Ask These 10 Questions First Before You Sign With An IT Company
You think you’ve found an IT company that you want to work with – your work is done, right?
Wrong – you have to make sure they’re going to deliver everything you need. If you want to do right by your business, you can’t rush to make a decision like this.
Is IT That Important?
Short answer? Yes.
The degree to which technology is integrated into your daily processes gives it the potential to seriously affect your productivity, service quality, and bottom line. If you don’t have the right support team in place for your IT, you’ll encounter a series of insurmountable and costly obstacles:
- A poorly managed IT infrastructure can result in expensive downtime for your staff – up to $9,600 per minute.
- It’s estimated that the global cybercrime industry will cause up to $6 trillion in damages in just a few years, with the average phishing attack costing $1.6 million, and the average ransomware attack costing $732,520 (and double that, for organizations that pay the ransom).
- Global IT spending totaled 3.7 trillion last year and is expected to grow another 3.7% this year, signaling an ongoing foundational shift in the business world towards recognizing IT’s role and investing appropriately in it.
That’s why you need to do the work now and find the right IT company for you. Failing to do so will cost you money, put your business at risk, and prevent you from keeping up with more forward-thinking competitors. That’s not to mention that you’ll have to go through this process of finding a company again.
While it’s certainly frustrating to have to do some homework before you sign an agreement, it’s vital that you make sure all your needs will be addressed before you make it official.
Ask These 10 Questions Before You Sign
Will You Maintain My Infrastructure?
You need an IT company that can support the foundation of your IT – the infrastructure:
- Basic server maintenance
- Network administration
- Storage maintenance
What Is Your Support Process?
The helpdesk is a key part of IT services – it’s where you and your staff will go with any issues they encounter using IT.
That’s why you need to determine how their support process works:
- Is it by phone only?
- Is it limited to business hours? Or around the clock?
- Can you track tickets in an online portal?
Will You Keep An Eye On My Network?
If you’re paying for fully managed services from an IT company, then you want to make sure they’re taking care of your entire system – that includes the network:
- Mobile devices
- Virtual machines
- Remote users
Will Your Services Match Change To My Business?
Your IT company may be sufficient for you now, but what about next year? What will happen if you need to add five new computers? IT services should grow as you do.
You don’t need to understand all the intricacies of cost optimization, cloud services, and scalability, but you should know what it will cost in terms of money and time when your company begins to grow.
Be sure to ask questions about colocation and virtual infrastructures.
Will You Protect My Data?
An important part of any IT service is proper digital security, such as:
- Firewall settings
- Intrusion detection
- Intrusion prevention
- Encryption at the file level
- How those services are carried out
Will You Back Up My Data?
Data loss is a reality in the modern business world, which is why a viable data backup solution is so important. Be sure to find out:
- How secure is the cloud backup solution?
- Is the backup hosted on a public or private cloud server?
- If it’s a public cloud, will they consider using a private cloud for your backups?
- If your data won’t get backed up in the cloud, where are the backups getting stored?
Will You Introduce Me To New Technologies?
You don’t want to miss out on the latest and greatest in IT innovations. The IT company will be able to give you the advantages that come with the most recent applications of cloud technology.
Cloud technology, when properly implemented and supported, will allow you to minimize your hardware, scale easily, and gain access to your data when and where you need to.
Do You Provide Strategic Consulting?
You need to be able to provide your full attention to the work you’re doing, not your IT. IT consulting services should give you expert guidance and ensure you’re always making the best investments and decisions to guarantee a long and successful future for your operations.
How Do You Handle Changes In Service?
Find out how the renewal/termination process will work ahead of time:
- Should the managed services contract terminate, does it require a monthly or annual renewal?
- Will you incur any penalties for ending your service before the expiration date?
- What is considered acceptable in the contract for the IT company to cancel the agreement on their end?
- How Do You Measure And Guarantee Quality Of Service?
Make sure you find out about their staff’s qualifications and certifications. The right IT company should be able to provide you with information regarding the certifications held by their staff and relay how these will meet your needs. Similarly, check which Partner Certifications and Technical Specialties do they hold.
Overall, be sure to ask your IT company to explain how each service component will be delivered to your organization – this process is all about eliminating variables. The more you know, the less likely you’ll be surprised or disappointed.