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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Things To Ask Your IT Support Provider Before Signing

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
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Outsourcing large tasks and functions is fast becoming the thing to do in business because of the success it can offer, and the top of that list is IT support. Of course, this is an utterly logical thing to do because it will take the technical pressures off you and allow you to stay focused on the core operations of your company while saving a buck or two. But that doesn’t mean you should just hand over your responsibilities to the first IT support provider you come across.

When it comes to looking for a reliable technical support provider, you need to do your Due Diligence, and an easy way to do this is to ask your prospective providers a series of questions to help you understand what sort of fit they will be. So, here’s a few ideas to get you underway:

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pexels

What Is Your Experience With Small Companies?

You’ll learn that a lot of IT support companies concentrate on large installations and services because it allows for a better economy of scale, which means you’ll need will get lost or confused. As such, ask to see a list of their client portfolio or ask them about the smaller-sized clients they serve. This will give you a better understanding of their operations and whether they will best suit your needs.

How Do We Know You Can Protect Our Sensitive Data?

One of the most important reasons of having an IT support company come on board is to protect your data, so you need to know they are capable of doing this. The techniques hackers use these days are becoming more and more sophisticated and so it is imperative you find experienced digital data defence pros for business. This is where their record comes in. A prospective IT support company needs to be able to prove they have a fantastic track record in protecting their client’s sensitive data. If they fail to do this, then your business may fail to continue operating.

What Level of Support Will They Offer?

Most companies will ask you what sort of support you will need and then offer you a service based on that requirement, so make sure you come to a deal that suits you and that it is detailed in your service agreement. To give you a little bit of advice on this one, make sure you discuss specific areas like phone, email and chat support, as well as remote management if you have employees or contractors that work from home or on the road. You’ll also want to know how often they can visit your office to perform maintenance checkups.

How Are They With Long-Term Partnerships?

Quite simply, the longer the supplier can commit to a partnership the better fit they will be for your company. The reason for this is most network equipment lasts for years and years and years, while most support arrangements only stand for two to three. Of course, this can usually be extended to around five years if needed and if favourable. So find out what sort of agreement they prefer and then see how this will fit in with your organisation.

StrategyDriven Welcomes Ruth Todd, PhD

Ruth Todd, StrategyDriven Senior AdvisorStrategyDriven is proud to welcome Dr. Ruth Todd as a StrategyDriven Advisory Services Senior Advisor. A highly experienced nuclear power consultant, Ruth leads StrategyDriven’s information technology and cyber security services.

“We are thrilled to have Ruth join our StrategyDriven team,” says Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven President and CEO. “Her extensive knowledge and experience in information technology and cyber security adds a critical dimension to our advisory services practice and brings tremendous value to our clients.”

For nearly three decades, Ruth led the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations’ (INPO) Information Technology Division as Director, Computer Systems and Telecommunications and Director, Information Technology and Data Services. She is a world class expert on Information Technology Services; possessing in-depth knowledge of nuclear cyber security regulations, industry guidelines, and leading practices. In addition to cyber security, she is an industry expert in the fields of infrastructure, application development, application platforms, cost reduction, process improvement, computer operations, and software quality assurance.

Prior to becoming a management consultant, Ruth held several influential positions at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations; leading several nuclear industry critical technology infrastructure projects including:

  • U.S. Nuclear Industry Consolidated Data Entry Project Sponsor – served as the executive sponsor for the nuclear industry’s development of the Consolidated Data Entry (CDE) system through which all U.S. nuclear power plants report operational performance and event related information that is then securely transmitted to the appropriate regulatory and industry oversight organizations.
  • National Academy of Nuclear Training elearning (NANTel) Lead – led the National Academy of Nuclear Training elearning (NANTel) and Future of Learning infrastructure project; providing a distance learning system for the U.S. nuclear power industry which reduced costs with economies of scale, shared content, and secure student data.

Ruth further shaped the nuclear industry’s direction through her leadership of influential forums including:

  • Nuclear Information Technology Strategic Leadership (NITSL) Lead – served as NITSL’s Topical Area Lead working with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and nuclear industry utilities on cyber security related issues
  • Women in Nuclear (WIN) Chairperson – former Chairperson for the Atlanta Chapter of Women in Nuclear; active member leading the group for four years with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) as the sponsoring organization

Ruth served as the Data Center/Telecommunications Acting Director for the Georgia Lottery Corporation, responsible for the setup of all voice and data communications for the state-wide, state-of-the art lottery network. She is also a senior university faculty and committee member:

  • University of Phoenix Area Campus Chair, Humanities and Information Technology – serves as the Humanities and Information Technology Chair and Lead Faculty Member; teaching courses in strategic planning and implementation, global management, critical thinking, project management, organizational behavior and leadership, operations management, history and political science, statistics for criminal justice majors, research, and philosophy
  • University of Maryland Cyber Security Certificate Program – serves as a steering committee member for the University of Maryland’s cyber security certificate program

Ruth earned a Doctorate in the History of Ideas from Warnborough University, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix, a Master of Arts in European History from Georgia State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Economics from Oglethorpe University.

Ruth can be contacted at RuthTodd@StrategyDriven.com.