Here’s a question you’ve probably never asked yourself about your I.T. service but will now probably keep you awake tonight (sorry).
If your I.T. guy went away, would you know where all the passwords, data, software licenses and disks, key codes, and other important information were stored?
And here are the follow-up questions that might keep you up for the next week:
- Do you know how to log into your server?
- Do you know the passwords to all your employee’s workstations?
- Do you know where your offsite data is stored and how to access it?
- Is your network documented so that another I.T. person could come in and pick up where they left off?
If not, your I.T. service, tech guy, or network admin department is holding you prisoner.
If they’re doing a good job, you might not mind too much; however, you should still have they document your network in case they drop you as a client, or don’t show up one day for work whether intentionally or due to an accident.
And if you aren’t really happy with their work and aren’t sure if they are doing a good job, that’s all the more reason you should have this done.
We’ve occasionally talked (very quietly) to companies who aren’t happy with their I.T. guy’s work, but stay with them out of fear. This is never a good reason to stay with an employee or service provider.
If you can’t trust the company or person with the most access and power over your computer network – the core of your business – you need to find someone you can trust. A truly professional person or provider would never hold their employer or client hostage or do any harm in handing over the “keys to the kingdom” to another employee or company.
But if you’re worried, a really good, experienced I.T. can guide you through the transition in a way that reduces the chances that person could do damage on their way out.
How to Know If Your I.T. Service Is Doing a Good Job
Another reason business owners stay with their current I.T. service is simply because they don’t know what good service really is, and therefore lower their expectations. Over and over again we’re absolutely horrified by the incompetence and irresponsibility we’ve discovered during business network audits. In 98% of the computer networks we review, we find faulty or non-existent backups, security loopholes, shoddy reporting, and flawed systems that simply cost too much to maintain and don’t support the operations of the business.
Plus, not a week goes by where we don’t get a “911 crisis call” from a business owner with a major technical disaster that could have been prevented. Why do so many businesses pay for substandard computer support? Because they don’t know how to truly verify that their network is secure and end up having to take someone at their word.
Here’s a quick quiz to know if your I.T. service or in-house I.T. department is doing a good job. If your service does not score a “yes” on every point, you could be paying for substandard support:
- Answer their phones “live” and respond to support issues in four hours or less?
- Remotely monitor your network 24-7-365 to keep critical security settings, virus definitions, and security patches up to date?
- Insist on monitoring an offsite as well as an onsite backup, or are they letting you rely on outdated tape backups?
- Do periodic test restores of your backups to make sure the data is not corrupt and could be restored in the event of a disaster?
- Provide you with written, network documentation detailing what software licenses you have, critical network passwords, and hardware information, or are they the only person with the “keys to the kingdom?”
- Do they consistently (and proactively) offer new ways to improve your network’s performance, or do they wait until you have a problem to make recommendations?
- Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
- Do they explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand (not geek-speak)?
- Do they complete projects on time and on budget, or does every project end up taking longer and costing more than you expected?
- Do they offer any guarantees on their services?
- Do they have other technicians on staff who are familiar with your network in case your regular technician goes on vacation or gets sick?
- Do their technicians maintain current vendor certifications and participate in ongoing training, or do you feel as though they are learning on your dime?
- Do they take calls from other clients while working on your network (and on your dime)?
- Do you have to manage their progress on projects, or do they provide frequent updates, status reports, and follow-up calls and e-mails?
- Do they offer flat-rate or fixed-fee project quotes, or do they give themselves a wide open playing field with “time and materials?”
If Your Current I.T. Failed This Test, We Want to Give You a FREE Network Health Check to Make Things Right
If you’re NOT happy with your I.T. and have a sneaking suspicion that your managed service company or network administrator isn’t doing the best job possible, then call us in for a second opinion. At no cost or obligation to you, we’ll come to your office and conduct a network health check to look for problems with your backup, security, speed, and any other problems that could lead to data loss, downtime, and high repair fees.
To take advantage of this, simply call us at 559-485-4335 or send an e-mail to [email protected]