The following are  questions to ask your I.T. services provider that will clarify exactly what you’re getting for your money.

Q1: How do you request support?

Our Answer: When you have an I.T. issue you need help with, how do you get support? Do you have to put in a service ticket via your PC? Can you call in to a dedicated help desk or do you have to send an e-mail? If they require you to enter a ticket, what do you do when the Internet is out or your laptop or PC isn’t working? Make sure they explain exactly how they handle I.T. support requests.

Q2: Do they offer a written, guaranteed response time to your requests for support?

Our Answer: The #1 frustration we hear from business owners about their current I.T. company is “They never return our calls” or “I have to wait forever to get someone to respond to a problem.” Obviously, if you’re paying for support, that’s unacceptable.

Q3: Do they take the time to explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand (not geek-speak) or do they come across as arrogant and make you feel stupid for asking simple questions?

Our Answer: Our technicians are trained to have the “heart of a teacher” and will take time to answer your questions and explain everything in simple terms. Just look in the client comments section of this report to see how our clients rave about our team of techs dedicated to supporting you.

Q4: Do they create an I.T. Roadmap and budget and meet with you quarterly to review it?

Our Answer: We conduct quarterly strategy meetings with our clients to look for areas of high risk (such as cyber security, compliance, unstable systems, old equipment, etc.) as well as new ways to help improve employee productivity, lower costs, increase efficiencies and align I.T. with your business goals. Most MSPs don’t offer these fractional CIO services, don’t know how to put together an I.T. budget and Roadmap, and simply offer basic help desk support and some maintenance, NOT strategy.

Q5: Do they bill you properly and provide invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?

Our Answer: Another complaint we hear from new clients is over billing. Either the I.T. company forgets to invoice you for something, then hits you with a giant bill to make up for months of incorrect billing, or they invoice you so randomly with confusing bills that you don’t really know what you’re paying for.

Q6: Do they provide you with a monthly/quarterly report that shows all the updates, security patches and the status of every machine on your network so you know for SURE your systems have been secured and updated?

Our Answer: Every quarter, our clients get a detailed report that shows an overall health score for their network and the updates we’ve made to their network. We reassess their security, stability and compliance every quarter to ensure we are doing OUR job in watching over critical operations and data to drastically reduce the chances of a disaster or cyber-attack.

Q7: Is it standard procedure for them to provide you with written network documentation detailing what software licenses you own, user information, hardware inventory, etc., or are they the only person with the “keys to the kingdom”?

Our Answer: All clients receive this in written and electronic form at no additional cost. We also perform a quarterly update on this material and make sure certain key people from your organization have this information and know how to use it, giving you complete control over your network.

If your current I.T. company doesn’t provide you with any documentation and they keep you in the dark about what “inventory” you have of equipment, software licenses, system passwords, etc., you are being “held hostage” and should NEVER allow an I.T. person to have that much control over your company. If you get the sneaking suspicion that your current I.T. person is keeping this under their control as a means of job security, get rid of them (and we can help to make sure you don’t suffer ANY ill effects). This is downright unethical and dangerous to your organization, so don’t tolerate it!

Q8: Do they INSIST on immutable backups for your data?

Our Answer: The only kind of backup you should have is an “immutable” backup, which means your backup data cannot be changed or corrupted. This is important because ransomware attacks are designed to infect your backups so you are forced to pay the ransom to get your data back. This is why cyber insurance policies now require the companies they are insuring to have immutable backups in place. If you’re working with an I.T. firm, they should not only know about this type of backup, but insist you have it.

Q9: Do they INSIST on doing periodic test restores of your backups to make sure the data is not corrupt and could be restored in the event of a disaster?

Our Answer: We perform a monthly “fire drill” and perform a test restore from backup for our clients to make sure their data CAN be recovered in the event of an emergency. After all, the WORST time to “test” a backup is when you desperately need it.

Q10: Do they insist on backing up your network BEFORE performing any type of project or upgrade?

Our Answer: We do, and that’s simply as a precaution in case a hardware failure or software glitch causes a major problem.

Q11: If you were to experience a major disaster, such as an office fire or ransomware attack, do they have a written plan for how your network could be restored FAST and/or enable you to work from a remote location?

Our Answer: All our clients receive a simple disaster recovery plan for their data and network. We encourage them to do a full disaster recovery plan for their office, but at a minimum, their network will be covered should something happen.

Q12: Do their technicians conduct themselves in a professional manner?

Our Answer: Our technicians are true professionals who are not only polite, but trained in customer service, communication and high standards. They won’t confuse you with “geek-speak,” make you feel stupid or talk down to you. If they have to be on-site at your office, you would be proud to have them there. We believe these are minimum requirements for delivering a professional service.

Q13: Are they familiar with (and can they support) your unique line-of-business applications?

Our Answer: We own the problems with all line-of-business applications for our clients. That doesn’t mean we can fix faulty software – but we WILL be the liaison between you and your vendor to resolve problems you are having and make sure these applications work smoothly for you.

Q14: When something goes wrong with your Internet service, phone systems, printers or other I.T. services, do they own the problem or do they say, “That’s not our problem to fix”?

Our Answer: We feel WE should own the problem for our clients so they don’t have to try to resolve any of these issues on their own – that’s just plain old good service and something many computer guys won’t do.