You take on an IT services company because you have to. It’s like an accountant, every successful business will get to a point where it can’t perform a particular function internally and has to rely on external professionals to keep things going. The issue is only the worst IT provider offers the ‘break and fix’ service you might be expecting. Any good company will give advice and recommendations, not only for their own benefit but because your network needs the work they suggest. So why is it so difficult to listen to IT when they speak?
One of the growing ideas in the IT industry is disaster recovery but the name is a bit of a misnomer. An IT provider that only looks at recovery is missing the opportunity to identify where they can implement disaster prevention. This is the real issue at the moment. Offsite backups and virtual servers will get you back on track if something catastrophic happens but the real work, the real savings, come in doing everything possible to stop it happening in the first place. This is when you should listen to IT.
Take your hourly profit and add your hourly wage bill. That’s a rough way of working out how much you’ll lose every hour that your company is down because of a major computer problem (there’s a more detailed calculator on the Netitude website). It’s reasonable to think that having a physical firewall and anti-virus on all the machines is enough protection and you might be right but ask your IT company for a network assessment just to be sure. Some issues can wait and if there’s nothing major then at least you have peace of mind. If they find something, however, that could cripple your network remember to compare the cost of prevention against the cost of recovery. It will always pay to prevent.
It might be difficult to believe at times but an IT company is staffed by experts and professionals. There are multitudes of ‘IT trained’ individuals out there looking for work and providers can cherry pick the best talent from all ranges of skills and abilities. These aren’t bedroom hackers but experienced engineers with certification from major organisations like Microsoft and Cisco. During their employment they are expected to train and sit regular exams to improve their skills and keep pace with technology as it advances. Then you get the technicians at the top. These are the engineers who excelled, the ones who stuck with the career and kept ahead of the curve. They are often specialists in a particular field and only get seriously involved when something serious has happened. A good IT company has a stable of these engineers ready to deploy to the right place at the right time.
When your provider wants a meeting take it. When an engineer rings to say they’ve spotted an issue let them do their job. It might be an inconvenience and you might think everything is fine but when your network is running smoothly everyone benefits. When your network goes down these are the guys still in the office at 3AM trying to get it back up and running.