The clarinet possesses a captivating tone and versatility, but after listening to it play alone for three hours, you come to appreciate why it typically serves as just one component of a full orchestra. Likewise, your business might encounter a similar scenario with your IT provider. Engaging a sole individual for your IT needs, unless they cater to the most fundamental requirements, may fail to provide the harmonious support your company truly requires. In this article, we will explore the red flags to watch for and why it may be beneficial to explore alternative options entirely.
The Tech Wiz
When seeking assistance with gadgets, many individuals often rely on the youngest person in the room. While this approach might be effective for personal devices like cellphones or laptops, it requires a more discerning approach for business purposes.
This holds particularly true because most individuals who have graduated from high school in the past two decades possess computer skills. However, merely acquiring a few tricks in a 10th-grade computer lab does not automatically qualify someone as an IT professional. Choosing or hiring someone solely based on their age also presents a drawback: business IT requirements differ from “popular technology.” Even individuals proficient enough to work as an Apple Genius may lack expertise in areas such as networking, servers, or cybersecurity.
“I Know a Guy”
Following the same line of thought as the previous section, it appears that almost everyone has a connection to someone who claims to be an expert in technology. However, when seeking recommendations for your company’s IT requirements from a trusted friend or colleague, it is crucial to ensure that the person possesses genuine qualifications. Keep in mind that even though people may be impressed by someone magically fixing the Wi-Fi by simply unplugging and re-plugging it, this does not necessarily make them a qualified IT professional. Additionally, enthusiastic recommendations may sometimes stem from ulterior motives, such as attempting to alleviate the pressure on an unemployed relative.
This represents the most apparent solution for surpassing a one-person operation, and rightfully so. Firstly, you gain the advantage of working with a dedicated team that focuses on your company’s IT needs and remains available in the event of any issues (which are bound to arise). Regrettably, this option is not without its drawbacks.
One concern is the introduction of new personnel and the accompanying responsibilities of management. Furthermore, there is limited flexibility when attempting to minimize costs. For instance, what if your requirements fluctuate, with periods of high demand followed by slower periods? It becomes impractical to continually hire and lay off employees; instead, you must maintain a fully staffed department at all times, irrespective of its financial feasibility.
When faced with computer issues, some individuals are willing to try anything, and resorting to online help is often an act of desperation. The challenge lies in the fact that anyone can claim to be capable of computer repairs, Wi-Fi installation, or network connections. However, you won’t have certainty until you actually hire them. Unfortunately, by that point, it may be too late!
Please note that I’m not suggesting that there are no competent computer experts who advertise their services online. I simply caution you to exercise caution when hiring someone who holds the power to make or break your business’s IT infrastructure on the same day you require assistance. Conduct thorough research, rely on your best judgment, and most importantly, once you find a skilled individual who delivers exceptional results, ensure you keep their contact information for future needs!
The Online Computer Repair School Grad
Opting for a recent graduate might pose the greatest risk. While they may possess a fresh knowledge base, it may largely consist of non-relevant information, and they can be overly enthusiastic about showcasing their newly acquired skills. While everyone must begin somewhere, it takes time to familiarize oneself with the myriad problems, configurations, and complexities that small businesses encounter regularly. If possible, consider providing a new graduate with an opportunity to learn under the guidance of a mentor. However, exercise caution to avoid prematurely entrusting them with significant responsibilities.
Managed Services Providers (MSPs)
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer a solution that combines the best aspects of both worlds: the professionalism of a dedicated IT department and the flexibility of hiring a single contractor. By engaging an MSP, you hire the entire company instead of individual employees, eliminating concerns related to HR matters. Typically, MSPs provide comprehensive Service Agreements, wherein you pay a monthly fee (often lower than the cost of employing a full-time IT person), and they are available as needed to address any issues that may arise. Additionally, they often offer 24/7 site monitoring, a luxury that many small to medium businesses cannot afford.
Another advantage of partnering with an MSP is their expertise in business technology. They consistently update their knowledge of the ever-evolving technology landscape. With an MSP in place, you can relieve yourself of IT responsibilities and focus on your core competencies, while they focus on theirs. This partnership ensures that everyone is dedicated to the success of your company.
While a one-person operation may suffice for a small-scale coffee shop concert, it falls short when it comes to filling stadiums. If you genuinely aspire for your business to thrive and expand, leveraging the services of an MSP can elevate you from local underground status to an international superstar!