When you’re running a business, having an unexpected IT meltdown can set you back days, even weeks. Trust us, it’s not a good place to be. It’s essential that your IT support plan is flexible and provides the right level of cover, whenever you need it. You want a service that is reactive, robust and ready to talk your language, and doesn’t just mutter incoherently about IP addresses. Here are some key things you’ll need to consider when upgrading or reviewing your IT support plan.
A useful way to maximise your current IT support plan is up the ante and actually communicate with your IT service provider. Talk to them about the evolving needs of your company, tell them what you think of their service so far and ask if they have any growing IT or security concerns.
Remember, communication is a two-way street: you might get things out of it you didn’t even know you could have. Picking up the phone (or sending that follow-up email) could be the start of a whole new way of doing business.
Reviewing communication channels is a good place to start your IT reviews. We suggest you break it down into the following:
⦁ Quality – do you get the standard robotic one-liners, or does your IT support team actually communicate with you like a human being? Do they meet your business’s communication values?
⦁ Response time – now this is essential: can you actually get hold of anyone? Is it emails, or phone calls only? Can you escalate things quickly? Is there an out-of-hours service you can use? What’s the emergency response time?
⦁ Service Level Agreement (SLA) – this document might have got buried by now, but it’s worth delving it out again to check what was originally agreed and whether it needs updating or not.
IT security is something that is increasingly important, as the countless hacking scandals of 2015 proved. Cyber security is something that you want properly managed, as data breaches can get you and your company into a lot of trouble. You should consider the following:
⦁ How secure is your data? Is it encrypted? What about firewalls?
⦁ It’s important to be clear on this and take suggestions on board. A security meltdown is NOT something you want to deal with in 2016.
⦁ It’s important to have backups, which is usually a standard measure; but what about their accessibility and frequency? It’s a good idea to clarify how long it will take you to actually access your data in an emergency.
⦁ Ask about your Disaster Recovery Plan to see what is in place in the case of an IT emergency.
It’s important to have a support plan which caters to your company’s growing needs and requirements. There will be times when you will need more support: when you add new users, install new software or install new programs. Even if you are on a standard hourly plan, you should have the option for extra add-on support for emergencies and for busy times. If you need more flexibility, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Top tip: Consider whether you might be better off with a service upgrade, especially if you foresee expansion in your near future.
IT doesn’t necessarily stop at simply supporting your business with its day to day IT needs, it can also help you drive your business forward. It’s worth finding out whether you could get any strategic IT planning or IT procurement advice and research.
It can be hard to decide where exactly to draw the line with your support, but generally it is an idea to review where you are on an annual basis so that you can spot any issues quickly- before they snowball out of control.
If you would like to talk to a member of the Dial a Geek team about your support plan you can send us a message or call us on 0117 369 4335, or if you are interested in taking out a new plan you can fill in our quick form.
Thanks to Kayleigh Toyra from GWS Media for contributing this article.