Local IT Support: 10 Factors to Consider When Choosing an IT Service Provider

Learn how to find the best IT service provider for your organization and what questions you should ask so you can make the right business decision.

There are now 900,000 computer support specialists and 45,000 managed services providers available throughout the US, making it hard for business owners to decide which company to choose.

That's why TradeWeb has pulled together this blog post - to help you answer the question: "What makes a good IT support provider?" and narrow down your options - so you don't have to struggle on your own.

What to Look For in IT Support Services for Small Business

Here are 10 factors to consider before hiring an MSP, so you can rest assured you have made the best business decision.

#1 Experience

Always choose a provider that has experience in your specific industry. There's nothing bad about those MSPs who are always willing to roll up their sleeves and jump into a new challenge.

However, finding someone who's been in business for at least several years can give you peace of mind - they won't disappear overnight.

#2 Response Time

Every MSP has different processes, which means their response times vary. This is why you need to ask for their guaranteed response times. You don't want to sit and wait for hours for your support to show up while your business is suffering.

Therefore, ask them how long it will take for them to respond to your problems and how much time they usually need to fix different problems. Also, ask them to back up their answers with metrics and facts.

#3 Proactive Maintenance & Reactive Support

Quality support goes far beyond solving the problem. A good MSP will always be there for you and proactively monitor your systems to stop problems before they even have a chance to turn into serious disasters.

Besides being able to help you remotely, you also need to make sure they are ready to come to your place and fix computer, phone, network connectivity, printer, and cloud problems.

#4 Budget Planning

Whether you are a small business, a huge corporation, or anything in between, you are probably wondering the same thing as many other people - can I pay this, and will this fit into my budget?

That's why you need to find someone who can help you identify your needs and save money.

#5 The Right Tools

The company you want to choose must have the right tools that can benefit your business. Let's say you need someone to monitor your systems remotely. You want to see if they got tools to ensure your IT environment receives attention 24/7.

MSP tools dictate control over everything from server monitoring over applications to virtual machine management, meaning an MSP should also be interested in evaluating their current tools and exploring new tools.

#6 Security

In the last couple of years, MSPs have become main targets for hackers looking to scale their attacks. That being said, the last thing you would like to happen is to experience a data breach or leak through your MSP, which was supposed to keep you safe in the first place.

You need to be absolutely sure about their security. Check if they are sticking to the best-in-class security protocols and practices because small businesses are more likely to get attacked by hackers.

#7 Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Solutions

Check if they are dealing with onsite and offsite cloud backups. If they do, you can rest assured that you can always access your IT no matter what, even if your company is closed due to a storm or any other disaster.

#8 Devotion

One of the most important things to check is to see if they are serious about making your success their top priority. They should be interested in learning about your business, how it works, what are your long-term goals, etc.

Remember, any company that's doing a great job would be more than thrilled to share customers' stories and references.

#9 Service Level Guarantee

Although it is an obvious thing, we have to emphasize it. Establishing clear commitments between your service provider and you are super important.

You want to make sure some standards will be upheld - you don't want to end up giving your money for nothing.

#10 Training

Since the pace of technological change is faster than ever, you need to see if your MSP is investing in up-to-date training for its employees.

Because if they are not adopting new things, you won't be able to stay ahead of the curve.

The Wrap-Up

Let's make one thing crystal clear. You don't have to hire the first MSP you find online. Also, try to sift through support proposals and relate each one back to your business needs.

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