IT support companies exist to help small- to mid-sized businesses better implement and use technology. But what services, exactly, do they provide? And is it worth making the investment in your business?
You can check out a local IT support company to learn more about their service packages and pricing plans, but before you do that, there are some things you’ll need to know (and consider).
What Services Do IT Companies Provide?
“Information Technology” (IT) is a broad term, so it’s hard to tell exactly what an IT support company might provide. While companies and providers will differ slightly, these services are typical for an IT provider:
- Computer network setup and support. First, IT providers are there to help you set up your network, including computers and servers. They can get all your hardware configured properly, or provide you with their own hardware, and provide ongoing support for that hardware, maintaining it, updating it, and responding to issues if and when they come up.
- Data storage and transmission. IT providers also assist with data storage, exchange, and transmission. This means different things for different businesses; for some, it means keeping internal business records consistently available and secure. For others, it means managing customer data in a secure and private way.
- Cloud services. Most IT providers also offer support for cloud services. The nature and extent of these services will depend on the provider.
- VoIP systems. VoIP systems are the efficient choice for phone-based communication, but they rely on technological infrastructure—which can be difficult to set up and maintain without an IT professional at the helm.
- Wi-Fi and internet systems. IT support companies will also help you establish a proper internet connection throughout your facilities, and take action if it ever goes down.
- One of the most important services provided by IT companies is cybersecurity—in other words, preventative and responsive measures designed to keep your business protected from hacks, data breaches, and cybercriminals in general.
In relation to these areas, IT companies often provide services in one of two ways. First, they may provide setup, maintenance, or prevention; for example, they may create the tech systems you need to do business, and periodically check them to make sure they’re up-to-date and functioning properly. Second, they may provide immediate help; if something goes wrong, they’ll be immediately available to correct the problem.
So how are you supposed to decide whether you need to hire an IT company? You can start by evaluating your current needs, and asking yourself these important questions:
- How big a role does technology play in your organization? Think about how important technology is for your organization. If you’re like most companies, you rely on an active internet connection and a personal computer for every employee. But do you also rely on reliable data servers and a VoIP system? The more tech you have, the more need you’ll have for an IT firm.
- Do you have a cybersecurity plan? The average data breach in 2019 costs a business $3.92 million. Do you have security measures in place to stop an attack like this from happening to you? Are you thoroughly familiar with cybersecurity best practices at the enterprise level? If not, an IT company is a practical must.
- How often do you struggle with tech-related problems? Do you and your employees spend lots of time trying to troubleshoot tech problems on your own? For example, do you spend hours on the phone with your internet service provider hoping to fix whatever’s wrong with the Wi-Fi? Or are your employees constantly tied up with trying to get their computers to work? An IT provider can help you put these issues to bed.
- How flexible is your budget? You may also need to consider your budget. IT companies can save you money in the long-term, but if you’re faced with an extremely tight budget, you may not have room to hire one currently.
Next, you’ll need to think about your future plans for your business. You may be able to handle all your business’s tech needs right now, but what if you plan to open up a new location next year, and two new locations the year after that? The bigger and more complex your business gets, the greater your need for an IT company is going to be.
Most IT service providers are flexible, offering you only the services you need when you need them, and are willing and able to grow with you as your business expands. Because of this, it’s often advantageous to seek an IT provider early in your business’s development.
So should you hire an IT company? That depends on a number of factors, but most businesses, even at the earliest stages of growth, can benefit from the expertise and preventative tech care an IT support company can provide.