What to Look for in an IT Company

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 had trouble with outages. Perhaps you have finally reached a point where your resident tech expert can’t keep up. Or perhaps you recently suffered a data breach- which, at an average cost of $12,000 per employee, and an average downtime of 59 hours at a cost of 1.1 Million (Varonis and IBC), is a huge loss. Either way, you’ve decided that it’s time to find an IT company to look after your business.

What should you look for in an IT company? An IT company 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.

Read on to learn more!

An IT company should have business-specific experience and business-grade standards.

The trick with looking for an experienced IT company is to look at more than just how long their company has been around. Inquire about the experience of the individual employees, and of the founders and management. How long they’ve been around as a company is important, too, but the type of experience is most important. Make sure the IT company has extensive experiencing providing business-grade solutions.

Technology is a constantly evolving field. Something else to ask about is how the business ensures its employees keep on top of industry best practices. Do they offer tuition reimbursement programs? Do Lunch n’ Learns? Do they encourage their employees to continue learning on their own? You want to be sure to choose an IT company that stays on top of the latest business technologies and best practices in their field.

Another, smaller consideration is industry experience. When selecting an IT company, you want to select one that has experience operating in your field. This is particularly true if your field has compliance requirements.

Finally, another question to consider is whether the IT company has experience supporting your 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 it is worth searching for a company that has specific experience with them.

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. When considering an IT company, review their SLA (Service Level Agreement) and ask them to provide details about their average response times based on existing client information. Try and confirm the information with some of their clients.

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 build a long-term plan

Great IT is more than just fixing problems as they arise. Great IT is about proactively preventing them before they happen. Part of being proactive is putting together a long-term plan that outlines projects for several years to come. After all, no one likes unexpected expenses.

As equipment ages and exceeds 5-years, the amount of support tends to grow exponentially. Make sure the long-term plan includes evergreening, which is the process of proactively scheduling equipment and software replacement. This helps avoid increased support costs and what we refer to as “the big bang”, where everything must be replaced all at once.

Ideally, the long-term plan 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 continue extending the roadmap and ensure everything is still appropriate. Example projects include replacing old PCs and servers, implementing new security best practices, upgrading internet, replacing software, etc. The IT plan should be strategic and support your business goals and challenges.

An IT company should focus on security

The right IT company will focus on security. Every aspect of an IT company’s work should have security considerations. From setting up a firewall to purchasing the right equipment, each individual piece of the plan is important. The plan should be both vetted and deployed with security in mind.

Simply having antivirus and a firewall is no longer sufficient against today’s cyber threats. To truly protect, an IT company must take a much deeper approach. They should help you stay compliant with industry requirements and implement many of the standards outlined in the NIST and CIS benchmark security standards. Security is never “done” and requires constant attention and adoption of emerging best-practices to combat modern threats.

An IT company should be more than just a helpdesk

An MSP shouldn’t be 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 as they arise; however, it may not reduce the number of incidents that happen.

Proactive IT services will not only contain a helpdesk, but also aim to reduce the number of incidents in the first place. Proactive IT services include ongoing maintenance, 24/7 system monitoring, and year-round compliance checks against best practices. This helps ensure that everything is secure and operating as expected.

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 looks to fix the source of the problem, rather than the symptom. IT support that does not address the cause of a problem often costs more in the long term (in downtime, support time, and frustration).

An IT company should deliver on their promises

If an IT company charges for Managed Services like Windows updates, monitoring hardware for failure, watching backups, and completing maintenance … make sure they are performing these services. Some MSPs 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, the cheapest MSP may not be the right choice. Oftentimes when MSPs have reduced rates, proactive services and security take the biggest hit. MSPs 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.

An MSP 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 that your business is not hindered by technology.

Other considerations when choosing an IT company

If all else is equal, there are still a few other things you can consider when choosing an IT company.

  • Are their values equal to or compatible with yours?
  • Would you like working with them?
  • Do they make their clients a priority?
  • How are their reviews?

Choosing the best IT company

In closing, there is a lot to consider when choosing an IT company. An IT company 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.

There are other considerations such as the company’s values, culture fit, client priority, and customer reviews. By taking all of this into consideration, you should have a clear idea of what IT company to choose.

At SIRKit, we make IT easy. We follow industry best practices and excel at proactive IT support. We prefer to identify & rectify potential 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.