Choosing an IT Services Provider

When it comes to choosing an IT consulting and services company, there are many things you should consider:

Services
Before you contact any companies or review price quotes, sit down and make a list of all the services you require.  If you’re switching from an in-house IT department to an outsourced or IT management consulting solution, this should be fairly simple.  If you have only minimal experience with IT in general, it may help to read up on the services businesses similar to yours require.  Consider your location, your server and software requirements, data storage needs (especially important for businesses that are legally required to store documents for a specified amount of time) plans for expansion, and other concerns.  Do you require on-site support, or is remote web hosting for services sufficient?  A regional provider or a company with a local office might be a better fit than a large company that performs only off-site maintenance.  Remember, you can split your needs among multiple providers.  Using a smaller data storage company and a separate server host might be a cost saving solution.

Cost
Budget constraints are obviously a factor in any outsourcing decision.  With IT services, costs can be hard to pin down because they vary so widely- keep in mind that an on-site staff member can draw $50,000 or more yearly in salary for very basic IT duties.  While most outsourcing companies charge a fraction of that for basic services, on-site support and frequent access are not cheap.  Make sure your business needs the support you are contracting for, and make sure your budget can accommodate the needed services. 

Security

Security is a paramount concern, especially when it comes to information technology outsourcing.  The business you hire will have access to all of your company’s most sensitive information- often, they are responsible for managing or storing the information that is foundational to your business.  Simply checking references isn’t enough- make sure you choose a company with an exemplary security record by inquiring about employee background checks, encryption for data storage and computing, and the specific mechanisms they will use to ensure that your data is secure. 

One of the best ways to choose a reputable company is to compare and research all of your options.  IT providers service big businesses, smaller niche industries, and virtually everything in between- make sure you evaluate all the possibilities before settling on an IT provider. 
 

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