Hiring a managed Atlanta IT services company (such as this company) is the most efficient way to get IT expertise and support for small and mid-sized businesses. But just because a company offers managed IT services does not mean that they are going to have everything you need. As with any business, some managed IT services companies are better-equipped than others to offer you superior service and support.
The following 10 criteria are necessities when choosing your IT provider. Before choosing a company to support your business, make sure they meet all of these criteria.
10 Things to Look for in a Managed IT Services Company
1. IT Budget Planning Assistance
Every business today needs an IT budget, according to Capterra. After all, your business needs an increasing amount of technology tools to remain competitive—which means you will probably be spending an increasing amount of money on IT in the coming years. But planning for IT costs is not necessarily easy, especially if you are not tech-oriented.
A reputable IT services provider will know how to help you plan for upcoming IT costs. They will be able to explain what you need and why you need it, and they should have a good idea of what it will cost you.
2. 24-Hour Availability
Even if your business is only open 9-5, your computer systems need to be operational 24-hours a day. Something can go wrong outside of regular business hours, which is why your IT services provider needs to be available round-the-clock and year-round.
3. Planning for Disaster Recovery
You hope disaster never strikes your business, but you also know that planning for such disasters is a necessity. Whether you are hit with unexpected weather disasters like tornadoes or flooding, criminal activity that destroys your computer systems, or some other type of outage that might compromise your data, you need a plan in place to deal with the situation. Your IT team should have disaster planning experience and should take you through the planning process to ensure that everything meets your needs.
4. Backing Up Your Data
All managed IT services providers should have a system for backing up your company data on a regular basis. Daily backups are recommended, as outlined here, for certain information and cloud backups are the standard for many situations. Multiple layers of backups provide the best security—if one is compromised, you have another to fall back on. Backups can and should be automated by your IT team.
5. Regular Maintenance
One of the biggest advantages to having a managed IT services team is that they can keep your computer system from breaking—instead of just waiting until something breaks before fixing it. Like your car and other machines, proactive maintenance ensures that your equipment operates correctly and lasts as long as possible. Your team can fix issues when they are small so that they prevent major problems on down the line.
6. Testing for Security and Monitoring Systems
A thorough managed IT services plan includes ongoing security monitoring and regular security testing. Your IT team can monitor your system remotely round-the-clock, so it should be able to quickly identify issues as they arise and address those issues immediately. They can also conduct periodic security tests to verify that your network is as secure as possible. Cybercriminals are always going to be a problem, so you want a solid security program in place to protect your business.
7. Support for Employees
Technology can be as frustrating as it is helpful. When something goes wrong, it can lead to a big loss in productivity. But something does not have to go wrong with technology for it to cause issues, either. Sometimes, technology can just be plain difficult or confusing for employees to use. One of the big advantages of IT support is that your employees can get help with their tech problems—whether those problems are broken tech or learning to navigate tech.
Your IT team should be able to answer questions and provide support to your employees, including helping with onboarding for new tech that your business adopts in the future.
8. Partnerships with Third-Party Vendors
You know how useful it is to have knowledgeable employees who can take care of things that you are not familiar with. An IT services team should be able to deal with third-party vendors on your behalf, ensuring that you get fair deals and that you get the support you should from the vendors you interact with. They can manage third-party vendors so you can focus on areas where your expertise is needed.
9. On-Site Support
Remote support is an amazing thing, allowing your IT services provider to monitor your systems and fix things without the need for an in-person visit. However, there are certain situations where on-site maintenance and/or support are a necessity. You want an IT team that has the capability of coming to your place of business and fixing problems when needed. That is why it is often best to hire a managed IT services company with a local presence in your area.
10. Guaranteed Response Time
Some more inexpensive IT services providers are unlikely to get to your service requests in a timely manner. They may forward your calls to a call center, for example. You want a team that will get to your issue sooner rather than later. Fortunately, you can find service providers that guarantee their response times. When your business needs cannot wait, the last thing you want is to be stuck waiting an unnecessarily long time for someone you have already paid to address your problem.