We all need to start off by admitting that IT is a huge part of any company these days. Our world has become one that relies on technology for almost every single thing we do, and almost every interaction we have. So, when our IT gets confusing or frustrating it causes us stress, anxiety, and an overwhelming need to get things straightened out NOW.
Enter the IT support services companies. They exist for one purpose- to make sure your IT always stays up and running the way it’s supposed to. So naturally, when something goes wrong, we call them up immediately.
There might not be any way to absolutely ensure that you are going to have perfect IT services that never have issues- in fact, the only thing you can count on is that at some point you will DEFINITELY have IT issues- there are ways to make sure your IT support is as flawless as possible.
So here it is, our recipe for how your can get flawless (or as close to flawless as possible) IT support.
Step 1: Bring in the professionals
Sure, you can learn a lot about IT support over the internet these days. From videos on YouTube alone you could probably learn how to build a server by yourself. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need the professional help.
Think about it like a doctor’s office. Sure you could probably diagnose yourself online through one of many different sites like WebMD. You could even order the prescriptions you need. But when it comes right down to it, when you’re really sick, you go to a doctor. They went to school for this, they studied, they have the knowledge, tools, and experience to understand what is going on and how to fix it. The same is true with IT professionals.
Step 2: Listen to the professionals
When you spend the money and time and hire the professionals to work on your network, then don’t listen to their advice, you can’t really turn around and blame them when something goes wrong.
For example, your IT support tells you that you need to replace your server. It is 10 years old, it keeps giving you problems, and is showing strong warning signs of failing very soon. But, you don’t really want to replace the server. Maybe it’s a little too expensive. Maybe you figure that it has held on this long, six more months won’t make a difference. Maybe you just don’t believe your IT support and think they are just trying to make a sale. So you don’t replace the server. You tell your IT support they need to make what you already have work.
And, lo and behold, 3 months later, your server crashes. It has officially died. Now, you are left with no server, and no backup replacement server. So it takes your company three days to get up and running again. Calculate how much money you lost over those three days. Now compare that to what the cost of a server would have been three months ago.
Or another example- Your IT support tells you that once a week you should shut your computer down when you leave the office, so that when you restart it the next morning it will apply all the updates it needs to for the machine to keep running at peak efficiency. But what if you don’t like to shut your computer down? What if you think you should just log off so it takes less time to get back to work the next morning? Or what if you just forget?
And then you come in one morning and your computer is unbearably slow. Or it’s freezing up. Or just plain acting strange. You call up your IT support, and they tell you to reboot the machine. You do this, but now it is taking twenty minutes to come back up! Well, here’s the kicker- it’s trying to apply all the updates you missed by never shutting down the machine. That’s right. Six or eight months worth of updates at once. No wonder it’s having trouble.
Step 3: Checking In
Even though you may have decided to outsource your IT support, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay attention to it. We recommend having a meeting with your IT support at least once a year, if not more often.
You might be in charge of the company, but you don’t know everything. That’s why you hired those professionals to take care of the parts of the business that you can’t. So whenever you sit down to have meetings with the directors of the different departments in your organization, make sure to book a meeting with your IT support too. You need to work with them and build a plan for your technology that fits in with your overall business plan. IT is a huge part of any business. Just because you might not know a lot about it doesn’t mean you should ignore it or forget about it.
For example, if you plan to double the size of your business over the next two years, that is really important for your IT support to know. They can help you understand what that will mean for your IT, for your budget, and even how technology can help you get there faster and smoother.
Step 4: Educate
IT feels like a different world sometimes. You don’t speak the language, you aren’t familiar with the customs, and you may accidentally press a button or click a link that brings harsh stares.
The most important advice we can give you is to educate yourself. You don’t need to know as much as the professionals you hired- because, you did in fact hire them so you wouldn’t have to learn all about it. But you can’t be completely in the dark about IT either.
There are two types of really dangerous users. The first one is the person who doesn’t know anything. They go about their job diligently and don’t feel the need to learn anything about the best practices for computer use. After all, there is IT support to help if they get in trouble. This person is going to be in trouble often. Just by virtue of using a computer in their daily lives they are going to learn more and more without even realizing it. Trouble is, they will only learn the bare minimum, and not the way to be safe and smart. They will click on random links, open random emails, and give out sensitive information online. These people open themselves (and most likely the rest of the network) to a whole host of viruses, hacks, and other unpleasent problems.
The second person is the one who knows just enough to be dangerous. They read articles every so often about IT work and they like to experiment and try things out. They make changes to firewall settings. They try to re-build servers. They attempt to remove viruses from other people’s machines. Because these people want to do things on their own, they will rarely ask the IT professionals for their input before going ahead and getting started. 9 times out of 10, they end up making the problem worse, and costing the company more time and money than if the problem was just brought to a professional in the first place.
IT is such a huge part of our lives, both professionally and personally. While professionals are needed, especially in a business setting, to help keep everything running smoothly, the simple truth is that there is one person who has more control than anyone as to whether or not your IT support will be flawless- You.
What do you think is another step in the recipe? Leave us a comment and let us know!