Outsourcing of IT services has become trendy in the last few years. Many small and medium businesses make huge savings by having their IT needs taken care of by an external company instead of establishing an in-house department.

While there are many IT support providers out there, finding the perfect fit for your business is not as straightforward as it may seem. This is especially true if your business doesn’t have at latest one tech-savvy who clearly understands your needs and the sort of services you require.

So, here are five tips to help you choose the right IT Support Provider for your business.

1.   Start With A Needs Assessment

It’s impossible to identify the best provider for your business if you don’t even know your needs. Therefore, the very first step is to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to know the exact services you’ll require.

Needs assessment requires consultations throughout the firm. Ask department heads to identify the needs within their respective departments and then merge them into one comprehensive document.

With the document ready, you can shop around looking for several providers who can handle your requirements. It’s crucial that you compare several IT providers throughout this process to get the best deal.

2.   Where Are They Located?

The location of the provider is critical in several ways. Being within the same vicinity with your IT provider means any on-site issues will be tackled efficiently. In a practical sense, receiving IT support in New York City is much easier when your provider is also located in NY. It minimizes downtimes and unnecessary delays in service delivery for your customers. This is so much better than going for a cheaper remote provider who’ll take forever to arrive and fix your problems.

Secondly, the location of the company’s servers may affect the quality of services offered by your business. Enquire about the location of their servers. Do not assume. And then determine whether they will affect your operations before signing the deal.

Finally, you want to know the location due to data storage laws as stipulated by federal governments and organizations like the GDPR.  This is even more important if you are providing legal and financial services.

3.   Do They Have Experience In Your Industry

Different businesses have different needs. While IT providers can be flexible and eager to deal with new challenges, it’s advisable that you get a company with prior knowledge and experience in offering the support your business needs.

Providers with experience within your field will also have an easier time working for you since they already know what problems to anticipate, the kind of equipment to have in stock, etc. They can even offer special assistance during specific times when they know IT issues are prevalent in the industry.

4.   Consider Security

Security is something you don’t want to compromise. Businesses in financial, legal, medical, and other similar fields must have air-tight cybersecurity. The last thing you want is the data of your company and clients ending up in the wrong hands.

That shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that security is not important for other businesses, though. Even restaurants ought to have tight security to prevent issues like ransomware, identity theft, and scams which have become very common in recent years.

5.   Scrutinize The Contract

Once you finally get your hands on the contract, take your time and go through every little detail. Look at the exact support offered by the provider. Here is a pro tip for you; avoid any company claiming to support everything. Let them point out the exact services in the contract.

Besides the services, look at other items like response time. Does the company guarantee to offer support within a stipulated time? Some providers usually grade issues from high priority to low priority. Try and sign a contract where the provider guarantees a reasonable response time for high-priority issues.

Check whether they offer continuous monitoring. This is really useful in anticipating issues and solving them before they even happen. That’s another benefit of working with a provider who understands the trends in your industry.

What if your business has branches spread across different parts of the country? Well, ask how they plan to cover all the units. Do your research and see whether they even have the capacity to handle an organization of your size in the first place.

Contract length is another thing you don’t want to overlook. Ideally, you should settle for a reasonable contract duration that allows you to get out of the deal in case things turn sour.

You must do your homework before settling for any IT provider. That’s the only way to be sure that one of the most critical aspects of your business is in safe hands. The above tips should open your eyes to see the crucial details that must be considered.