10 Tips for Choosing an IT Support Provider in NYC

The president of a New York-based financial firm once told us that searching for a good, local IT support company felt like falling into a black hole. The options can be overwhelming and if your business is new to the outsourced IT world, it may be difficult to identify exactly what you should be looking for. You won’t find a shortage of New York IT support providers, but you will find big differences – ranging from service offerings and capabilities; to expertise and experience; to responsiveness, quality, and price.

Here Are Ten Tips That Can Help You Narrow the Field – And Choose an IT Provider That Fits Your Business:

1. Find a Local IT Provider

While many IT providers may claim to serve the New York City area, this vague reference can cover a significant geographic footprint. If a provider’s consultants work out of an office in New Jersey or New England, their availability to serve you will be limited by travel time and distance. In an emergency, a provider’s quick in-person response can help you minimize losses in productivity – and even revenues. Look for a provider whose consultants work within the city limits so that travel means across town, not across state lines. For even more continuity, ensure your IT company has a bench of back-up consultants for coverage in case of sickness or vacation. On average, businesses lose over two weeks worth of work due to day-to-day technical issues, so ensuring that your IT provider is in town and that a help desk is open 24/7 to meet all of your daily IT needs is essential.

2. Document Operational Expectations

When it comes to describing what’s included in an IT service, talk is cheap. The IT provider should offer a clear, written definition of the services to be furnished. A contract or service agreement will include measurable details of what you can expect in terms of the service performance and quality – for instance, exact hours of help desk operation; response times for issue resolution; or service availability parameters for a cloud-based offering. In addition, compensation for excessive downtime or other breaches of contract also should be documented. These clear guidelines will help you understand exactly what a service provider can offer your business and your particular industry requirements.

3. Avoid Quick-Fix IT Solutions

Putting a workaround in place may keep users productive and processes working in the short term, but that's not the type of IT that will keep your business secure and stable in the long term. Cyber hackers are also becoming more sophisticated and increasingly targeting SMBs, which means your technology partner should prioritize infrastructure improvements and the same type of security barriers that protect Fortune 500 companies. Be sure the IT provider has the expertise and integrity to provide solid solutions that will correct issues once and for all and isn’t relying on band-aids, bubble gum, and duck tape to keep your business running. 

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4. Gauge Interest and Expertise

Expertise in one area is good, but having multiple areas of expertise can truly help your IT reach the next level. Your conversations with an IT provider should be focused on YOU. Their understanding of your business objectives, how your workers work, the processes and supporting technologies you have in place is essential, and will help them align your business processes and goals with the appropriate IT services and capabilities. If they’re more interested in selling you a one-size-fits-all solution or pushing you to the latest technology without first determining its fit for your business, move on to the next provider – quickly. 

5. Anticipate Fluctuating IT Needs

Obviously, most businesses start out with the intent to grow, and with New York having the third largest economy in the United States, businesses need an adaptive strategy. Along the way, many factors can influence – or impact – that growth. As your employee and customer bases expand and contract, so do your technology needs. Seasonal businesses have natural ups and downs in terms of user and customer activity – with reciprocal fluctuations in technology resources. An IT provider should be able to scale their IT services, support, and associated costs to support your shifting business needs - especially in the healthcare, life sciences, and tech industries, which are the fastest growing in New York. Having a good IT provider who can adapt and pivot will help your business in the long run. 

6. Well-Vetted Technology Partner Network

Many technology vendors, including Microsoft and Cisco, insist that IT experts be trained and certified to install and maintain their products. Since your IT needs will span everything from communications technologies to server and software technologies, specialized skills are essential. Look for an IT provider whose consultants are vendor-certified across multiple technologies. These certifications and partnerships verify that they are trained on those vendors’ latest technologies and possess the proper skills and utilize best practices to implement and maintain those vendors’ solutions. 

7. Insist on Local Referrals

An IT provider that performs work in New York City should be able to offer many local customer references. Request a list, start calling, and ask questions. This due diligence will pay off, giving you valuable, customer-based perspectives on the provider’s performance, quality, experience, and overall services. Pay particular attention to business references from companies that are of similar size and in the same or similar industry as yours, since these will relate most closely to the work you are seeking from the provider.

8. Best-Fit Solutions for Your Business

Did you know some companies simply aren’t suited for the cloud (not yet anyway)? An IT provider must be willing to understand your business and your specific goals in order to implement the best technology solutions for your business – not just deliver the latest technology. A trustworthy IT company will accomplish this with a thorough evaluation or assessment of your IT environment as well as your goals, which looks different for every New York business. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t trust a surgeon to operate without an x-ray or physical first, would you?

9. On-Demand Support

There’s no good time for technology to fail, a system to go down, or software to glitch, especially with tech start-ups booming in New York. Find an IT provider whose services include critical 24/7 access to network operations support. Better yet, see if they also offer proactive services such as remote monitoring that can detect – and enable you to resolve potential issues – before they happen.

10. Create a Redundant Network

Backing up your data is important, but many companies back-up to devices within the same office space. That’s great – until a fire destroys your building, or flooding restricts access to the region. Many IT providers offer geo-redundancy options that allow you to back up your critical data to a second device that’s located somewhere other than your office – and often, in a completely different region of the country. These options provide additional protection and remote access to your valuable data when you need it. 

When researching for your IT support provider, you want a company that's in it for the long haul. Spend some time combing over prospects' sites, review their leadership team, partners, awards and industry recognitions, and certifications. With more than two decades of experience, the iCorps IT consulting team is dedicated to delivering excellence to our New York customers by staying ahead of market trends and understanding new technologies that could impact their business. For more information, consider reaching out to an iCorps expert and requesting a free IT consultation.  

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