How to Find the Right IT Support for your Small Business
The demand for outsourced IT is at an all-time high.
Small businesses have leaned on Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) to provide IT support for years, but MSP’s have been an exceptionally hot commodity since the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. Many small businesses were unprepared to operate in a remote work environment or didn’t have the proper hardware on hand at the time, so they leaned on MSP’s to help with the transition.
Selecting an IT provider is one of the most significant decisions any business can make, especially in today’s business climate where we rely on technology more than ever. In nearly every industry, but especially technology, consumers make poor buying decisions and purchase the cheapest products and services simply because they haven’t been educated. If your business is considering IT support, here is some information to help you make a sound technology investment.
Why do small businesses outsource their IT?
Oftentimes, IT can become too complex and demanding for an internal support person to handle on his/her own. Some small businesses try to get by with an employee who “knows computers,” but that typically doesn’t work out because they reach a certain knowledge threshold, and it can gridlock an entire network. For many small businesses, they end up saving money when they outsource their IT.
What are some red flags I should be aware of before selecting a Managed Service Provider?
No SOC-2 Certification, no way.
If an MSP is not SOC-2 certified, this should concern you. Having a SOC-2 certification means that the MSP takes their (and potentially yours) security policies very seriously. And that should be top of mind for all small businesses. To become SOC-2 certified, a company hires a third-party firm to conduct an audit on the MSP’s network, policies, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy standards.
Read more about our recommendations on cybersecurity.
Make sure they partner with more than one vendor
MSP’s that only partner with a single vendor are at a disadvantage because they have zero flexibility when it comes to the products or services they provide. Oftentimes, they end up having to pigeonhole customers into a solution that doesn’t necessarily align with the customer’s needs. It also means their purchasing options are limited, which prevents them from being able to shop various vendors for the best deals.
Read more about why it’s crucial for MSP’s to work with multiple vendors.
Make sure they keep their certifications up to date
You expect your financial advisor to be informed about market movements and offer financial advice depending on the latest trends. Technology is no different. Ask the MSP what certifications their employees have and if they’re up to date. If they look at you like you have 3 eyes, there’s your sign.
Learn how we leverage our vendor relationships to complete certifications.
Don’t get locked into a long-term contract!
Some MSP’s will try their best to lock their customers in to long-term deals that don’t make any sense for you, the customer. If the services they are providing you are lousy, you should have the freedom to take your business elsewhere. Plus, most vendors do not lock you into long-term contracts, and even if they do you can transfer the rights to a new MSP (assuming they are a partner with the vendor) to avoid any contract breaches.
Make sure they are upfront about pricing
It shouldn’t require someone with a calculus degree to dissect your IT bill. Before you agree to any terms, ask them to send you a sample on an invoice so you can ensure you know what you are paying for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask why they’ve put certain items on the invoice if you’re unsure.
With IT being the backbone of any small business, it’s important to select an MSP who truly understands your business objectives and views the relationship more like a partnership than an outsourced vendor. If you’d like to speak to Lexington Geek about IT support for your small business, head over to our contact page and a representative from LexGeek will be in touch within 24 hours.