IT support companies offer all kinds of services, and they certainly aren’t one-size-fits-all.
Do you know exactly which services you’re covered for by your IT support company?
It might be that all you want to know is what service level agreements (SLAs) you have in place and how quickly your support tickets will be seen to. But with companies all offering different levels of support packages, services and products, you don’t want to be paying more than you need for services you won’t use.
So what essentials should your IT support company be covering as a minimum?
Reactive support is one of the basics of IT support. Your IT support company should offer you access to experienced specialists whenever you need it. Come software freeze, server outage or simple technical query, they should be easily contactable via an online portal, email or phone, and be ready to come to the rescue.
24/7 support is offered by many IT support companies. While this may sound convenient, think about whether you really need it – you’ll inevitably be paying a premium for it.
A question to ask your IT support company: What hours of the day is support available between and what happens out-of-hours?
Proactive customer support
On the other side of reactive support lies proactive support. This is a strategy in which a support company anticipates issues and offers solutions in advance. There are a few different ways this can be achieved:
- A knowledge base of self-service resources that can be used by the end-user
- A series of written or recorded answers to commonly-asked questions
- Video walkthroughs or tutorials showing how to use certain programs or systems
Regardless of the format, the benefits of proactive customer support are the same: the user is provided with answers to their problems without needing to contact the support company.
A question to ask your IT support company: Is proactive customer support included in the services you offer?
Now, with software packages that can monitor core IT systems and software, the health of your IT infrastructure can be monitored remotely by your IT support company. For example, remote system monitoring tools can identify when your hardware is reaching the end of its useable life so you know when replacements are needed before they fail.
This goes one step further than the break-fix support of the past and aims to fix problems before you even know they exist. Not only does this reduce business interruption on your end, but it’s also in the best interest of the support company to offer this service.
A question to ask your IT support company: Do you monitor our systems and what proactive support do you offer?
In an age where businesses collect a great deal of sensitive information from customers, data security is critical. Your IT support company should have protocols in place to prevent cyber threats such as ransomware (where hackers hold your data ransom in exchange for money) and also plans for what will be done if your data security is breached.
There are various different data security services your IT support company can provide, including data encryption, safe file sharing, multi-factor authentication and data backups.
A question to ask your IT support company: Is there a plan in place for what to do if our hacking safeguards fail?
Managed backup solutions
Should disaster strike, you’re going to want to know that your data is safe. IT support companies should be able to provide you with solutions to back up data that is critical to the day-to-day running of your business. Backup solutions should include:
- Local and online backups
- A business continuity plan
- Disaster recovery plans
As a minimum, you should know how quickly an IT professional could be with you, how they will get you up and running again, and what it will cost to do so.
A question to ask your IT support company: What is our business continuity plan for ensuring we can still service customers if we don’t have a fully working system?
A completely outsourced IT solution?
If you work with bespoke or specialist software, such as accountancy or HR software, check whether your IT support contract covers support on these. If your IT support company is supposed to be a complete outsourced solution handling all of your IT queries, they should be able to help you troubleshoot any issues or contact the third-party vendor on your behalf.
Finally, check what isn’t covered in your support contract
As well as checking which essentials your IT support company offer for the price they charge, it is also worth checking what isn’t included in your agreement. What happens if you need an onsite call out to your offices, for example? What happens if an employee downloads a virus onto their work computer while carrying out non-work-related activity?
Make sure you know what is and isn’t covered by your IT support company to keep your IT systems in good health, resolve problems quickly and prevent any surprise additional costs.
About EC-MSP, your IT support partner
EC-MSP are one of the most trusted IT support providers in London. If you would like more help advice and support with technology for your business, contact us today to see how we can help.