IT providers can offer a wide range of services. Not every provider is going to work for every company. Consider these areas to see which are important to you as you look for your next IT provider.
- IT Consulting
This is one of the most important aspects for a business. IT Consulting is the area where business and IT meet. An IT consultant will align IT priorities with business needs. Examples of this may include meeting industry-specific requirements for IT systems, planning for future IT which is customized to your niche and where you want to go with your business, and alerting you of opportunities for IT to advance your business. A recent example would be how to help you move your business remote when the pandemic hit.
2. Technical Support
This is what most people look for in an IT provider – someone that you can call when you have a problem with your technology. Problems look different depending on the company but often include fixing broken computers, getting new people set up on computers, and helping individuals with any specific issue they may have with their IT equipment. A common thing to look at is when is the IT provider available to help and when you need them to be available.
When you have your own computer, you are vulnerable to viruses, malware, and hacking. Most people are familiar with antivirus software for home computers. In a business, because there is more to lose and more moving pieces, an IT provider will usually put more protections in place. This includes making sure that there are protections in place on all computers, making sure that employees are using IT systems safely, doing security updates on all systems, and planning systems to avoid problems.
4. Crisis Planning
Most businesses call their IT provider when there is a problem, as they should. However, having a plan for what to do when there is a problem will enable you to get back to working sooner. Planning for problems can help you avoid the problems in the first place and give you more warning about them. Examples of crisis planning include setting up backups so that you’ll still have your data if your computer dies and what to do when the Internet goes out along with disaster planning recovery as well.
5. IT Architecture
Before you have an IT provider, you make your IT work however you can. An IT provider, on the other hand, knows all the ways to set up and transform an IT system. Planning your IT architecture is one of the first tasks a good IT provider will do to make it easier and faster for them to manage your IT systems. How you collaborate on and share files are things you’ll plan for as well.
6. IT Administration
IT administration is the day-to-day running of a business IT system. Making sure that everyone has what they need to do their job on an IT system while keeping the system safe is one of the things that an administrator provides. IT service providers also plan and execute the changes that are decided to be best for the system in as seamless and painless a way for the company including planning timelines, doing training, and convincing people to be on board. They will also know who to call if there is a problem and how to talk to them.
7. IT Asset Management
The longer a company exists, the more technology you will have – and the harder it can be to keep track of. Some of it may be old and no longer used; what do you do with it? An IT provider will keep track of all your systems. They will get rid of old ones for you in a way that protects your data and can help the environment. They will let you know when systems need upgrades and when to get new equipment and help you source new equipment that fits your needs.
In a company with on-site IT, often these areas are what your IT is doing for you already if you are allowing it. In a smaller company, your IT provider can fulfill these roles. IT can span many technologies, and it will depend on the provider what technologies they are able to service (e.g., computers, Internet network, mobile devices, website, phones, printers, etc.).
If you are currently missing any of these areas from your IT provider or you are in the market for an IT provider for your small business, call Tech Lab at 414-208-4682 to discuss your options of how Tech Lab can work with you.