There are a few different forms of IT support that exist today. There is the basic residential IT support, which probably includes mostly advice from friends and family, tidbits found on the internet, and the occasional help from the Geek Squad. Then, for businesses, there is the “break-fix” support companies that you call up when something goes wrong, they come and fix it, you pay them for the amount of time spent working on the issue, and you don’t see them again until something else breaks. The third type of support is what Network Depot does, and this is known as “managed services”. Basically, what this means is that not only do companies call us when stuff breaks, but it is our job to proactively try and prevent their stuff from breaking, and to help them plan ahead. A big part of managed services is the consulting.
As technology has become a common and necessary part of our everyday lives, it has been imperative that businesses incorporate it into theirs. And, with the speed at which technology advances these days, it’s important that businesses stay on top of their internal IT network, and make sure they are keeping up the way they need to.
Let’s be clear, this is not to say that businesses need to have all the new toys and gadgets that come out every year- that would be inefficient and expensive- but you do need to make sure that your network is at least relatively up-to-date. Here are some of the main reasons why:
1. Keep up with your clients: If all of your clients are using smartphones, and you are still using one of those big, clunky cell phones from the 90’s (picture Zach Morris’s phone on Saved By The Bell) then you won’t be able to relate to them on their level. As a business, it is your job to make sure you are giving your clients what they need, and it will be impossible to do that if your technology is at least a decade behind theirs.
2. Protect your network: With new technology comes new dangers. Hackers, viruses, phishing scams, disgruntled employees, etc. all pose a real threat to your company and client data. If the hardware and software you are using to protect your network is out of date, then it is very likely easy for a hacker to infect and steal from your network.
So where does consulting fit in to all of this? And why is it so important for a business?
1. They know the vulnerabilities: Any good IT support company is going to have the skills to analyze your network and diagnose any potential problems- vulnerabilities and threats- and they will help you figure out how to fix it. If you were trying to manage your network on your own, it is a safe bet that most of the time you wouldn’t be aware that a vulnerability exists until after it has cost a serious problem for your company, and by then it’s probably too late. Managed service companies hired engineers who understand networks and current industry threats well enough to be able to identify the vulnerabilities before they cause you a problem.
2. They know what’s coming: On a similar note, IT support companies are going to be able to look to the future within their field. They keep up on new hardware and software coming down the pipe, and they will be able to use that knowledge to help you plan out future IT plans (including budgeting) so that you can keep your IT network as up-to-date as it needs to be, without scrambling or breaking the bank.
3. This is their area: Technology is a huge industry, and it continues to grow every day. There is so much information out there, and there will always be more to learn. How are you supposed to be able to make an informed decision about what is best for your company when it would take you months just to do the research? (At which time, of course, new technology will be available) the solution is pretty simple- you leave it to the experts. Educate yourself enough to be able to engage intelligently and make the decisions, but ultimately, don’t worry about the details. You hired an IT support company to handle those details for you. And that brings us to our last point-
4. You can trust them: Or at least, you should be able to. If you can’t trust the people handling your network, you probably need to look for a new IT support company. Trust that they are smart, capable people. Trust that they are knowledgeable about their industry. Trust that they care about your company enough to help you make the best possible decision for you.
One side point I want to make- Consulting should always be included. If you are signing on with an IT company and they are charging you extra for their “consulting services”, you should look at a different company.
The simple point is this one: The IT industry is too big for you to handle on your own. If you hire a good managed services company, they are going to be your eyes and ears of the industry, and they will be people you can ask about anything- from what cell phone to buy, to whether or not you should move to the cloud, to what server or firewall you need. Technology is a huge industry and it’s moving really fast. Consulting services will help.
If you want to learn more about Network Depot’s unlimited consulting services, or if you have a technology question, feel free to contact us, we’d love the chance to chat!