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Network Support - Choosing A Network Support Company

Nov 28, 2007
Choosing a network support company can be tough.

Here is 10 top tips for choosing a great network support company.

1) A clear understanding of your needs.

Your Network support partner should understand your requirements. No hidden agendas, no jargon , just an understanding of your individual needs.

2) Website.

Is their website professional? Do you understand it? If it doesn't look too professional, it's worth asking yourself why? They are IT professionals after all!

3) Honesty.

Honesty has to be one of the most important qualities of an outsourced partner. If they advertise 10 offices, visit a couple of them. If they say they have 50 engineers, check to see they do. If a company is prepared to be dishonest to get your business - they are likely to be dishonest to keep it.

4) Ask to see the companies professional qualifications.

Are they a Microsoft partner?

Ideally they will be microsoft partners and a proven track record of ability as judged by Microsoft, not themselves! Do they have Cisco or Juniper accreditations which demonstrate their understanding of firewalls, network security and networking?

5) Comparing apples with oranges.

Every provider has their own pricing model. Some are honest and upfront, others sound amazing but often have hidden costs. It's impossible to make a choice when comparing apples with oranges. So create a template request form (similar to the one at the bottom of this article) and ask a selection of IT providers to answer your questions. Then you can compare apples with apples!

6) Negotiate.

Don't be afraid to negotiate. Obviously the larger the potential contract the more leverage you will have - if they really want your business then why not let them work for it.

7) Purchasing equipment.

Many IT providers make a significant amount of money out of selling 'kit'. If you are going to listen to a partner's purchasing advice, you need to be confident they don't have their own agenda. You need to be certain that the advice is solely to benefit you and your business. Always ask if you can purchase your own hardware and software, even if this is something you don't particularly have the skills or want to do. If it's compulsory to purchase through them, this should ring warning bells.

8) Pay them a visit.

If possible, go to their offices for a meeting and ask to look around. Remember, you are looking for someone to look after one of your most important assets - if they don't look after their own, will they look after yours?

9) Location location location?

Many companies can perform a number of IT related activities remotely - so they could be based on the other side of the world. But there is always a need, no matter how occasional, to have an on-site engineer present. You may even warrant a permanent on-site engineer, although that is only really necessary if you have 50 or more users, or have very demanding users.

10) How will you know they are performing well?

Some companies will happily provide you statistics about their performance; they only do this because they are confident in the quality of their services. You may choose to never look at any statistics, but the very fact they are being offered is a reassuring point. If they don't offer you this information, is it because they don't want to or they can't? If it's the latter then how do they measure their own performance?
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