Complete Guide to Managed IT Support for business

If you're running a business, then the chances are that your company will need some IT support somewhere along the line. If you've never interacted with an IT professional before, it can be intimidating to know what to do and how to go about finding one. All of this information is available on the internet; however, we've created a one-stop page for all of your IT-related questions. This article provides a complete guide for understanding IT Support's importance, finding qualified companies in this field, and ensuring they have all the necessary skills for your specific needs.


Part 1 - What is managed IT Support?

Managed IT Support is a service that many different companies offer, but the general idea is always the same. You have a company that handles your IT needs and can provide everything from PC repair to network infrastructure setup. The benefits of this are twofold: you're paying for someone else's expertise while also having one less thing on your plate!

Managed IT gives you peace of mind, so you don't have to worry about an IT disaster. They'll monitor your system and make sure it's working correctly at all times, leaving you free to focus on other aspects of running a business. With IT Support, you won't have to troubleshoot your computer problems, plus you'll have someone there to back up your computer system every time something goes wrong. This means you will be able to reduce your downtime to a minimum and keep your business running at all times.

Does your company need managed IT Support?

In the age of technology, every business needs some form of IT Support. If you're running a small business without any employees, then chances are your computer system is the only thing keeping it alive! Even if your company has multiple people on staff to handle their own technology needs, there's always that one person who doesn't know enough about computers and can end up causing more problems than they fix.

Managed IT Support, whether in-house or outsourced, is necessary for any company, no matter the size. 

Part 2 - Pros and cons of in-house and outsourced IT Support

Pros of in-house IT

  1. Your data will never leave your premises.
  2. You'll have a better understanding of what's happening with your company's systems and how to fix them.
  3. It's easier to manage security issues because you know everything that goes on in your company, including who has access to what information.
  4. The skills required for managing an in-house IT team are often transferable into other fields like sales or management.

Cons of in-house IT Support

  1. An in-house IT department usually cannot provide the same level of expertise as an outsourced company.
  2. The skillset required for a successful in-house IT team is often challenging to find locally.
  3. The cost of hiring and training staff can be prohibitively expensive, especially when compared with outsourcing your IT needs.
  4. In-house teams are limited by their physical location — they may not have access to the best talent or resources available.
  5. Outsourcing allows you to focus on what you do well while letting experts take care of your technology needs.
  6. When it comes time to upgrade equipment, an in-house team may not be able to make informed decisions due to a lack of experience with different vendors and products.

Pros of outsourced IT Support

  1. Outsourced IT Support is a great way to save money.
  2. You can focus on your business, not IT problems.
  3. Your company will have access to the best technology and expertise in the industry.
  4. You'll be able to avoid costly downtime due to systems failure or malware attacks.
  5. Increased productivity by reducing time spent on computer issues. 
  6. Hiring an outsourced IT firm means you get all of these benefits without having to hire more staff, which saves you even more money.
  7. Get peace of mind knowing that your systems are being monitored 24/7, so they're always up and running when you need them.
  8. There's no risk for compatibility issues with new software or hardware because it's all managed by a professional team. 
  9. Access technical support around the clock from anywhere globally via phone, email, chat, or online help desk.

Cons of outsourced IT Support 

  1. Your IT staff could be located in a different country, which means you'll have to rely on emails and phone calls instead of being able to talk face-to-face.
  2. You won't be able to meet your IT staff or see their office space.
  3. If your IT team is located in another country, a language barrier may cause problems with communication.
  4. It can sometimes take longer for outsourced IT Support teams to fix issues because they're not physically present at the company's location.

Should you outsource your company's IT needs to a third-party provider or keep it in-house and manage the process internally with your team members?

Depending on your business's needs and the type of IT support you need, there are advantages to both in-house and outsourced IT Support. It may be more cost-effective or more manageable for some companies to maintain an in-house team because they have a large technically capable staff that can take care of all their needs internally.

For most companies, outsourcing is often the best choice because it allows them to focus on running their business. At the same time, somebody else takes care of maintaining and managing technology systems — plus outsourced teams offer access to expertise that's not available locally when it comes time for upgrades. IT companies are often more strategic in their development of emerging technology, which has flow on benefits to their clients. 

Part 3 - What does managed IT Support include? 

For any business, it is essential to have a reliable IT infrastructure in place. Managed service providers offer different levels of coverage with cost ranges that depend on the level of service chosen (basic vs. advanced).

They also usually provide standard items such as virus protection and backup solutions, which may incur additional charges above this base price point.

