Questions to ask when changing your IT Support provider

With over 15 years of experience of working in IT, the last decade of which has been selling Managed IT services and IT support, I have been in the unique position of coming across every flavour of IT support company, IT solution and customer requirement. On many an occasion I have witnessed prospective buyers of IT support literally bewildered by the choices, confused with terminology and with the introduction of cloud, this has just further compounded an already very “cloudy” situation.

For example, once you start exploring your options you will come across some of the following solutions. Hybrid cloud, public cloud, private cloud, on-premise, off-premise, colocation, hosted, multi-tenanted, dedicated cloud, virtual cloud, LAN over WAN solutions and the list goes on.

So how exactly does one cut through all the jargon?

Jargon buster:

  • Cloud is a very generic and misleading term that covers many different types of services delivered typically from datacentres. Datacentres are buildings dedicated to providing secure and highly available spaces to put your servers and applications
  • Private cloud or dedicated cloud is where you have a dedicated physical or virtual server/s that services your business exclusively
  • Public cloud/multi-tenanted are services like google, icloud, amazon and Office 365 where shared infrastructure is used to deliver you a service along with many others users or businesses – vanilla – stack them high, sell them cheap mentality
  • Hybrid Cloud is where there is a combination of different services. In some cases it will refer to part private cloud and part public cloud, in other cases, as with one of the IT services from Virtual IT, it means part public cloud and some local servers in your offices
  • LAN over WAN is generally where you have your own servers hosted in a datacentre and a big fat pipe connecting the two sites in order to try and replicate the speed of your local network
  • On-premise refers to servers physically sitting in your office and off-premise usually refers to them sitting in a datacentre or cloud location.

Questions that most IT support companies wished you didn’t ask

  1. Where does my data sit and what happens to my data if your business goes bust?
  2. Assuming I have been able to retrieve my data, how long will it take me to have it re-provisioned and what are the costs?
  3. How many partners are involved in the provision of your cloud solution? Often you will find there are as many as 5 different companies involved
  4. What guarantees are available to ensure that a dispute over the provisioned service will not result in loss of access to my data
  5. Will I still be able to administer my desktop and add printers, upload and down load pictures and applications or is that a function covered by the helpdesk? How long does it take and how much will it cost?
  6. What guarantees can you provide that when my users log-on to their systems on Monday morning, that they will be able to log on quickly and use the applications efficiently? What about resource hungry applications? How do they affect the user experience
  7. Can the solution accommodate any application that I wish to add or are there restrictions
  8. Can I work off line and then synchronise my desktop with cloud? This is often sold but almost never delivered
  9. Do you look after my desktop hardware and user applications? If my switch, desktop or router fails, who will resolve this issue for me and will I incur any additional charges?
  10. I have a database that interfaces with outlook. Will this operate as efficiently as it does now with it all sitting on local servers
  11. What is your process of answering IT support calls? How long before I get to speak to a technician? Is it measured in hours, minutes…seconds?
  12. What percentage of fixes do you deliver within 10 minutes?
  13. How is your 24 x 7 delivered? Is it included in the price?
  14. What happens if I need an onsite technician and do you charge extra
  15. Will you let me chose customers from your client list that I can call about your solution and service

Armed with the answers to these questions, you will be able to determine the right solution for your business and as importantly the right IT support partner.

At Virtual IT, we are not constrained by just having one solution that we will try and fit to your business. We know that certain solutions are better designed to address certain business requirements, hence why with all our consultations we first determine the way that the business either operates or needs to operate in order to run as efficiently and competitively as possible. Then and only then do we look at the technology that can deliver against those requirements and it is this analysis that ultimately makes the choice on the solution chosen.

Should you wish to find out more about the IT services we offer please do not hesitate to contact us.

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