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A very important decision that every Business Executive makes is who to trust to manage and maintain their business’ critical information and technology infrastructure. I constantly hear horror stories of how their existing IT Services Company doesn’t answer the phone when they call, or they get billed heavily to repair a virus because the technician was there for 5 hours. Small Businesses have been dealing with substandard IT Support Companies for a long time, and they don’t have to.

There are three fundamental attributes that are required to support a Small Business’ technological operations and business goals. In most cases, you can find a company that meets all these criteria and will probably pay the same you do now for hourly support with a substandard organization.

First, the IT Support Company should have more than one person on staff. It might not seem important, especially if your spouse’s cousin is supporting your network on his spare time. In case a problem occur while he is at work or servicing another customer? You will ultimately wait for him to be available and you will lose revenue, employee productivity, and possibly customers.

Next, they should always answer the phone when you call their office. A true Network Support Company not only has additional people on staff but always answers the phone when you call. Some go as far as having a 24/7 help desk to provide end user support for small business employees. These organizations are more suited to support companies that value employee time and do not want computer downtime to negatively impact employee productivity.

Finally, make sure they are certified by Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix or any other major IT Vendor. When an IT Support Company is certified, they have proven the ability to implement and manage your technology. Usually, they have more than one technician available and are constantly training and keeping up with the newest technologies. This ensures that they always have the best recommendations for your specific environment.

In summation, these three characteristics may seem like no big deal, but you would be surprised how many organizations fall victim to an IT Support Company that promises them the world to deliver a shoe box. Remember to always pick a company with more than one person on staff, that always answers the phone, and which are certified by the technology they will be supporting. This way you will avoid the costly mistake of hiring a dud.

Finally, it’s good to hire a local IT support firm. Outside firms should only be chosen when you have had positive previous experiences with them. It is acceptable to choose a firm which is located outside of the city when you have the tools and knowledge that most IT support firms handle. In this case, these IT support firms can be used solely for confirmation. If you insist on using remote assistance, there are still plenty of options to choose from for all types of jobs. In fact, the choices go up once you loosen the limits you originally applied to the circumstances.

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