Choosing a support partner
- Ask colleagues, suppliers, trade organisations and other companies who they use.
- Carry out an online search for ‘IT Support’ in your area.
Search directories of certified experts in the technology you will need supporting. For example, for Microsoft or Apple products, check their searchable directory of partners who hold qualifications such as Microsoft certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) or Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)
- Look for:
- Evidence of relevant experience.
- Someone who can help you as you grow or your needs change.
- People who understand your hardware and software.
- References and recommendations.
- An understanding of business as well as technology.
- People who can talk your language, who explain problems in a way you understand.
- Companies with sufficient resources to meet your needs.
In the context of cyber and information security support, if you can find a provider who also holds the relevant qualifications and industry body memberships, you could use that provider for both your IT and cyber / information security support requirements.
You need an agreement in writing – or a legal contract – that defines in plain English:
- What exactly the support provider will do for you – and what they expect you to do for yourself.
- A schedule for any project work that will be undertaken, for example how long will it take to install a new server or thoroughly decommission an old one.
- A service level agreement (SLA) – how quickly will they respond to and fix problems.
- What level of after-sales support you can expect if equipment supply is part of the agreement.
- Ideally, a step-by-step breakdown of any project they will undertake.
- A clear fee structure and estimate, whether it is flat rate or based on a daily rate.