There are countless IT service providers to choose from. And, though each has its own unique logo and tagline, it is still difficult to tell them apart – especially if you’re not versed in tech-talk. That being said, not all IT service providers are the same. There are independent services and then large firms. Brand new companies and those that are years old. Then there are some that use marketing to grab your attention but make it hard to tell if they actually offer the quality services you need.

That’s why Queen Consulting & Technologies is here. We’re going to help you sort through all of the information with a list of 3 questions to ask any IT “Expert”. We put experts in quotation marks because not every self-proclaimed expert is as experienced as you’d expect.

So, without further ado, here are the questions to ask before letting an IT “expert” touch your computer.

1. What is your expert’s IT experience?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask when picking an IT service provider. You want to know their educational background, what certifications they have, and their hands-on experience. Is your “expert” really an expert. Anyone can pass themselves off as an expert with minimum experience. (Just think of all the medical “experts” whose experience is watching Grey’s Anatomy.)

While you can generally expect that an IT service company or MSP will be educated and experienced, but you should always ask. It’s okay to ask them about their certifications, how long they’ve been doing their job, and about their familiarity with the industry. Don’t forget: you can always ask follow-up questions. If you aren’t sure what a certain certification is or don’t understand a term they used, just ask. It’s highly likely that they will be more than happy to answer your questions – especially if they are true professionals.

Never hire an individual or a company without vetting them first. The hardware they will be handling is extremely sensitive and its data is the cornerstone of your business. So taking a risk or giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not something you want to do in this situation.

Bonus: If your company works with specific data or technology, make sure the expert is certified to provide those services. For example: a company that uses only Apple devices should search for a MSP that is certified in Mac Integration. 

2. What is your IT approach?

Not all companies operate the same. This is something you will want to ask and become familiar with before hiring. Some companies still function using the older break-fix model. While others use a modern proactive approach.

The break-fix model was used by almost every IT firm in the 1990s right into the early 2000s. This approach is exactly what it sounds like: you break it, we fix it. The reason that a number of companies stopped using this method is that waiting until something breaks can lead to bigger cybersecurity issues, leave you with a huge bill, and cost you a lot in downtime.

Today, most MSPs take a different approach. Their work is based on being proactive. Instead of waiting for something to break, these companies monitor your network 24/7 and are always on the lookout for threats. Using advanced software helps them identify trouble before it attacks.

Knowing this information before hiring someone is important. You want to be sure that the company you are picking will collaborate with you to make sure that your business is protected, your IT needs are met, and that you are getting your dollars’ worth.

What is your GUARANTEED response time?

This question often gets overlooked and forgotten. But it can make or break your business AND your relationship with your IT service provider.

As a business owner, you need to be ensured that you won’t be left in the dark when something goes wrong within your network. Imagine if you’re experiencing a cyber-attack or a power surge that takes out part of your server. If your IT service provider doesn’t guarantee fast response times, the cost can be catastrophic to your company. The longer you have to wait, the more damage is caused.

Work with someone that can give you a guaranteed response time. It should be built into their business model, or ideally, written into the contract you sign with them. A trusted company should be doing everything they can to build your confidence in them and ensure that they’ll be there for you when it matters most.

If you’re working with a company that doesn’t have your full confidence, then you may need to rethink that relationship.