5 Questions You Should Ask When Choosing an IT Service Provider
Given the broad spectrum of IT services, it can be overwhelming to pick a service provider that's a perfect fit for your business. In the evaluation process, asking the right questions can make all the difference.
Here are five questions you should ask when choosing an IT service provider.
Questions To Ask a Potential IT Service Provider
1. What Kinds of Support Plans Do You Offer for Businesses?
Most IT service providers offer a wide range of service levels designed to suit their client's specific needs and budgets. Some of the most common types of plans include:
Pay as you go
For this plan, a business pays an hourly or fixed price for the services on an as-needed basis. Typically, hourly rates are more expensive than contracts and give you the least coverage.
Break-fix support plans are paid annually or monthly under a fixed-price agreement and function similarly to insurance. If something breaks, the provider fixes it.
Managed service support
Managed IT service support plans require an annual contract. Here, a company actively manages all your business's IT systems. This means you will always have someone on call to fix any issues when something goes wrong.
However, these agreements minimize the chance you'll need things fixed. Since your systems are proactively monitored, the provider is behind the scenes responding to issues before it affects the business.
2. What Do Your Security Solutions Cover?
Business IT has several sub-sections within it. Cyber Security has become an increasingly important one over the last several years.
As a business, it's essential to fully understand what is and isn't covered by an IT service provider's cyber security solutions.
Ask your service provider what security options they offer, how deep their cyber security solution goes, how they handle attacks, and how they are keeping up with new threats.
3. What Kind of Help Desk Do You Offer?
Help Desk support is an essential aspect of IT service provision. Your business needs a provider you can reach out to whenever you have issues.
Ask a potential IT service provider if they offer businesses a dedicated IT technician to attend to any issues as they arise. In addition, ask if the provider provides remote help and/or onsite support. In addition, make sure to ask what the help desk hours are (Is it business hours or 24/7?) and what their typical response time is.
Fixing problems as quickly as possible is a must to keep businesses operating. These questions will help you gauge how equipped the provider is to resolve issues promptly.
4. Can You Help Our Business Meet Industry and Regulatory Compliance Standards?
Most businesses are subject to compliance and regulatory standards, which help protect clients' sensitive information and ensure human safety.
Your IT service provider should be up to date with any new laws or changes to existing laws to help your business continuously meet regulatory compliance standards. This helps your company avoid legal problems down the road.
5. Do You Supply Hardware as Well?
While you may buy your computer equipment from different suppliers, it's helpful to have an IT service provider who can replace faulty parts.
Additionally, when you replace hardware, it's best to have an IT service provider install it because they'll ensure it's done correctly and that it's the best equipment for the job.
Making a Decision
By asking these questions, you're better positioned to gauge whether an IT service provider would be the right fit for your business and make an informed decision when choosing a provider.
About Vladimir Zrajevsky
Vladimir Zrajevsky has nearly 20 years of experience in computer and information sciences. He is the president of Fatech IT Advisors, a multiservice IT solutions and professional service provider based in Herndon, VA.