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How to Choose an IT Services Company Part 2

How to Choose an IT Services Company – Part 2

This is the second article in a series of three on some pointers when choosing an IT services company for your business.  Last week we talked about the antiquated practice of companies that insist on operating on a multi-year contract, keeping current on IT-related trends, and how it is essential to maintain proper and ongoing documentation within an IT environment.  If you missed that article you can find it here.

This week we will further explore some aspects to IT systems that we have uncovered over our years in the industry.  How is your backup solution?  What about the skills and certifications of the people with the company you choose to work with?   Does the company you are thinking of using have the ability to work with the environment you have currently?  We will cover all three of these questions in this weeks article.

Depth of bench

The age old dilemma small and mid-sized business – Do we hire an “IT Guy/Gal” or trust a company with taking care of what we need?  While it is nice to have someone on staff as a fixed cost, we certainly believe it at least makes sense to supplement that person’s efforts with an IT company with a depth to their bench of talent.  We take over accounts all the time from solo practitioner companies for the simple reason that they cannot be experts on all aspects of an active computer environment and keep it current.  They often keep the clients in the dark about that face, and it is to the detriment of the company they are supposed to be supporting and protecting!  When it finally surfaces that the technician is out of his depth, it is often after repeated attempts to fix a current and multipart problem.  That is why at NOYNIM we believe in recruiting our people from bigger companies – we bring years of experience in large scale and complex environments to help the SMB companies we work with.  Our technical people have many top-level industry certifications, and we keep those up-to-date.  Would you trust your healthcare to a doctor who didn’t keep his credentials current?  Think of your IT in that context and it puts perspective on your IT decisions.

Tested backup solution

Backup is a funny thing, we all know we should be doing it and checking to make sure they are working… but how often we find only too late that things are not going to the right place!  I know I am supposed to keep everything on the SharePoint site, but there is still a folder on my desktop that has all my stuff.  What happens if my hard drive fails?  What if I drop the laptop on the way out to the car?  How about if someone steals my computer?  All of these situations mean one thing – I lose my files.  Business will go on but when catastrophe strikes, we often don’t know what we lose.  I lost a computer recently after months of Blue Screen of Death… I knew I needed to start backing up my important files but it takes too long and there is work to be done!  Now I only know the things I have lost when I go to find something and realize it was on the old computer.  The only thing worse than that scenario is having a backup solution in place and thinking all is ok; only to realize not all the files were getting copied over to the backup.  And we usually only know this when we go to restore something and it’s not there.  Make sure your IT company has a solid backup solution and tests it every month!

Solid foundation from the start

We all inherit things we wish we didn’t; it could be something as little as prematurely gray hair, or a previous employees that did a less-than stellar job in the position we have now, or even an IT environment that someone set up the way THEY thought things should be done.  In the latter case, there is often little that can be done about the configuration and the way things are set up.  Sure we would all like to scrap the current network and start fresh, but the business has to keep functioning in the meantime.  Also, it’s increasingly difficult to convince the CFO (or whoever holds the purse strings) that “the last guy messed it up so bad we just need to start over.”  She will look at you with increased skepticism because that’s probably what the last guy told her too!  We usually don’t have the option to press the Big Red Restart button, so we have to live with most of what we inherited.  We fix the things that are deal stoppers in our IT environment, but work around what will keep chugging along until we can convince the money people that it’s time for a refresh.

Our next article will be the last in this series of 3 and will cover additional aspects of choosing the right IT company to work with for your IT and computer system needs.

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