The different levels of IT Support

The different levels of IT Support are categorized by a class of coverage, from basic to advanced.

Basic IT Support includes things like virus protection and hardware replacement, while advanced IT Support will come with more perks such as remote desktop management or software updates. Typically, costs vary depending on the level chosen, but it is cheaper than hiring someone internally for every task that needs doing, in most cases.

How much does it cost to have a managed IT Support company?

IT support costs vary depending on the level of service purchased, as well as the type and size of your business. Finding an IT company that will tailor packages for your specific needs will save you the most money in the long-term.

IT companies that offer cookie cutter pricing for all business types will charge more because they don't customize their service to your needs. You will likely also be overpaying for services that aren't necessary for your business.

Ways that your business can save money on IT Support costs 

The top ways to save money on IT support costs are:

  • Buying a managed service on an annual contract. If you commit to paying for one year of outsourced IT Support services, the overall payment will be cheaper.
  • Negotiating rates with your provider. Some providers have discounts available for schools and other organizations, so check into this option before making any final decisions about outsourcing your business's needs.
  • Eliminating coverage for unnecessary items such as desktop software updates, remote management solutions, and 24/hour monitoring if these features are not currently needed but may become relevant later down the road when changes occur within the company that requires them (i.e., expanding).

Part 4 - What to look for in an IT Support provider

The world is changing faster than ever, and new tech innovations are popping up every day. If you're not paying attention, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the rapid expansion of technology in your business. That's where an IT provider can come in handy! The average small-business owner spends thousands per year on their own computer troubleshooting needs. Your business deserves more than that — so how do you find a reputable company? Here is a checklist of things to go through when looking for an IT provider:

What are the factors to consider when looking for an IT Support provider?

  • What type of services are they offering?
  • Do they offer a warranty with their service?
  • How long have they been in business, and do they have a proven track record?
  • What is the cost per month or year for the service level I am considering? Does it include maintenance, monitoring, upgrades, security solutions, and more (included as standard)?

What IT services do you need?

Knowing which services your business needs will help you decide what level of IT support to purchase. If your business does not have many people who are using the company's computer, then going with a basic package may be best. If more than five people are working from one place, then advanced packages would be recommended because the level of data and applications used for businesses at this level will increase.

How do you know if a company is trustworthy?

  • Check with the ACCC for businesses across the country.
  • Ask for referrals from other businesses.
  • Check and see if they are members of business communities (like Territory Proud).

    The most common mistakes made by businesses when choosing a provider and how to avoid them

    • Previous experience.
    • Warranty.
    • Costs and more. These mistakes can be avoided with careful consideration before making a decision!
    • Buying the wrong service level: Be sure you know what you need from your provider so that you don't overspend on something you won't use!
    • Using them as a one-stop shop: While some providers offer other services like backup solutions, these things often have extra costs associated with them in addition to the monthly charge for managed IT installation and support.

    Common misconceptions about IT Support from outside vendors

    • All IT support come with monthly, quarterly, or yearly charges.
    • Implementing an onsite provider would be cheaper than having someone else handle your needs remotely. This is not always the case and can cost more in the long run because of travel expenses to meet for repairs!
    • Being proactive about upgrading software will solve any potential problems that may arise down the road. While this does make some sense, it's important to note that if you're using a service like managed IT installation and support from outside vendors, they should have already added these upgrades as standard features included in their services package (for example, antivirus protection). 

    Part 5 - Common challenges with outsourced IT Support, and why they happen.

    If you're running your own company, you may have gotten used to knowing all the intricacies of your business. However, when you grow big enough, eventually you will need to hire and delegate tasks to cover different areas of your business for you. Outsourcing, while convenient and efficient, will always come with its own set of problems.

    Poor communication with outsourced IT providers

    Poor communication is one of the most common challenges when outsourcing IT installation and support.

    You may have a hard time talking to someone on their end. You could also find yourself waiting for hours for responses or other answers that you need from them. If you are experiencing these things, it's essential to call your provider and talk about improving communication with you. They should be able to offer suggestions and improvements in this area of service provision if needed.

    Lack of responsiveness

    Lack of responsiveness is another common challenge when outsourcing IT installation and support.

    When you're not being responded to promptly, it can become frustrating for everyone involved — including your business! If this is the case with your provider, be sure to point out that there are new ways they could try using their communication channels so that responses can come through faster and more reliably. For example, if email isn't giving them good results because of volume in their inbox at any given time, what other ways to communicate do they have? The phone may work better, or maybe an instant messaging service such as Skype would suit them even better! It's important to talk about these things directly so that both parties know what's working well and what needs improvement.

