The complete guide to SMB IT support

When researching options for an IT support team, there are a few important factors to consider.

First and foremost, an IT support team’s most important job is to keep your business running with minimal downtime. This is to allow you to focus on what’s most important—the health and growth of your business.

Additionally, you need to select an IT support team that meets your specific and unique needs. Not all businesses have the same requirements and priorities. Don’t waste resources on services you don’t need while those that you do need are nowhere to be found.

Finally, you want an IT support team who provides continuous support, monitoring and availability. They should be your partners in business and invested in your SMB’s success.

Here are many of the services an IT support team can and should be able to provide.

Infrastructure setup and support

IT Infrastructure refers to all the technological components that your business employs.  This includes all hardware, software, services and network resources required for the operation of your business.

Developing an IT infrastructure is crucial for your business to efficiently provide IT solutions and services to your employees and customers. An employee base with a solid IT foundation will result in business growth and productivity.

Determining the needed tools can be challenging. File sharing and collaboration services to communications, network security and stability, help desk support and hardware management–it’s a lot to manage. You’ll need experts on your side to pull this all together in a way that works for your business best.

IT procurement

Researching what equipment and software best serve your needs can be time-consuming and frustrating. Let your IT support team do that heavy lifting for you by conducting a thorough analysis of your needs and determining what hardware and software will guide your company to its full potential.

A full-service team will oversee installation and keep track of all update and warranty information. They can help make sure that everything is kept current and covered. Should you wish, you should never have to worry about dealing with the vendors yourself.

IT procurement is not a set-and-forget sort of process. A quality IT support team will be there throughout the entire procurement process and remain there for any future issues that come up throughout your business.

Wi-Fi setup

Whether you’re SMB needs to have Wi-Fi set up over a single office or several, your IT support team can install your Wi-Fi network and make sure every needed device, from desktop workstations to mobile devices, can rely on a dependable, secure connection. You want range, reliability and speed. You don’t want anything that falls short of the best for your business.

Help desk support

You’re not always going to want an on-site technician when trouble arises, but you most definitely want a qualified expert available to you at any time, 24/7/365. Problems can surface from time to time. Sometimes it’s as simple as how to get a wonky printer working again. Other times, it’s more complex, like solving the riddle of a full network crash.

A fully staffed and trained help desk support service can be on hand to handle questions and even troubleshoot repairs using a multi-tier response plan depending on the severity of the problem.

No matter what level the problem, your IT Help Desk support should not rest until the problem has been solved and steps have been taken to keep it from repeating.

Cybersecurity

With news of major cyberattacks hitting the news nearly every week, it is more important than ever to have an IT support team that has the expertise you need to defend against these attacks. Cyberattacks can come in many forms starting with phishing and viruses to ransomware and full-on network breaches. With constant monitoring and the ability to keep current with new threats, you should feel that your data is safe and secure.

An effective IT support team will also help you train your staff in how to best prevent vulnerability to cyber attacks. In addition to this, they should provide real-time monitoring so that threat detection occurs before damage can be done.

Cloud solutions

Cloud computing is probably the fastest growing facet of business technology today. Whether it’s storing data, backups or using cloud-based applications, the cloud has become an important tool.

Your IT support team should be able to help you set up a cloud platform. Whether this means a private cloud, a public cloud or a hybrid of both. Your IT support team can guide you through best security practices to keep your data safe and advise you on how to utilize this technology to its fullest potential.

Backup and disaster recovery

Whether you’ve fallen victim to a cyberattack or to natural disaster, you definitely need a disaster recovery plan to ensure minimal downtime.

An effective IT support team will offer backup solutions following the 3-2-1 rule. Reliable business continuity gives you the ability to restore your system to its last solid version. You can stop worrying about your data and focus instead on business.

Communications optimization

Communication is key to running an efficient and profitable business, and the technology exists to make it so. Your IT support team can help you acquire, set up and integrate communication tools. They’ll keep every employee in touch with both your company and your customers.

Between voice-over-Internet protocols (VoIP), virtual private networks (VPN) and secure remote cloud access, your IT support team can guide you through the best practices in effective communication management.

They can even help determine when it’s time to update your business’s phone system so that everyone who needs to be reached can be reached and there is never a communication breakdown.

Collaborative tool integration

A supportive IT team will have the ability and expertise to help you harness the full potential of your office.

You can achieve optimal collaboration through unified communication technologies including SMS text messaging, IM apps, mobile apps, video conferencing, shared cloud applications and access, and cross-platform project management software.

These tools bring your business to the cutting edge of productivity.

What is your BYOD policy?

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are gaining popularity in the workplace. Employees often prefer to use their own mobile devices when on the road. It’s less to carry around and keep track of.

But how do businesses use this policy most effectively? And, more importantly, how do they stay secure?

Your IT support team should be able to guide your SMB to best practices in regards to BYOD. They should also help you shape a company-wide policy that works for your employees and protects your business and its clients.

Conclusion

Selecting an IT support team could be one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your SMB.

The thing to remember is that you want a team that works for you, not the other way around. Your IT support partner should be committed to the success of your business. Many managed service businesses offer a wide variety of options, but not every option is what you need.

Hold out for a team that focuses on your needs and is invested in your success.