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Top Queries to Ask Your IT Provider — Before You Do Business with Them

Anyone can say that they offer IT services. But are they providing the right kind of service for your business? It’s important to ask the right questions when making your decision. We have compiled a list of queries for you to ensure you have the tools to identify if the IT provider of your choice can truly fulfill your needs. You need to make sure that the IT provider is competent and experienced in serving your organization, puts your needs above all else, and has the tools and resources to get the job done securely and efficiently.
How Long They Have Been in the Business
According to the US Small Business Administration, roughly 50% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years. It’s important to be able to trust and rely on the company of your choice. It’s important to know how long they’ve been in business as well as how successful they have been over that time as it will give you a better assessment of their ability to fulfill your needs.
The Type of Insurance They Have
If the company doesn’t have insurance and something goes wrong or someone gets hurt, they may not have the finances on their own to salvage everything.
Prior Experience in the Vertical
If they’ve only focused on companies entirely unrelated to how you handle your business, they may not have as much expertise or insight as an IT provider that has had many different clients in a variety of industries.
If They Provide Onsite Support or Outsourced Support
The best IT providers staff their own helpdesk support onsite, at their office, so they can train them, keep their certifications updated, and make sure they have good people working for them. It should be important to them that their staff has intimate knowledge of what your business does and their client base in order to provide the best assistance and customer service possible.
What Their Support Hours Are
You want to make sure there is always someone there to help if something goes wrong, no matter when. Emergencies don’t wait until the weekend or holiday is over. The best IT providers have ability to help you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Measure Customer Satisfaction
A quality IT provider should be calling clients and performing surveys. The clients chosen should be random (not just their happy clients.), and should rate their customer service experience on: reliability, performance, security, problem resolution, friendliness, professionalism, and timeliness.
If They Have an Out Clause
After signing the contract with an IT provider, you may find after some time that they are not a good fit for you. What happens then? Are you stuck in a long-term contract with them anyway? Or do they have any sort of Out Clause in their contract that will allow termination if your needs are left unfulfilled.
Usage of Up to Date Technology
If your IT provider uses outdated technology and aren’t always keeping their eyes open for new technologies, they may not have the capability to do the job right. And don’t just take their word for it – make sure they can prove it.
Guaranteed Response Time
It’s important to have a good idea of how long it takes the provider to tackle whatever issues your technology may come across and make sure it’s within a reasonable time frame. The right IT provider should offer you a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA indicates the response time that their team guarantees.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
You want to ensure your IT provider is using the most advanced methods possible to keep your data secure. Two-Factor Authentication is an extra layer of security that requires not only a password and username but also something the user has on them, such as a pin, fingerprint, ID card, etc.
Secure Storage of Important Data and Passwords
A capable IT provider has the latest security features to ensure your personal information is kept safe. If you can’t trust an IT provider to keep their systems secure, can you trust them to protect yours? The right IT provider will store all passwords in a password repository system which requires 2-factor authentication. They should also have procedures in place in case of an employee termination to ensure there is no risk of unauthorized access.
3rd Party Penetration Testing of Their Business
Many IT providers may offer business penetration and security tests, but have they been tested themselves? Many IT providers have not had their own systems tested by a 3rd party. Others who have been tested have found that they are not as secure as they advertise themselves to be.
Choosing the right IT provider is not an easy decision. There are numerous factors that need to be considered that should not be taken lightly. Using the questions above will be very helpful in the vetting process to separate the strong contenders from the rest and assist you in making a final decision with confidence.
About the Author:
Christopher Coluccio is the CEO & Co-Founder of Techworks Consulting, Inc. From his early years, Chris had a love of computers, coding his first program at the age of 8. He went on to study Computer Science at Dowling College. During that time, he worked on projects such as the “Big Dig” in Boston and large construction projects in Manhattan. He went on to become the IT Administrator of one of the largest print manufacturers on Long Island. It was around that time that he met his business partner, Keith, and the building blocks of Techworks began. Incepting in 2002, he was able to make their dream a reality.
Chris is widely-recognized for his vigorous advocacy of technological innovations and high standards for quality support and services. Having over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, Chris has worked with numerous companies spanning various industries providing services to keep their organizations running smoothly and securely. Chris is also the co-chair of the HIA-LI Technology for Business Committee.