As IT maintenance becomes more complex, companies have found it more cost effective to contract with highly trained and experienced IT technical support to supplement or replace internal IT staff. There is no lack of IT maintenance services available, but when comparing their service packages there are several important things to look for before making a final selection.

Disaster Prevention

IT maintenance services should always have the goal of 100% uptime. There are many threats to data center operations, and the provider should be ready to not only handle problems when they occur, but to anticipate and plan for them. Think of it this way – a homeowner might be glad the fire department responds in minutes if his house is burning, but he also needs to install smoke alarms to ensure the fire is detected in the first place.

High quality support starts with a full assessment of your current IT environment to understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of your system. IT technical support recommendations show how you can fix the shortcomings in security, infrastructure management and/or data protection without undermining the parts of the structure that are working well. Outdated procedures or software are replaced with solutions tailored to your business model and company needs. Redundant systems protect your critical data from any possible threat.

Disaster Response

No disaster prevention system is perfect. When catastrophe strikes, how quickly is IT technical support going to respond? For most organizations, every minute of downtime is lost revenue. Workers sit idle, unable to perform their jobs. Customers can’t get the service they want and turn to your competitors. Your reputation is permanently damaged.

No successful company can survive working with IT maintenance services that can’t get a technician out until tomorrow. When your data center is down, you need help right now. Nor can you afford for technicians to sit around scratching their heads wondering how to handle the problem. Qualified IT technical support responds in minutes, and has pre-planned strategies for dealing with problems from a corrupted hard drive to a major natural disaster. Beware Of “Affordable” IT Maintenance Services

As companies struggle to survive revenue loss, they cut expenses. Sometimes they make short-sighted decisions such as reducing security or IT maintenance services, or hunting for bargains. The problem is that cheap support is ultimately quite expensive.

Market realities mean that IT technical support providers who charge more must be offering more, such as better trained personnel, cutting edge technology solutions and rapid response. Saving money on IT maintenance services today may mean significant lost revenue tomorrow while you wait for problems to be fixed.

In addition, there is a growing trend to hold companies legally accountable for the data in their care. Companies who don’t protect client data can be liable for costs incurred due to identity theft. Organizations that lose or corrupt information can get their clients in trouble with tax and law enforcement agencies, and those clients are going to turn around and sue for compensation. How much have you saved on that budget support now?

Added Benefits

Top level providers of IT maintenance services offer more than just the basics. Any of these companies will offer fundamental solutions such as backups or system security monitoring. What really makes the top providers shine is their set of unique features and services. Once you’ve narrowed the field of IT technical support providers to a short list of experienced and qualified candidates, evaluate how each of these companies differs from the other.

For example, data centers often get so focused on the digital side of security they forget about good old fashioned stealing. IT maintenance services which offer electronic case tracking and other anti-theft services can greatly reduce a company’s equipment losses. Examine the entire range of a provider’s offerings and you may discover services you never even thought of.

Finally, the hallmark of any truly client-oriented company is customization. Don’t let an IT technical support provider try to push packaged plans on you. Your business and IT needs are unlike any other, so insist on using companies which will create a service plan just for you.

The right IT technical support partner is an invaluable member of your team. The time invested to research the candidates and find the ideal support solution for your organization will pay for itself many times over in better service, less downtime, and happy customers.

Steve Bulmer is chief technology officer of Consonus Technologies Inc., an IT technical support provider with a wide range of high quality, customized IT maintenance services.

Author: Steve R. Bulmer
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