It may feel like an unspeakable luxury, but if no one on your staff knows much about IT, then engaging an IT support company could be one of the best things you do for your business.
You can buy just the services you need, at levels you can afford. You can opt for only the most basic fire-fighting service, or bring them in on a consultancy basis to advise on IT strategy and the development of IT resources in the business.
So what sorts of things could you expect an IT support company to do for you?
The basic help desk service keeps things working. If a monitor goes on the blink, or a PC starts making a funny noise or refuses to fire up, you can put a call (or an email) through to the Help Desk and they will sort you out. These days, most problems can be fixed by an engineer logging on remotely and ‘taking over’ your computer; if something’s physically broken or you can’t access the internet, only then will a site visit be necessary.
One of the best things about outsourcing is that you can often delegate the most tedious and routine tasks. In the world of IT, the most tedious and routine of all is the daily back-up. This actually has enormous complexities so it’s good to have an expert on the case to make sure that things run smoothly every day and that you can restore from the back-up should the need arise.
It is becoming less and less cost-effective to repair almost anything these days, especially in IT. But some things, such as replacing a hard drive or putting a new screen on a laptop are worth doing – and your IT support company can do it for you.
Nowadays, network maintenance does not involve checking the physical condition of the server and associated devices. It’s all about keeping the installed operating software systems working correctly.
Even the simplest software needs a surprising amount of attention lavished on it. Updates need to be installed and security patches applied: all rather worrying for an amateur, but just in a day’s work for your IT support company’s engineers.
They will also help with hardware upgrades, such as memory extensions or increasing your wifi range.
Tempting as it may be to pop down to PC World and grab yourself a bargain, it is usually better to get some objective, expert advice before buying anything – and that’s what an IT support company can provide. They will make sure that you get the right kit that does exactly what you want, and works with the rest of your network. Buying a computer with the wrong operating system that won’t install on your network can be an expensive and frustrating mistake.
You may just buy a few hours of Help Desk time from them normally, but if you want to think more deeply about how to develop your network to meet the needs of the business, your IT support company should be your first port of call. They have experience of a wide range of systems; they keep up-to-date with new technology; and – best of all – they understand your business.