How to Pick IT Support Companies: The Complete Guide for Businesses

Global information technology (IT) spending could reach $4.5 trillion this 2022. Of that amount, nearly $1.28 billion could go toward IT services alone.

IT support, also known as help desk, service desk, or tech support, is one of the most common IT services. Without it, businesses may face productivity and profit losses from IT service outages. And such outages are common, affecting 80% of organizations from 2019 to 2021.

Therefore, you'd want to learn how to pick IT support companies as soon as possible. That way, you can hire an IT service provider to address all your IT woes without breaking the bank.

Below, we've listed the top tips for selecting IT support providers, so keep reading.

Identify Your IT Support Requirements

Before you compare options for IT companies, determine your IT support needs first.

Do you need IT professionals to fix common IT issues with your computers or network as they happen? If so, consider hiring an IT support company offering break-fix services. You can call them for help when you encounter software or hardware problems.

Break-fix support is your cheapest option, but relying solely on them can be more costly in the long run. One reason is that the more complex the problem, the longer it can take to resolve. That robs you or your employees of precious time that you guys could've otherwise used to work.

Preventive IT maintenance is among the best ways to prevent such IT downtimes. It's one of the services you can expect when you hire proactive IT support.

Proactive IT support often entails 24/7 monitoring for hardware and software issues. Because it's round-the-clock, the IT team can prevent outages before they happen.

Another example of proactive IT support is the regular scanning of IT devices. IT pros can do this with remote technology, so they don't need to be physically in your office. They use the same tech to perform virtual repairs for most software-related woes.

What if you want both break-fix and proactive support? In that case, consider investing in managed IT services. This way, you can let the IT support company handle all aspects of your IT. You can learn more here to see how managed IT services can help your company.

Take Advantage of Free IT Support Consultation

Perhaps you're uncertain of the specific aspects of IT support your business needs. If so, it's best to consider consulting with an IT company first.

IT consulting services are advisory services that assess a business's IT needs. One of their primary goals is to look for areas of an IT infrastructure that need improvement. Another is to identify security flaws and legacy systems.

IT consulting services can also help businesses develop better communication protocols. For instance, they may suggest internal messaging apps that don't require Internet connections.

Don't worry about the cost, as some IT companies offer a free consultation. However, they often only provide such services to local businesses. So when searching for prospective IT support providers, stick to local firms.

Factor in IT Support Service Costs

In the United States, IT support specialists make around $50,000 to $60,000 a year. That's what you can expect to pay if you hire one IT professional as an in-house employee.

Don't forget that you also need to purchase the equipment the IT expert will use in your place of business. You also have to budget for their bonuses and employee benefits package.

By contrast, companies offering outsourced IT services often charge per head per month. The average price range per head is $100 to $150. So if you need IT services for ten employees, you only need to shell out $1,000 to $1,500 per month or $12,000 to $18,000 per year.

You also have the option to get stand-alone services, especially if 12 to 18 grand is too hefty for your business.

For example, let's say you don't need backup and recovery, only IT support specializing in VOIP. In that case, you can outsource just the latter, so you don't have to pay for the former.

Consider Each Company's Pool of IT Pros

Some IT support companies offer programming, data science, and hardware engineering services. They may also provide hardware and network installation, especially for legacy systems. Some even have experts that can help you relocate your entire business IT structure to a new office.

Such companies can offer multiple IT services because they employ different IT pros. Aside from support specialists, they also have IT technicians, engineers, and computer programmers. Some may also have computer or data scientists and infrastructure analysts on board.

You may not need their services ASAP, but it's wise to consider a company's pool of experts before hiring them. That way, if the need arises, you know who to call and get the services you need immediately. It also helps you save time as you don't have to start researching prospects from scratch.

Best Managed Service Providers offer a pool of IT professionals with expertise in various IT fields, such as networking and cybersecurity. Equipped with the latest IT knowledge and tools, their teams provide top-notch IT support services to their clients.

Confirm Your Prospects Serve Your Industry

Do you know what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is? If not, know that failure to comply can lead to fines of up to €20 million. That converts to roughly $19.4 million (USD).

The GDPR regulates how companies handle the personal data of European citizens. So even if your company is in the U.S., this law applies to you if you have EU customers.

Another law that may apply to your business is the PCI-DSS. It stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Your business must comply with this law if it accepts, stores, or transmits credit card info.

Next, we have the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It regulates the methods used by healthcare organizations for handling electronic patient data. Any company dealing with healthcare data must abide by the law.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Sarbanes-Oxley Act are other industry-specific, IT-related laws.

The bottom line is that there are many compliance laws that your business may have to follow. But, unfortunately, not knowing them won't excuse you from the hefty penalties you may face.

