Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown has had a profound effect on all our lives and presented huge challenges to businesses great and small. Many businesses have been forced to close, and many of those able to continue trading have been forced to adapt-to-survive by adopting new technology and ways-of-working to facilitate remote operations.
While the crisis has affected all businesses to some extent, it is fair to say that the IT sector is better equipped than many to deal with the challenges posed by working from home and the need to keep physical contact to a minimum. It is therefore fair to expect a certain level of service of your IT support provider despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. This article reviews some of the expectations you should continue to have, and allow you to consider areas where your IT provider might be falling short.
So, what should I continue to expect in terms of IT support?
Uninterrupted maintenance and timely support when it’s needed. Proactive systems maintenance should continue as before. If your team are logging more support tickets than usual this may be a sign your IT provider isn’t being proactive, resulting in a greater number of issues arising.
Similarly, you should expect your provider’s Helpdesk to be manned and operational when you expect it. Your IT support provider should continue to be responsive to support tickets, and while some delay in terms of resolution times may be acceptable due to increased demand, you shouldn’t be waiting days for simple issues to be resolved.
Consultancy and Appropriate/cost-efficient solutions. If working from home is a new concept for your business (as it will be for many) then the transition could prove fairly stressful and daunting. It’s important that your IT provider is able to guide you through the process and propose solutions that are appropriately scaled and cost.
Solutions should be realistic in terms of cost, but also shouldn’t be so compromised that your business isn’t able to operate effectively. For example, if your business is ‘data heavy’ you may want to enable easy access to files through either remote access to your Office Network or by introducing a Business-Grade Cloud storage solution.
Similarly, if another priority is communication – both within your business and with clients and potential clients – your IT provider should be able to propose and implement solutions that enable video conferencing and perhaps the continued use of your office phone system by setting up cloud-based VoIP.
Ultimately, your support provider should know your business well enough and also know the technology well enough to provide solutions that are a good fit for your operation.
Solutions that are secure and compliant. Whether you are required to follow industry-specific codes of conduct and regulation or you fall under the all-encompassing scope of GDPR, ensuring that you maintain data security and operate compliantly is as important now as ever. The FCA, for example, stated that companies should ‘take all reasonable steps to meet their regulatory obligations,” in a statement before lockdown began. You should expect your IT provider to only propose solutions that allow you to meet any regulatory obligations you currently have.
The use and storage of data is among the most common compliance considerations for businesses. Your IT provider should be able to provide your team with secure, functional devices such as laptops or tablets. They should ensure that such devices are backed up, maintained and run adequate anti-malware protection. You may also want to consider remote device and application management to ensure access to data is tightly controlled – particularly relevant if you intend to allow staff to use their own devices. Your provider should be able to talk you through the options available to you.
A Disaster recovery plan. Any IT support company worth their salt should be able to explain how they’ll recover your data in the event of a disruptive event such as a cyber-attack or device damage/theft. Ask your provider how they would recover your important files, databases, applications etc if such an event were to occur while your team are working remotely.
The above list is not exhaustive by any means but it does provide a basis from which to evaluate your IT provider’s performance through the Covid-19 crisis. Many businesses outsource their IT for peace of mind, believing that their IT provider will act as a safety net to their business when disaster strikes. Therefore, if your IT provider is falling well short of your expectations at the moment you should ask yourself whether they can be trusted to look after your business in the future.
At Cloudscape, we know what technology means for your business. While some IT companies live on cloud-nine, we are very much grounded and realise that for many firms IT is a vehicle for their business and not the destination itself. We only deliver solutions that will get results and instead of dazzling our customers with jargon and shiny, new products at every opportunity we focus on plain-English guidance and an efficient, friendly and reliable support service that your business can have confidence in.