KEY Questions To Ask Before Hiring Any IT Company
Essentially, you’re able to focus on your business while leaving your technology to the experts. But if you’re leaning towards outsourcing, it’s important to prepare yourself with the right questions in mind to avoid getting locked into a contract that doesn’t work for you.
Gone are the days of a growing, successful company managing their own technology. In the past decade or so, there have been way too many advancements in the realm of business technology – many of them powered by improved software development tools and the reliability of data centers around the world. There is simply too much going on within the average company’s infrastructure to manage and maintain technology on your own. But if you’re not properly taking care of your technology, you’re unable to shift and adapt to the rapidly evolving marketplace.
That’s where hiring an IT company comes in. You get access to an entire team of trained technology professionals who are able to handle every aspect of your infrastructure, including the following:
- Monitoring your network around-the-clock to detect and resolve vulnerabilities
- Applying regular updates and patches to keep hardware/software operating properly
- Securing your network and devices against sophisticated forms of cybercrime
- Keeping your data and applications backed up and recoverable when necessary
- Offering strategic guidance to help you leverage technology to meet objectives
- Providing support (remote or onsite) when employees have problems/questions
Essentially, you’re able to focus on your business while leaving your technology to the experts. But if you’re leaning towards outsourcing, it’s important to prepare yourself with the right questions in mind to avoid getting locked into a contract that doesn’t work for you. We’ve compiled a list of the top 8 questions to ask any IT company you’re considering.
Does The IT Company Have Great References?
Any good IT company will have a few references you can talk to before you make your choice. Although you don’t have to call or email the references given to you, it’ll give you confidence knowing there are people out there that speak highly of them. Naturally, we recommend speaking with the references and asking a few questions:
- Do they deliver what they initially told you they would?
- How responsive are they when you need assistance?
- Do they charge you more than you expected or agreed on?
- Would you go back in time and sign a contract with them again?
Does The IT Company Offer Different Support Packages?
Next, you’ll want to ask about the levels of support they provide. Most IT companies nowadays offer a range of “packages” to suit every unique budget. They will fall into the following categories:
- Managed services wherein they manage your entire infrastructure for a flat-rate monthly fee. They may offer a few different levels of managed services plans.
- Pay-as-you-go wherein you pay an hourly rate or a fixed price for a set number of hours. This is typically the most expensive option.
If you choose managed services, you’ll likely have a few options presented to you in terms of the level of support you need. For instance, they might offer a lower tier plan that gives you monitoring, maintenance, and support while a higher tier plan includes all of that plus data backup, cybersecurity, and more.
Does The IT Company Commit To Response Times?
This is one of the most important questions. After all, most businesses can’t afford downtime for a few hours, or worse, a few days. You need to be able to depend on your IT company to be there when you’re struggling with a software problem or hardware failure that keeps your staff from getting work done. If you’re on a managed services plan, you should be able to expect a reasonable response time.
Ask The IT Company For Detailed List Of What’s Included In The Service
You want to be clear on what’s supported according to your contract. Most IT companies will cover labour charges on anything related to hardware and software. But if you have custom software built by another company, you should ask about that before assuming they’ll handle it. You should also ask about peripherals, such as:
- Mobile devices
You want to be completely aware of what’s covered so you know what will cost extra in the event of an issue or failure.
Who Is On The IT Companies Support Desk?
Here’s the thing… Many IT companies outsource their call centers to people with limited technical knowledge as a way to cut costs. You don’t want to find out when you’re in the middle of an emergency that this is the case. Ask ahead of time who you’ll be speaking with when you call into their support line. Is it one of their technicians or an outsourced call center? There is nothing worse than being passed around from person to person on the phone when you’re already dealing with technology problems in the office.
Does The IT Company Commit A Dedicated Account Manager?
It’s always helpful to have a single point of contact within the IT company you choose. After all, your technology plays such a vital role in the day-to-day operations of your company. When you have a dedicated account manager, you’re able to build a long-term relationship wherein they get to know and understand your business. You want someone who will learn about your requirements, organizational objectives, and challenges so they can offer guidance throughout the years.
Does The IT Company Have A Comprehensive Cybersecurity Offering?
This is another very important question, especially when you consider the rate at which cybercrime is evolving nowadays. Threats are becoming more sophisticated and coordinated – targeting businesses of all types and sizes. You don’t want an IT company that simply installs anti-virus software and a firewall. You need a multi-layered approach that keeps every endpoint safe against attacks. This should include:
- Web content filtering
- Anti-virus software
- Intrusion detection software
- Two-factor authentication
- Cybersecurity awareness training
- And more
Does The IT Company Make You Commit To A Long-Term Contract?
Lastly, when you’re starting to feel good about the IT company you’re interviewing, it’s time to figure out the legal details. What does the contract look like and how long will you be locked in? Many IT companies require a minimum time commitment, but if you’re lucky, you might find yourself talking to an IT company that goes month-to-month or offers cancellations if a specific guarantee isn’t met.
Contact Rea & Associates: Your IT Company In Massillon, Akron, Canton and Northeast Ohio
Still feeling uncertain about the process of finding and hiring an IT company? It’s a big choice. Contact us. We’d be happy to chat about how to find the right IT company for you.
by Jeff Rapp | Nov 11, 2019 | ARCIS Blog