    Unclear expectations

    It's important to establish expectations from the start.

    If you're not sure what your provider's expectations are, ask them! Don't be afraid to detail everything in a contract to be clear on what their responsibilities and tasks will look like moving forward. When they don't know the facts themselves, it can lead to misunderstandings that make things difficult for both parties.

    Inability to handle unforeseen events and circumstances

    It's important to vet your IT provider to ensure that they know how to handle any scenario.

    An example would be if your provider doesn't have the appropriate infrastructure in place for disaster recovery, they could easily make a mistake and lose everything you're working on — which is not what anyone wants!

    Another essential thing to look at when vetting providers is how to deal with security breaches. If something like ransomware hits your servers, are they prepared for it? This means that all backups must be checked regularly, and virus protection must be updated often. Be sure before hiring an IT installation and support company that this is one area where you can feel confident trusting them with everything because otherwise, things might become dire quickly if these systems fail or get hacked.

    Limited understanding of the client's business needs, goals, and objectives

    Make sure that your IT provider understands your company's needs and goals. If your company's objective is rapid expansion, they should be aware months in advance to prepare for it. If your goals include hosting a new website, they should know this so that the website can be created and hosted with an appropriate server plan to handle its content load over time, expanding as the company does.

    The cost is too high for what you're getting in return

    If you chose a high package that included services too advanced for the level of your business, you would be overpaying for benefits your company can't use.

    If this is an issue, it's important to point out that there are a few different ways they can reduce costs and cut down on unnecessary spending. You may also want to include these suggestions in their contract so that everyone knows what can be changed or tweaked moving forward:

    • Research new providers with lower rates — some offer specialized plans for small businesses like yours at discounted prices.
    • Consolidate all of your communications channels into one place, which would help simplify things and allow for quicker and more direct communication between each party (saving time).

    Part 6 - Top considerations when changing IT Support providers

    Are you looking for a new IT Support provider? If so, there are several considerations to keep in mind. You want to make sure that your new IT Support provider offers the same level of service and experience as your old one did. This will help prevent downtime or a loss of productivity at work while transitioning over to a new company. In addition to this, there are a few things to take into consideration when changing IT Support, including:

    The reputation of the company

    The reputation of your IT Support company is a huge factor when it comes to deciding whether or not you should keep them — though this can often depend largely on how much they know about what they're doing. If an IT installation and support company has been in business for several years, they usually have more experience dealing with problems and can provide better service.

    Their customer service department 

    If they have a customer service department, you should be able to call them up as necessary and have your questions answered. If they don't, this could be a huge red flag that the company is not legitimate, as customer service is crucial for any business.

    Whether they offer after hours support 

    Support that's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is important if you want to be sure that your IT installation and support company can provide solutions when they are needed. The benefit of having 24/7 support is that you don't have to worry about any downtime for operations. This is also beneficial for whenever you have minor technical difficulties, as you'll be able to get up and running again as soon as possible.

    How difficult it will be to switch to another IT provider

    Depending on your IT installation and support company, it may not be difficult at all. Some companies offer an easy transition process in which they help you move over your data or work side by side with the new provider to make sure everything transfers smoothly. Others may charge a fee just for leaving their contract early. It's vital that you read through this part of the contract before signing, so you know what to expect.

    Their pricing plans and how they compare with others in your area 

    Don't rush to switch IT providers. Take your time and research multiple ones in your area so you can compare their pricing plans. You want to make sure that the one you choose has a package and services that will help your company get ahead of its competitors while also saving money without sacrificing any features or functionality. 

    Part 7 - Top questions to ask a prospective IT Support provider

    As a tech-savvy entrepreneur, you know that IT is one of the most important business investments. It can be challenging to find the right IT Support provider for your specific needs and wants. Here are some tips on finding the perfect IT company and what questions you should ask them.

    What is your company's mission statement, and how does it impact the services you offer or don't offer?

    Getting to know the company's mission statement will give you a better idea of what they offer or don't offer and the type of customer service provided. For example, suppose their company's mission is to provide IT installation and support services for small businesses. In that case, they likely won't fully be able to support more extensive business needs such as enterprise-level networks.

    What are your hours of operation, what days are you open, and can I get a list of all holidays that will affect my service?

