Part 2: Outsourcing IT Services: What to Look for in an Outsourcing Provider

One of the greatest things about owning and running a small business is the knowledge that you are in control and that it is your expertise that keeps things going. The bad news in this is that despite our best efforts, some parts of a business are often too big or too unfamiliar to handle on our own. For these types of situations, frequently the best course of action is to outsource the job to an outsider, but which one?

Before you entrust your business’s equipment and data to an outsider, you should make sure that not only is that provider good at what he does, but can also protect your data assets. Here are a few questions that you should ask:

1. Do you have experience serving clients of a small business in my industry? Work with a business that is identical to yours isn’t important, but having a good familiarity with your industry could prove beneficial. You should also make sure that your provider understands the unique challenges that small businesses face, and that he can provide answers to them as well as help you exploit opportunities.

2. How can I count on your business being around for a while? Nobody can tell the future, but the past is a good indicator. Stability is critical. When a provider has some stability you have a greater chance that he can and will serve you with future problems or continue his support with things he has done in the past. You and your service provider should consider yourselves partners. Nothing less will do.

3. What standard such as 24/7 support, cloud based backup, virus monitoring and elimination do you offer your clients? It’s good know that an outsourcing service knows his entire business, not just parts of it.

4. What measures do you provide to ensure that my business data is protected? This is very important, because if your service provider’s security can’t be assured, find somebody else. Taking a risk isn’t worth the trouble.

5. How difficult would it be to move my data to another service provider or inhouse? Make sure you aren’t locked in to a particular vendor. For a variety of reasons, you might want to be able to move your data from one person to another, and some vendors won’t do that. Make sure that you are doing business with someone who will.

All of these questions may open discussions about similar topics that might be of concern, but these should serve as a good start to choosing the best IT outsourcing partner possible.

Posted on: 01.20.15