Many small- to mid-sized businesses turn to the help of an IT support company for all their IT-related needs. But your choice in IT providers matters. The right IT support company can protect you against all manners of external threats, improve your internal efficiency, and help you add new capabilities to your core business model. But the wrong IT support company could make everything worse.
What should you look for when hiring an IT company?
Important Factors for IT Support
These are some of the most important factors to consider when hiring an IT support company:
- Experience and reviews. How long has this IT support company been in business? How many clients do they currently have, and how many have they served in the past? While new IT support companies may be perfectly capable of providing you with the services you need, you can usually put more trust in institutions that have been around for a long time. This is also a good time to check out online reviews and testimonials; what do their previous clients have to say about them?
- Industry expertise. It’s worth considering whether this IT support company has expertise in a specific industry, or with a specific type of business. You can likely benefit from IT support services designed generally, but it may be even more valuable to find a business that offers a perfect fit.
- Leadership and philosophy. Consider the leadership of this company, and the philosophies and values at its core. For example, it’s typically much better to proactively pursue cybersecurity measures, rather than only reacting to attacks once they become a problem; does this IT support company take a proactive approach? Try to find a good fit with your own company values and leadership.
- Team size/scalability. What is the size of this team, and does this company have access to additional resources? Big companies aren’t always better, but you should be sure that your IT support company can scale with your business for the foreseeable future. Will this company be able to continue supporting you as you grow?
- Services offered. Obviously, you’ll need to think about the range of services offered by this IT support company. Most IT companies offer assistance in the form of consulting, making recommendations, installing and servicing technology, practicing preventative maintenance, and implementing cybersecurity measures, as well as other services. Does this provider meet all your needs?
- Availability. Ideally, you’ll find an IT support company capable of providing you with 24/7 support. While your office may only work 9 to 5, security threats and technology issues can happen at any time—and you’ll want to find someone who can monitor and respond to these issues no matter when they happen.
- Plan flexibility. It may not be enough that your IT support company offers all the services you need. Does this company offer those services in a package that fits your business? The right company will be able to offer you a custom plan that fits your needs perfectly.
- Communication. Next, consider how easy it is to communicate with this company. Can you reach someone quickly when you’re in need of assistance? Do they communicate with you proactively, clearly, and concisely? Will you have a designated account representative you can reach at any time? Don’t underestimate the value of communication here.
- Costs. The right IT support company should be able to save your business money in the long run, but you still have to consider the costs of their services. This is especially important because different IT consulting firms may offer very different costs for the same suite of services. Compare different IT support company pricing schedules apples to apples, and try to figure out the best deal for your needs.
- Costs of alternatives. Of course, you’ll also need to estimate the cost of the alternatives—at least, hypothetically. Many businesses look for an IT support company because they aren’t ready or aren’t interested in hiring an in-house team of people to handle their technology needs. But what would it cost to make those hires? And what could it cost your business if you proceed without any additional technology support?
Starting Your Search
If you’re not sure where to start looking for IT support companies, start by searching in your area. While it’s completely feasible to enlist the IT services of a remote firm, you may feel more comfortable working with a local partner. You can also ask for recommendations from people you trust—especially if they’re in the same industry. From there, you can do your due diligence and ensure you find the best IT support partner for your needs.