Many small businesses rely heavily on outsourced IT consultants, as it is cheaper than maintaining an in-house IT department. Once you find an IT consultant you can trust, and build a good relationship with them, life is a lot easier. They’ll be there to help if your network collapses or a hacker locks down an essential system. IT consultants can also advise on the purchase of new IT equipment or the expansion of your IT infrastructure. But what should you look for in an IT consultant if you need to hire one for your business? Read on to find out.
How Good is their Technical Knowledge?
The last thing any business needs is an IT consultant who is behind the times on the latest innovations and IT security threats. While you are probably not an expert – and if you were, you wouldn’t need to hire an IT consultant! – you can still quiz them about the type of work they do. Check out their website to see what services they offer and ask for references. If you have had issues in the past, ask the consultant how they would have dealt with the problem and see if their approach is better than your previous consultant.
Do they Have Relevant Qualifications?
There are people in the industry that have many years’ worth of experience and not much in the way of official qualifications, but if you are hiring someone new, it’s best to check what qualifications and certifications they have. A relevant degree such as one in computer science, software engineering, IT, or cybersecurity is a good sign.
If you are given the sales spiel by the IT consultancy’s director, make sure anyone they plan on sending to handle your business is also qualified to do the job. Some firms dazzle with their best salesperson but end up using less qualified personnel to handle on-site problems. This might not be an issue if your only concern is a network printer not working, but if your server has been hacked, you need to know an expert is on the job.
What Experience Do They Have in Your Industry?
Not all industries are the same, so it is helpful to look for an IT consultant with specific experience in your industry. For example, if your accounting firm stores a lot of customer data on company servers or cloud applications, in particular, sensitive financial information, you need an IT consultant who understands data security and the consequences of data breaches.
Look for an IT consultant who is used to working with companies in your niche. It makes life easier.
Can You Work with Them?
Lastly, some IT problems are very stressful and involve a lot of time spent troubleshooting out of hours. If you are going to be in the position of hanging around for hours with an IT expert while they work out what the issue is, it’s helpful if you can get along with them. Look for someone with an easy communication style, who isn’t abrasive and likely to upset staff.
Once you have found the right person or company, hang on to them – they might save your business from a meltdown one day!