problem, rather than the symptom. Quick fixes ultimately cost more (downtime, support time, and frustration).
An IT company should deliver on their promises
If they commit to Managed Services like Windows updates, monitoring hardware for failure, watching backups, and completing maintenance … make sure they do it. Some companies bundle services and do not perform them on-schedule or at all. Revisit your agreement every year and ask them to produce reports.
The cheapest IT company isn’t always the answer
Though it’s tempting to go with the cheapest option, be cautious. You get what you pay for. IT companies should be focused on reducing the number of support calls by using a proactive process. A higher volume of support calls is never a good sign, technical issues impact employee performance, revenue, and the bottom line.
IT companies with an effective proactive process will cost more, but the company will ensure your systems are optimal, your team is happy, surprises are rare, and your business is not hindered by technology. There is often a lot of value.
Other considerations when choosing an IT company
If all else is equal:
- Do their values align with yours?
- Do their personalities scream “we care”?
- Do they publish regular valuable content online?
- Are they in a rush to get you to sign?
- Do they give back to the community?
- How are their reviews?
Choosing the best
In closing, there is a lot to consider but your next IT partner should:
- Have business-specific experience and business-grade standards.
- Have fast service.
- Focus on security.
- Be more than just a helpdesk.
- Look for the right solution to a problem.
- Deliver on their promises.
- Have great reviews
At SIRKit, we make IT easy. We follow industry best practices and excel at proactive IT support. We prefer to identify & resolve issues immediately rather than letting things get worse. As a managed service provider, we guarantee that our IT solutions are effective. If they’re not, we’ll make it right. IT services should be as amazing as your business. You can count on us to go the extra mile and deliver a uniquely refreshing experience. We want to be the last IT partner you ever have. Reach out to us today for a no-obligation quote.