The Covid-19 pandemic has and continues to pose challenges to all sectors of the economy across the United States. While no sector has got off lightly, the Hospitality and Events sectors have suffered more than many due to greatly reduced demand and severe restrictions on the ability to operate normally. The IT sector has also had to face up to various challenges such as the strain of an increased workload due to vastly increased client demand for remote-working setups.
Despite the challenges, as a Sector, IT has had an easier time than many others. Those working in the field should have been prepared with technological solutions to tackle the operational difficulties caused by the pandemic. As a whole, the sector has risen to the occasion, as most MSPs have been able to provide their clients with effective remote-working arrangements and comprehensive support to help them through the worst of the crisis.
While this is an ongoing crisis, particularly in Nevada, some level of normality has resumed both in our state and across the country. Now is a good time to review your IT provider’s response to the crisis over the past few months and determine whether you can rely on them should future crises occur.
What should I have expected from my IT provider?
Quick and effective support and maintenance. This is crucial! Timely support and maintenance is a cornerstone of good IT support and you should expect it regardless of circumstances. For example, if you’ve suffered business-critical connectivity problems and your IT provider has taken days to sort it, then it may be time to seek a new IT partner.
Realistic and cost-effective solutions.
While phase 2 has allowed our state to enjoy some degree of normality it’s clear that a full return to what we all consider ‘normal’ remains some way off. As normality slowly resumes your IT provider should be playing a crucial role in the transition back to your office environment or introducing fit-for-purpose, long-term remote working solutions where appropriate as opposed to stop-gap solutions that many IT providers will have used during the lockdown.
While the situation has improved, at the beginning of lockdown non-essential businesses were forced to close their doors. This meant thousands of businesses with no previous experience of remote working were forced to adopt remote-working practices at relatively short notice. During this time your IT provider should have provided your business with solutions that were realistically priced, appropriately scaled and allowed your business to get on with the daily routine effectively.
With easy access to file resources being vital to most businesses, your provider should have set up convenient and secure solutions such as Cloud storage or remote access to your office network. You shouldn’t have had to rely on unsafe, outdated and inefficient options such as email attachments and storing files locally in an uncontrolled and unmanaged way.
Similarly, communicating with colleagues as well as existing and potential clients requires enterprise-grade solutions. Your provider should have been able to implement the most effective communication technologies such as VoIP so that you were able to maintain a single point of contact with your clients and properly support them throughout the crisis.
Your IT provider should have known your business well enough to provide solutions that worked well and were appropriate in terms of your business’ size and budget.
Compliant, data-secure solutions.
With a huge amount of state and federal legislation relating to data protection, it’s essential that businesses in all sectors take data handling and online security very seriously. While compliance obligations are primarily your concern, your IT provider also has a role to play in ensuring that they only provide your business with the most secure solutions in order to prevent data loss and mismanagement. For example, your IT provider should have been able to provide secure, updated and backed-up devices such as laptops and work-phones. They should also have been able to set up remote device management or application management solutions if required, in order to further enhance data protection capabilities.
Your IT provider should have been readily available for advice and guidance. Some businesses with tech-savvy teams eagerly embrace new technology, while others adopt new solutions more tentatively and may require greater levels of support. This is something all good IT providers should be mindful of!
Consistency of support is also important. Your provider’s service desk should have been reliably staffed throughout the crisis, and they should have followed proper procedure when recording and responding to support requests and emails. Ultimately you should have felt like your provider ‘had your back.’ If they were difficult to contact or reticent in their communications with you during the lockdown (when your business needed them most) then why should you trust them to look after and safeguard your livelihood in the future?
Lockdown has been a tough time for businesses, individuals, families and communities. As a result, you may be willing to forgive some reduction in service and delays from third party businesses such as your IT provider. And that’s OK, but if your provider has failed your business throughout this crisis, left you feeling unsupported and unable to operate then you should consider switching to an IT provider who has the ability to steer your business safely through periods of adversity.
We’re Elixis Technology
In the ever-changing, technology-centric world we live in, it’s vital to have an I.T. solution source you can count on. At Elixis Technology, it is our mission to help businesses — big and small — produce the results their customers demand, with technology that actually works.