As 2017 comes to a close and all eyes turn toward the New Year, one technology industry trend continues to come into focus: the way business managers and executives have had to get involved in day-to-day IT operations. Chalk it up to nonstop data breaches and software vulnerabilities. Or the ongoing threat of ransomware. Or the targeting of high-level email addresses and decision-making processes through social engineering.
Either way, a recent Techaisle survey found that in 62% of small businesses, managers and executives were responsible for setting policies defining who has access to important business data. When it comes to setting policies for the use of personal devices — BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, in tech parlance — the percentage of managers and executives exerting day-to-day control is even higher.
Which begs the question: wouldn’t key business decision makers be better off focusing on client retention, customer service, and revenue growth than IT policies? Wouldn’t it make sense to let those well-versed in technology handle the management of technology, instead of asking increasingly stretched thin executives and managers to add it to their list of daily to-do’s?
Of course, hiring a dedicated IT provider isn’t easy — which is why CMIT Solutions has compiled the following list of 10 questions to reference when you are ready to consult with an outside expert. It is possible to find the enterprise-level support your small to medium-sized business deserves, at a price that will fit any New Year budget.
1) Do you have 24/7 support?
Instead of waiting around for technology problems to arise, the best IT service takes a proactive instead of reactive approach. That means 24×7 monitoring to maintain a constant watch on your company’s desktops, laptops, mobile devices, networks, servers, printers, and more, all with the goal of eliminating downtime.
2) How extensive are your security solutions?
In today’s dangerous online world, with viruses, data breaches, and other hacks abounding, a basic firewall isn’t enough. Elite-level support includes anti-virus, anti-malware, web filtering, IP traffic analysis, and other layered network security solutions that can create a protective “umbrella” around your systems. You might not “see” these services — but when the threat of infections and ransomware decreases, you’ll feel the difference.
3) Do you have a help desk at your disposal?
Whether your business consists of two employees or 200, you deserve IT support that’s always there and always ready to resolve any issue. At CMIT Solutions, we employ more than 700 technicians at varying levels who have decades of experience solving every IT problem under the sun. We are committed to the best customer service in the industry, which allows us to stay on the cutting edge of IT security and give our clients the support they deserve.
4) Do your IT solutions meet your business’ real-world needs?
Many IT companies tailor their offerings to the demands of vendors or the whims of revenue-generating propositions. But the best kind of solutions should match the specific issues you face today — data storage and accessibility, anti-spam and anti-ransomware protection, mobile technologies — not the ones that may or may not emerge at some point in the distant future. Any good IT partner should be able to understand your business, identify its struggles and pain points, and relieve them through the targeted deployment of functional tools that can help things run smoother.
5) Are the human beings that use your software and hardware protected?
The correct answer is “all of the above.” Yes, computers, networks, and devices represent the bread and butter of any IT company. But often forgotten in the conversation on security are the employees who use those devices day in and day out. That’s why acceptable use policies, comprehensive training, and other support that focuses on the human element of your company are so important.
6) Do you meet any industry and government compliance demands?
Whether you operate in health care, finance, legal, or other regulated industries, compliance done right is a critical must for any business. From secure data storage and transmission to encryption, backup, and disaster recovery, a good IT provider will go the extra mile to ensure that your business is up to speed with industry and government requirements. Those kinds of quality offerings can make the difference between business success and civil and criminal penalties for a failure to protect data.
7) Does your IT provider serve businesses of different sizes?
Beware any IT firm that only focuses on one sphere of the market, whether that’s a big company only servicing big companies or a one-man shop only working with similar sized companies. Many large IT firms don’t treat their smaller clients with the same level of dedication and respect as their larger ones, and most of those small break-fix shops can’t deliver the kind of proactive solutions you need to stay secure in today’s dangerous digital world.
8) Does your IT team have a nationwide reach?
In addition to our technical staff, CMIT Solutions has more than 170 franchises across North America, which means we can support multi-office setups or staff members working in multiple time zones. We’ve even had franchise partners collaborate to help employees who lost a laptop in one airport while traveling to another one recover their data and their devices.
9) How does your IT provider conduct research and handle development?
Since technology is always changing, an IT company is only as good as its vision for the future. Conducting primary and secondary research, testing and validating new solutions, and always staying a step ahead of cybersecurity issues and unforeseen challenges are the hallmarks of a strong IT provider who has your best interests at the top of their to-do list.
10) What exactly is your IT provider doing for you?
Whether it’s the basics like proactive monitoring and data backup or more involved solutions like cloud storage, videoconferencing, file sync and share, or mobile device security, your IT provider should be able to do exactly what you need. At CMIT Solutions, we consider ourselves the human intelligence behind information technology — so we go above and beyond just the per-hour contractor that only fixes computers when they break, or the voice on the other end of the line that does nothing but put you on hold.
In this unpredictable digital world, you deserve a trusted partner that takes a proactive approach to your technology. At CMIT Solutions, we’re the fellow small business owner that understands your day-to-day needs. We’re the built-in support staff that’s always there when you need us. And when something goes wrong with your IT infrastructure, we will stand by your side and work diligently to resolve the issue, no matter how long it takes or how hard the job is. That’s the CMIT Promise — you won’t find one like it anywhere else.
Have questions about how you can get the IT support you deserve for 2018, at a price you can afford? Contact CMIT Solutions today.