    Knowing the company's hours of operation is crucial if you want to be sure that they'll be available when the IT installation and support services are needed. If their hours don't align with your company's hours, then it may not work out.

    Do you provide any IT Support for mobile devices like smartphones or tablets?

    Their IT services should be able to offer mobile device management. In todays world, lots of communication and work happens over mobile devices. Having uncompromised lines of communication between your workers can make a world of difference for productivity. 
    Mobile device management can also help with security by limiting access to sensitive company data in the event of a lost or stolen device.

    Are there any other fees that I should be aware of before signing on with your company for service?

    Hidden fees may arise because not many people are aware of all the processes that go into IT installation and support. This is why it's essential to read through all of the fine print in your contract before signing on with a new provider — as well as any cancellation policies that may be applicable.

    What is your cancellation policy?

    It's important to know what their early termination fee is and how long they will wait before charging it — as well as whether or not a deposit will be required if you want to leave before the end of the term. This enables you to prepare yourself appropriately if you need to change providers.

    Can I speak with your current clients to learn more about their experience working with you?

    It may be worth it to speak with a few of their different clients about their experience and if they would recommend the company's services. It can give you a better idea of what is involved in the process and how satisfied customers are overall. This is especially helpful if some of their clients are in similar industries as yours and perhaps encounter some of the common issues as your business does.

    How do we handle billing? Do we pay monthly, quarterly, annually? What is the best option for me financially?

    Billing is a crucial aspect of IT installation and support, which is why it's essential to know how they handle it. It would help if you asked them what their billing cycle is and which option would work best for you. This way, you can make sure that there are no surprises or extra fees when it comes time to pay your bills each month.

    Part 8 - How to compare IT Support providers

    It's frustrating to have a problem with your computer or mobile device and not know who to turn to for help. The good news is that many IT Support providers are out there, so it should be easy for you to find one who can meet your needs. Here are some tips on how you can compare these service providers to make the best choice.

    Compare their portfolio of services

    Comparing the portfolio of services that they offer is a great way to get an idea of which ones you'll need. This may include IT installation and support, computer repair, or even backup solutions for your data. It all depends on your company's needs.

    Look at their staff's qualifications

    It's important to know if they have any certified technicians who can handle all types of different issues with computers and mobile devices. An experienced staff will require little to no training, since they've probably encountered 90% of your tech problems already, and know how to resolve them. You can check their staff qualifications, to see where they may have trained and what types of certifications they have. 

    The IT industry is constantly changing in order to keep up with the latest security threats and technological advances. If a company has internal training programs for their staff, then you can be confident that they are up-to-date on any new developments.

    Check out reviews on the company and its employees

    Checking reviews is a great way to see what other peoples' experiences have been like. You can also read reviews about different company employees, which will give you an idea of how they interact with their clients and any past issues that may have come up over time.

    Ask for references from other customers to see if they are satisfied with the service

    If they have any references, you may want to consider contacting them to see if they are satisfied with the service and would recommend it for your company. These references can be past or present customers depending on what is available at the time of contact.

    Find out how long they have been in business 

    A business that has been around for a while will have more experience providing IT Support and installation, which is why you may want to choose them over a newer company.

    Inquire about any guarantees or warranties that come with the service you are considering 

    Guarantees and warranties can be helpful for those who are looking to invest in the service and want some peace of mind. Will they help cover any repairs or replacements should something go wrong with your computer's hardware or software — as well as if you experience any downtime due to their services (should be specific as to what type)?

    Consider whether you want a monthly, quarterly, or annual contract

    Depending on your payment preferences, you may want to go with a provider due to the flexibility of the service they provide. For example, suppose you're not sure what your budget will be like later down the line. In that case, it may be wise to go with a company that allows a monthly plan so that you can cancel at any time without incurring extra charges for cancellation or termination fees.

    How to compare IT quotes and proposals

    When comparing IT quotes and proposals, it's essential to know what they are billing for. Does the price include hardware, or is that something you'll need to pay extra for? What about installation — will they do everything from start to finish or just set up your devices and provide limited support in between (i.e., give you instructions on how to fix any issues yourself)?

    Part 9 - IT Support for your business

    The importance of IT Support for business is undeniable. Companies need to ensure that their data and information are secure, backed up, accessible when needed, and available on any device they choose.

    When it comes to your company's time-sensitive or confidential data, you can never be too careful.

    If you would like more information about IT or learn how our IT support can help your business, feel free to check out BlueReef Technology's IT Services.

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