In today’s world, you can’t run a business without some level of IT. And for modern and growing companies, a well-planned IT landscape is key to running an operationally efficient and high-revenue business. But much like choosing the wrong partner can be incredibly stressful, choosing the wrong IT provider can cost you money and hinder your growth.
You might have an IT provider or are looking to outsource your IT services to one. The questions outlined in this article will let you know if your current or prospective IT provider is a match.
Let’s start with the first question to ask your IT provider.
1. Are you offering us a complete scope of work?
The first important question to ask is if your IT provider can handle all aspects and components of your IT setup. That includes, but is not limited to, installing, repairing, maintaining, onsite infrastructure, cloud infrastructure, backups, programming, and infrastructure. No one wants to pay for services only to realize some things aren’t covered.
Also, ask if they’re able to manage the physical aspects of your IT setup, like cabling and setting up infrastructure-critical hardware on-site.
2. Are you handling our IT with your own resources, or are you outsourcing some activities?
It is important to know if an IT provider provides the onsite and remote services from its own resources or outsources some or many of these activities to other companies and third parties. An MSP with complete control over your IT is better — because you never know if the third parties they’re relying upon are trustworthy or professional.
Asking this question up-front can save you from underperforming and money-leaking IT later on.
3. When was the last time that you updated our IT infrastructure?
Story-time. We recently took over the IT for a biotech company. On both their locations, they had an obsolete Wi-Fi network with poor signal coverage, old 100Mpbs network switches, neglected main distribution frames, and obsolete firewalls with expired subscriptions for security services. Their infrastructure was severely outdated and needed mending.
We replaced their old technology with new and future-proof firewalls with advanced subscriptions for all security services. Wi-Fi was replaced with a new system, including new data cabling and Wi-Fi access points. And lastly, the old and slow network switches were replaced for gigabit managed switches — together with extensive upgrades on both on-site and cloud infrastructure.
The client was neglected for a long time because the IT person who set everything up was no longer available to care for their network. As a result, an internal IT person who had other responsibilities had to do his best to manage it all.
It can happen to the best of companies — and it’s your IT provider's responsibility to make sure your IT infrastructure and all surrounding parts are in top condition. If the opposite is true, it might be time to look for another IT provider.
4. How are you ensuring onsite and remote IT assets are protected from cyberattacks?
Cyberattacks can be expensive, so how can you mitigate the damage or infrastructure lockouts caused by the attack? Does the new IT provider have the ability to fully integrate all parts of the onsite and remote IT equipment and services into one secure IT network? Are you getting the most out of these items’ available features and functions while guarding against bad actors?
There are many things an MSP can do to ensure your cybersecurity. Find out if they can monitor all relevant parts of their IT setup securely and that they get alerted in time should any vital components be down, malfunctioning, or compromised.
5. How quickly can you address any IT issues we have?
Your IT is active around the clock, and so should your IT support be. You don’t want to face an acute issue and realize your IT provider is unreachable. An IT provider should respond quickly and help you resolve issues efficiently — with 24x7x365 availability as the only acceptable standard. Find out how long they take to respond and resolve tickets, answer emails and return calls. Any type of downtime affects employee productivity and costs money.
Because IT is such an integral part of your business, the last thing you need is a lagging IT provider.
6. Can you successfully serve our employees working from home?
Like many companies post-pandemic, you may have adopted flexible work-from-home practices. Working from home is an important area of responsibility your IT provider should have the ability to support fully. Ask how they are adapting to the remote work scenario. And is the IT company able to address the onsite needs of employees who work remotely from their home office?
Ensuring IT security for your remote workers and enabling them to perform at their best, regardless of location, is key — and not all IT providers are well-versed in these new work practices.
7. Which IT certifications do you have?
IT certifications are definitive proof of a vendor’s competency and a diploma of their expertise. Providers can get certified in many technologies, products, and services.
Some of the most valuable certifications in the IT industry include:
- Microsoft Partner
- Google Partner
- Amazon APN Partner
- Adobe Solution Partner
- IBM Business Partner
- SAP Service Partner
- Oracle Partner
- ISO 22301/27001/9001 Certifications
With top industry certifications in place, you can trust that your IT provider has its competencies in the right place. Also, make sure the certifications are relevant for the solution they set up.
8. What talent do you have onboard?
IT can get very technical and complex. One person can’t be highly skilled in all competencies. Therefore, find out what talent your IT provider has on board. Typically, their answer should ensure a wide, highly skilled team that can offer expertise in a complete range of services.
Scale new heights with the right partner
An IT provider is a critical partnership to help you capitalize on the best of technology to scale your business to new heights. By asking the questions outlined in this article to your current or prospective IT provider, you’re one step closer to choosing the right partner that will assist and future-proof your business for many years to come.
Is Amoeba your IT partner? Ask us these questions!