So, choose an IT support company serving your specific industry. If they know your industry, they know which compliance laws apply to it.

Verify IT Certifications

IT certifications are designations demonstrating competency in a specific aspect of information technology. To get these, IT professionals usually must apply for a certification test. They must also provide proof of experience or training to make them eligible to take the test.

Only after passing the test can someone obtain the IT certificate. These stringent prerequisites make IT certifications valuable factors in eligibility.

That's also why IT support specialists strive hard to gain and maintain certifications. They know that these documents give clients peace of mind.

At the same time, IT experts know that getting certified improves their employability. Indeed, half of IT pros who recently got a certification said their work quality has improved. Another 25% said they now perform their job faster.

There are many IT certifications, but they're usually vendor-specific. Some of the most popular is from Microsoft. So if you use mostly Microsoft, hire an IT company with Microsoft-certified IT pros.

Fortunately, most reputable IT experts have multiple certifications. Aside from Microsoft, they may also have Cisco and CompTIA certifications.

Test the Response Time

Every minute of IT downtime puts your business in danger of profit loss. For example, if your website goes down, existing and potential clients won't be able to access it. That may even be enough reason for them to switch companies.

Outages also place your IT assets in the way of cybersecurity risks.

FYI, experts discover over 450,000 new malware types and PUAs every day. PUAs stand for potentially unwanted programs.

PUAs aren't as dangerous as malware but can become vectors of malicious programs. At the very least, they consume precious resources like RAM and memory. So the more PUAs your hardware stores, the less efficient it can become.

For those reasons, you'd want to choose an IT support team with quick response times. That way, they can perform virtual device scanning as soon as you suspect infections.

One way to gauge this is to send them a quick chat or email message. If they reply immediately, that's good, as it signifies their efficient support department. However, if they take over an hour to respond, you should take your business elsewhere.

Choose IT Support With Cybercrime Protection

Experts forecast cybercrime damages to reach at least $7 trillion this 2022. That's equivalent to being the world's third-largest economy.

Cybercrime is booming because it targets everyone connected to the Internet. That includes individuals, small to medium-sized businesses, and giant corporations.

Thus, no matter how small your firm is, it's at the mercy of cybercrime.

Therefore, it's in your best interest to have IT support with cybercrime protection. A good enough reason is that your business can lose money due to a breach. Worse, your clients can sue you if a hack compromises their personal and financial data.

So when hiring an IT support company, choose one specializing in cybersecurity protection. They can help safeguard your IT assets and data with antivirus protection. They can also provide intrusion prevention software and 24/7 security monitoring.

You can also expect the IT company to hunt down existing threats in your IT infrastructure. These may have entered your systems through employees. For instance, a worker may have downloaded malware after visiting an infected website.

If the IT company detects infections, expect them to eradicate the threats immediately.

Read Through Customer Reviews

Reading online reviews has become a habit of 90% of consumers. For many, it's a crucial factor that influences purchasing decisions.

Unfortunately, many of those so-called testimonials are fake or misleading.

So when you read reviews of IT support companies, don't trust the first few "they're the best" statements. Instead, look for lengthy, detailed testimonials; these are often honest, unbiased reviews. They usually enumerate both the pros and cons rather than just being full of praise.

Another sign of an authentic testimonial is if the reviewer provides specific details. For instance, it may be about an actual IT support experience they had with the company. These aren't typical for fake reviews, as most of them are one- to two-liners.

Beware of deceptive endorsements, too; they're against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act. In 2021 alone, the FTC cited over 700 businesses for their misleading use of endorsements.

See What Employees Have to Say

Customer reviews can help you gauge which companies may treat you poorly. However, you don't want to work with one that mistreats its workers.

Remember: Engaged employees make a company run, while disengaged ones can make it fail. So if you hire a company with disengaged workers, your business is at risk.

After all, disengaged employees often lack motivation and have high absenteeism rates. They're also less productive and, sometimes, have every intention of not working efficiently.

So if you hire such a company, you may not get the high-quality services you deserve. Worse, your IT assets may be at risk of breaches due to a lack of adequate support.

Thus, take the time to check websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and JobAdvisor. These platforms provide employees with a way to leave reviews of their employers.

Read those reviews to help you gauge how each of your prospects fares with their workers. Then, consider choosing a company with more positive worker feedback than negative ones.

That's How to Pick IT Support Companies

As you can see, you must first identify your firm's needs when you pick IT support companies. But if you're unsure, you can always rely on local IT service providers for a free consultation.

That no-cost service can also help determine if an IT company is a good fit for your business. By contrast, if it has pushy agents, take it as a sign that it's only out to make profits.

If you liked this article, you'd love our other guides. Browse more of our blog to read our latest informative news and blog posts!

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