So, you’re running a very successful company. You and your team have the latest devices and software at your disposal. Everyday, you and the people on your team are using multiple devices and software tools to access, process, share, and send all kinds of data across your network – both internally and externally. And, almost all of that data – especially when it comes to your operations and customers – is either proprietary, private, or both. In all of these cases, the data going across and through your network is sensitive.
What if this sensitive data was compromised? How would that impact your company? Your customers? At a minimum, you’d be shut down for a day. And, in the unfortunate case of customer data being compromised, your company could be shut down for much longer, even forever. The goal and responsibility of a company like Snappy Computers is to protect you from this ever becoming a reality.
So, we’ve compiled 4 critical questions to ask before you decide who to hire as your Managed IT Services provider.
The Right Questions to Ask Before Hiring A Managed IT Services Provider in Memphis.
1. How Do You Handle Data Backups as a Part of the Managed IT Services You Provide?
Before hiring a new IT company, make sure they are able to fully explain – in a way that you understand – they data backup system.
What is a data backup? A data backup simply means making a copy of all your business’ digital information.
What happens to your business during a catastrophe? What if you lose power? How will you get your business up and running? This is where data backups come in. Ask a prospective IT company how they would handle these types of problems. Discuss with them, in detail, how often they backup. Do they back up locally, to the cloud, or both? Ask them about concepts like recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). RPO refers to the most recent version of your data prior to a disaster. RTO is how much time a certain application can go without functioning before your business suffers irreparable damage.
Data is the new oil. It’s the most precious commodity in today’s business environment. Make sure your IT company explains their backup options in terms you clearly understand.
2. How Do You Secure and Protect The Integrity Of Our Customers’ Data?
According to a recent study by GIACT, 47% of US consumers reported being the victims of identity theft. In light of the recent surge in unemployment, thieves are even trying to scam hard-working people out of unemployment.
When speaking with an IT company, ask them about anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware solutions. Ask them how often they update these applications. Verify that any payment methods going through your network are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). But don’t stop there.
Tell the IT company that you want your employees trained on best practices for protecting customers’ data. Your employees are the ones who see your customers and their data each and every day. The more knowledgeable they are about identity protection, the more secure your customers’ information.
3. When will you be available to us?
The goal here is to see if the prospective Managed IT Services providers understands that even the smallest IT glitch can cause you and your company significant downtime and a loss of revenue you can’t get back.
It’s frustrating enough to deal with the inconvenience of IT issues; you don’t need the added aggravation of slow-to-respond IT support. That’s why you need to hire a provider that can offer solutions or even in-person services that kick-in during any unexpected issues. When your business is open they need to be available?
TIP: If you company doesn’t conduct business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then you don’t need 24/7 support availability. This can be very expensive. So, watch out for the companies who claim that you need this type of support. This simply isn’t true. That being said, you need IT support to be available during your normal hours of operation. Be sure a prospective provider can be there during those normal hours and keep your business running smoothly during those hours.
4. How Proactive Are They With Monitoring Your Network?
Have you ever received a call or text from your bank about a suspicious transaction? Chances are you didn’t even know about it until your bank told you! That’s proactivity.
You should expect the same from a Managed IT service provider. Ask them how often they check for updates for your network security. Ask how often they test your backup data to make sure it isn’t corrupted. Ask them what solutions they use to monitor and address potential vulnerabilities or security breaches.
You have a business to run. You don’t have time to troubleshoot IT problems much less a major security breach that compromises important and sensitive data. You don’t pay your employees to spend hours on the phone trying to get something fixed. Instead, you should be looking for a IT service provider that will call you. That informs you of the problem and that it’s being fixed or has already been fixed. That’s proactivity. And that’s what you deserve.
As a business owner, you don’t need to know every single thing about technology or your network systems. But, you do need to know that you’ve chosen a company that knows what is best, is determined to protect your business, and is invested enough to be proactive.
Look for IT service providers who are patient enough to coach you through their processes, who will offer meaningful explanations of what’s happening and what’s being done. You might not have all of their knowledge, and you don’t need it. But you should have access to it, if you ask for it.
You business and your customers have a right to feel confident that things are secure. You need to be able to trust your IT professional. Asking IT service providers questions like these will help you establish trust OR gauge where it may fall short. If you don’t understand something – ask about it.