Here are five questions every business should ask computer consultants before hiring them to protect and manage their networks and computer systems.
Choosing the right computer consultant is challenging for most small and mid-sized businesses in the Vancouver area and beyond – and for good reason since so much is riding on the decision. Your network and your systems are the foundation of your business. You need them functioning properly and secure, and you want to make sure that the people responsible for them are trustworthy and dependable.
The following questions can help you make an informed decision when choosing a computer consultant. Use these questions, or versions adapted to your needs, to find the right consultant for your business.
While there are circumstances where you can expect to get voicemail when calling your computer consultant – such as if you were to call late at night or on a major holiday. However, you should be able to get in touch with a real person during reasonable hours, such as standard business hours. You should also expect an emergency number for after-hours situations, although whether you will for sure get a person on the other end or a message depends on how well-staffed the emergency number is and so on.
A reputable computer consultant company will offer you a written guarantee that states how long they will take to get back to you after you call with an issue. You need a guarantee because your business requires some reasonable guarantee of a timeframe for addressing the problems you encounter. Your business cannot wait for the consultant to get to the problem “whenever we get to it.”
You are paying your consultant to help you in an area where they are the experts – which can lead to a feeling of superiority on the part of the consultant. You or your employees may not know the first thing about the technology that you are using, but you shouldn’t have to. That is why you hire a consultant. Part of their customer service practice should include treating clients with respect. You and your employees should be able to call the consultant, get answers in language you can understand, and expect respectful responses each and every time you ask a question.
The computer consultant you choose should provide remote network monitoring 24/7, year-round. Such monitoring is standard in the industry because it is relatively easy to provide and allows consultants to spot problems early on. Remote monitoring lets consultants see issues and jump to address those issues fast so that your system is up and running as quickly as possible. It means less downtime for you and less in-depth repair work on the part of the consultant – so everyone benefits.
There are been multiple reports of hackers attacking IT service providers – as opposed to targeting businesses directly, they target the businesses that provide security for many other businesses. Their efforts mean that if they successfully penetrate the security of the service provider, they get access to tens, hundreds or thousands of other businesses. The problem has become so big and persistent that multiple governments, including the United States and the Australian government, have released statements warning managed service providers to be more careful with how they protect the data of their clients.
It was determined that China was responsible for some of these hacks, prompting an outcry from multiple businesses around the globe. “This was a sustained series of attacks with a devastating impact,” said Robert Hannigan, former director of Britain’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency and now European chairman at cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant.
Your computer consultant should be as focused on protecting its own network as it is on protecting yours.