Anyone who has started or owned a business knows they need IT to function. Sometimes, the founder manages this area on their own, especially in the early days of a business. But, there usually comes a time, especially for growing businesses, when it makes sense to consider working with an IT services company.
If you find yourself in this situation, below are five questions you should ask the IT companies you’re considering. These can help you choose the best partner to provide those small business IT services.
Should I hire in-house IT support or outsource to an IT services company?
A great first question to ask an IT services company is whether or not they think you need their services. The right potential partner will look at the first meeting as an opportunity to get a solid understanding of how you have been managing your IT and your specific needs. Only then should they offer suggestions.
For example, at Atlas, we offer a complimentary IT assessment and consultation to anyone interested in our small business IT services. Then we offer honest feedback and recommendations based on your best interest. We may suggest you work with us, or, we may suggest another path. Depending on your situation, hiring in-house IT support – or even another IT services company – may be a better fit for your needs.
How does outsourcing small business IT services work?
If you choose to hire an IT services company rather than hire full-time IT staff, that partner can offer fully managed IT services. Ideally, you’ll get the expertise of a Chief Information Officer, along with the support of a highly trained IT team.
Look for a partner that can offer the full range of small business IT services you’ll need. For instance, Atlas’ fully managed IT services include:
- Unlimited end-user support through our help desk
- Workstation support
- Server and network management
- Data backup and recovery
- Email support
- Cloud services
- Vendor management
- And more…
What should I be doing to protect my business from cybersecurity threats?
Cybersecurity should be on all business-owners’ minds, because it is a very real and costly threat. In fact, two in five small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have been the victim of a ransomware attack, and 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses.
Ask the IT services company you’re considering what you should do to protect your business from cybersecurity threats. Solutions should include:
- Anti-virus and anti-malware software
- Email spam filtering
- Virtual private networks (VPN)
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- Advanced threat detection (ATD)
- Advanced threat prevention (ATP)
- Monthly vulnerability scans and reports to more quickly detect risks
How quickly should I expect my IT issues to be addressed and resolved?
How fast your IT services company can address and resolve your IT issues is a very important factor when deciding who to hire. If your system goes down or an employee can’t access their email or data, you want to know your IT partner will react as quickly as possible. Because every hour of downtime a business experiences equates to a loss in productivity and revenue.
When comparing Atlas’ response and resolution time to industry standards, we’re able to resolve support tickets before the average MSP even responds to the initial request. We aim to receive initial notice of issues in under 30 minutes, and our average remediation time is under four hours.
What will the IT services company do to set up my business for long-term success?
This is a very important question, because you want to know your IT partner is considering not just the present but also the future of your business. Look for an IT services company that can set up your system to grow and change with the needs of the business.
Also, make sure the prospective IT partner is taking a proactive approach to managing your IT. At Atlas, we conduct monthly vulnerability scans. These help catch current and upcoming issues that need to be remediated to keep our clients’ network and devices secure. We also conduct regular Technical Business Reviews, which helps us identify challenges and opportunities we need to address.