4 Must-Ask Questions for Choosing Small Business IT Support
June 7, 2022
Technology is an integral part of being competitive and maximizing customer reach. The scope of information technology (IT) for business includes business apps, data security, internet access, information storage and portability, network maintenance, system upgrades, and more. However, managing technology is challenging, especially for growing businesses. Business owners would much rather focus on the revenue-generating aspects of their company, than deep dive into managing the IT operations, which is why there is an increased demand for small business IT support services
The Case for Small Business IT Support Services
Research by cybersecurity company BullGuard on small businesses in the US and UK indicated that 43% of small businesses don’t have cyber security defense plans. It’s estimated that nearly 60% of small businesses close within six months of successful cybersecurity attacks.
Small businesses are vulnerable to IT security breaches because they often have a network of offices or locations without adequate IT security infrastructure. Inadequate staff training and access controls can also compromise data security. Small businesses that store personally identifiable information (PII), financial information, consumer data, etc., are a target of interest for cybercrime gangs. Small businesses that connect to the supply chain of a larger company are also vulnerable to cyberattacks.
As the CEO of a growing small business, you may already have assessed that it’s time to strengthen your IT infrastructure and support. Perhaps the most apparent course of action is to hire an in-house full-time IT resource. But that can add upwards of $85,000 in annual wage costs for your business without a consistent and predictable workload for the hired staff.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the option to hire a small business IT support provider to take on the complete responsibility of managing your IT systems. The best part is that most IT support service providers offer tiered service pricing, allowing small businesses to ramp up or scale down their IT investments per their business needs. Also, partnering with an IT support service significantly lowers the cost of upgrading and managing IT infrastructure.
A small business IT support provider will go beyond dealing with immediate issues to take a more strategic interest in the health of your IT infrastructure and prioritize improvements where needed. Broadly speaking, the small business IT support service will:
Procure and implement needed IT solutions
Configure systems and business applications
Provide IT training and education
Secure systems against cyberattacks
Help you leverage cloud solutions
Support your development of a long-term IT strategy
Must-Ask Questions When Choosing a Small Business IT Support Service
At the start of your search for small business IT support, you may feel overwhelmed with so many services and providers to pick from; asking the following questions will help you narrow down the prospects to a handful of serious contenders.
1. What is their experience in working in your industry, and who will handle your account?
You should choose a small business support service that is familiar with your industry, your business goals, and the unique challenges that you face. To assess if the small business IT support services is a good match for your business, ask the following questions:
2. What will the ongoing service support and escalation matrix look like?
You want to work with a small business support service that is easy to connect with when you have a question or need immediate help. You should be able to speak with a real person without wasting time navigating call routing systems. Responsiveness is not only about accessibility but also the level of professional handling once the problem has been reported.
To assess the responsiveness of a small business support provider evaluate the following:
3. What IT security best practices does the service provider follow?
If your business stores customer data (demographics and financial data), it is imperative that the small business IT support you hire has a robust IT security plan covering people, processes, and best-in-class technologies.
4. How scalable is the small business IT support provider?
The next level of responsiveness is scalability.
You will learn a lot about the full range of services provided by a prospective small business IT support partner by reviewing their statement of work (SOW) and service level agreement (SLA). Also, check whether they provide tiered-service packages that include various combinations of IT support services to meet the requirements of your growing business.
The final decision should be based on a meeting, demo, and detailed round of questions with the shortlisted small business IT support service providers. Ultimately, you must select a company that can best deliver the unique IT requirements of your growing business.