Published 10th March 2022 | Managed IT Support

What to look for in an IT support company

If you’ve ever needed to find a new IT support company, you’ll know how difficult it can be to define exactly what you need and what questions you should ask to make sure you get the best company for the job.

In this article, we will answer these questions and provide you with everything you need to know to make the best decision when choosing an IT support company.

What is IT Support?

In summary, IT support is an often-outsourced set of services provided by a specialist IT provider with the resources to maintain, support or even manage all your IT requirement.

IT support companies typically combine different technical specialists in a range of fields, from helpdesks to networking, hardware, cybersecurity, backup, recovery and cloud-based systems.

Most businesses have multiple IT requirements, so IT support companies can provide specific services to ‘fill in the gaps’ for internal IT teams or provide fully outsourced IT support and management for users, network systems and software.

What are the benefits of using an IT support company?

The main benefit of using an IT support company are as follows:

  • Responsive helpdesk support when needed and resolution of issues
  • Proactive maintenance of key systems and software
  • Access to a broad set of specialist IT skills and expertise
  • Specialist knowledge in cybersecurity
  • Cost-effective access to all the above, often on as-needed basis
  • Improved productivity – so that your staff headcount can be deployed to core business areas
  • IT services can be managed in-house and supplemented by the external IT support services.

Choose an IT support company offering proactive and responsive IT services

Some IT support companies provide reactive only IT services known as ‘helpdesk’ services. These businesses typically provide a great service, but only respond to support requests from clients.

These services may be available on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis and are ideal for companies with limited resources or only a small amount of IT infrastructure.

Others offer IT support and management – in effect a mix of both proactive and reactive service – by taking on certain aspects of your day-to-day IT operations.

Examples of proactive IT support include network and server monitoring, typically aimed at preventing cybersecurity issues from developing. With server and network monitoring, businesses benefit from cybersecurity issues being picked up and resolved before they impact on the wider network.

The proactive IT support approach is usually more cost-effective in the long run as it is aimed at preventing IT-related issues from developing. This relates in particular to issues arising from cybersecurity incidents, which when prevent means that downtime is reduced, and normal business processes can continue without interruption.

Five key questions to ask an IT support company

1. How quickly can we get support with IT issues?

If you have an IT issue that needs addressing straight away, most specialist IT support companies offer a helpdesk service. Ask how you should log support issues and how quickly you can expect a response.

A good IT support company will offer multiple communications routes into the helpdesk service and will operate a ticketing system backed by a Service Level Agreement.

2. Do you offer IT support on a 24/7 basis?

Not all IT support services include round-the-clock cover. So if you believe your organisation depends on IT systems operating 24/7/365, you need to ask specifically how your IT support company will cover you over weekends and evenings.

It’s worth asking if they operate or have access to a Network Operation Centre (NOC) and/or Security Operations Centre (SOC), because this is really the only effective way to provide round-the-clock IT support and management coverage.

3. Does your IT support service include cybersecurity provision?

Cybersecurity is now of paramount importance for all internet-connected organisations. You should ask your IT support company what services, skills and expertise they offer to protect your business against issues such as a Ransomware attack.

The key with cybersecurity is that attacks and vulnerabilities can come from many sources in numerous forms, so comprehensive cover in this area is vital.

4. Does your IT support cover VoIP systems?

If you use a Voice Over IP (VoIP) system, can you be sure that support is there for you if it develops a fault?

Many organisations are now opting for cloud or on-premises based VoIP systems in preference to fixed telephony systems. Whether for communication between offices, with clients or for conferencing, telecommunications are the lifeline for most organisations.

Your IT support company should ideally have all experience and expertise in the deployment, maintenance and support of VoIP systems, enabling your organisation to stay connected.

5. Can you solve our remote working issues?

Current predictions are that more than 50% of office workers will move to hybrid or remote-based working scenarios in the next 2 years.

Home-based employees require support and deploying remote working solutions means that security is incredibly important in keeping them productive.

Ask your IT support company what solutions they provide to enable secure remote working and help employees maximise their remote working efficiency.

The Support You Need

Whatever your IT needs are, a high quality IT support function is vital in enabling your day-to-day business processes and operations run smoothly.

If you’re looking for IT support and believe the benefits listed above are what you require, consider talking to Alliance Solutions.

We provide a wide range of expert IT support solutions for small and large businesses, government sector organisations, partnerships and consultancies. We will work in close partnership with you, ensuring all your IT systems are kept up to date and safe from cyber-attacks. Contact us on 01438 900 830 or via email at contactus@alliancesolutions.co.uk.

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