Most entrepreneurs benefit from having a reliable IT support partner to help plan computer network systems, troubleshoot issues, and ultimately keep their technological assets operational. But finding a reputable, competent IT support firm can be challenging.

What are some “green flags” – or positive indications that an IT firm is worth working with – that can guide your decision?

Green Flags to Look For in Your IT Support Provider

These are some of the green flags that indicate you’ve found an IT support partner worth hiring:

  1.       They have a wide range of capabilities. First, take a look at their capabilities. If you’re looking for a technology partner, you probably want one capable of managing almost all of your technology needs seamlessly. Ideally, this firm can help you with procuring technology, setting up your systems, planning for data security, providing ongoing monitoring, and troubleshooting issues as they arise. Even if you don’t need all these forms of support, the fact that the firm is capable of all these things means they have a robust team of professionals with different types of experience available for its clients. While there are situations that could justify hiring a niche IT firm with limited capabilities, a generalist is usually a better bet.
  2.       They have glowing reviews and testimonials. Next, take a look at any reviews and testimonials you can find. What do past and present clients think of this IT firm? Are these people happy with the services they’ve enjoyed? Are they satisfied with the price they paid for them? If there are any negative reviews, analyze the specific criticisms; what issues do people have with this firm, if any? Are there any case studies that make an even more persuasive case for hiring this organization?
  3.       Their services are pricey, but reasonable. Cybersecurity experts are paid well – and for good reason. Being competent in this field requires you to understand a myriad of different technologies, apply your experience to unique situations, and pay attention to the latest developments on an ongoing basis. Other areas of technical competency within an IT firm require similar levels of dedication, education, and experience. Accordingly, you get what you pay for in IT; while it’s important to shop around for reasonable prices, you should also be prepared to invest in this service.
  4.       The contracts make sense. Read over the contracts before you move forward with any firm. Many IT firms have complex contracts that lock you into long-term agreements with terms that are hard to understand. If this IT firm offers simple, straightforward, transparent contracts, take it as a good sign of a positive working relationship moving forward. Even simple contracts need to be reviewed carefully, so make sure you still do your due diligence.
  5.       There are many available technicians. Businesses of all sizes are struggling with IT skill shortages, often due to layoffs or cuts. If you run into a technical issue, the last thing you want is to be put on hold or entered into a queue because your IT firm is understaffed or overloaded with tasks. That’s why it’s a green flag if there are many available, highly trained technicians working for this institution. The more technicians there are, the less likely you’ll experience a bottleneck and the faster you’ll get service when you need it.
  6.       There are scalable plan options. You may have a solid idea of your business’s current IT needs, but how are those needs going to change in the future? This is a difficult question to answer, since none of us can predict the future. However, if your IT firm offers scalable plan options, you don’t need to worry too much about the future; you can simply upgrade your plan if and when you need to. Scalable plan options are also a sign of an IT firm interested in providing the best fit services for each client.
  7.       They have quality educational content. When you visit this IT firm’s website, do you find high quality, educational content? Technical topics can be difficult to explain to a layperson, and many firms don’t even bother trying to explain them. Better content and better communication of these topics will lend themselves to a much better professional experience.
  8.       They respond right away. When you reach out to this IT firm, for a quote or more information, how quickly do they respond? If they respond right away, it means they take their clients seriously and they prioritize responsiveness. It’s another strong green flag that you should consider moving forward, if everything else checks out.

The Ongoing Evaluation

Remember that hiring an IT support partner isn’t the end of the road. Work closely with your IT firm, asking lots of questions and working to better understand what they do, so you can provide continued evaluation and make changes if/when necessary.