When you run your own business, you have to wear a lot of different hats. You have to learn about marketing, tax law, payroll, supply chain, and much more. But one area of expertise that you may not want to try to tackle on your own is setting up the server system that powers your company’s digital records.
Having a good server support provider can help you keep your business running without a hitch. Read on to learn how to find a good server support provider and why you need one in the first place.
What Is Server Support?
Before we get into all the factors you should consider when choosing a server support provider, let’s talk some about what server support is. Servers are where all your business’s information is stored and the location your computers access it from. Maintaining your servers well is critical to keeping your business running smoothly and without interruption.
A server support provider helps you do just that; they maintain your servers so you don’t have to worry about them. They help to prevent any disasters that could take your servers down and leave you unable to run your business. But they also keep your servers updated and running as efficiently as possible.
You Can’t Afford In-House Support
The first step in choosing the right server support provider for your company is determining if you need a server support provider. There are several clues that may indicate this is something you should contract out, rather than handling in-house. The first clue is if you find that you don’t have room in your budget for in-house server support.
Maintaining your own server support team can get expensive; for one thing, you’ll have to pay a team of dedicated employees. But you’ll also have to provide them with the hardware, software, and training they need to keep your servers running smoothly. This can get a lot more costly than outsourcing your server support to an expert team.
Your Business Is Growing
Another sign that you may need to outsource your server support is if your business is growing rapidly. When your business is on the rise, you need to be able to scale up your systems quickly enough to keep up with demand. But when you manage your own servers, you’ll have to go through the entire recruitment and hiring process every time you need to grow your support.
Working with a server support team can give you the flexibility in the service that you need. As your business grows, you can scale up your support to meet your current needs. Your server support team already has the staff and infrastructure they need in place, so you can increase your support with a simple phone call.
You Don’t Have a Disaster Plan
Although no one likes to think about it, planning for what you’ll do in the event of a disaster is important when you’re a business owner. You may have insurance in case a flood or fire damages your building or an employee gets injured on the job. But what will you do if your servers crash and all the information stored on them is lost?
Having a disaster recovery plan for your digital information is incredibly important, and if you don’t have one, it’s a good sign you need better server support. A server support team can not only help you create a disaster recovery plan, but they can also help you implement it. They can help you set up file backups and safety measures so that even if your servers do go down, your information isn’t lost.
You Have Lots of Downtime
On the subject of your servers being down, did you know that server downtime costs you more than just time and frustration? Let’s say you work with a team of ten employees, all of whom get paid $35,000 a year, and each of them has to spend an hour and a half a week trying to get the servers to cooperate with them. Over the course of a year, you’re losing about $12,000 in employee time alone, not to mention drops in customer service.
If you experience a lot of server downtime (or even just inefficient server function), you could benefit from the expertise of a professional server support team. They can help you to uncover the problems that are bringing down your servers and prevent them from happening in the future. They can also suggest more efficient systems to keep things moving smoothly.
Technology Isn’t Your Strong Suit
Another fantastic reason to hire server support is if technology isn’t your strong suit. Server configuration can get confusing, and, after all, that’s not what you started your business to do. You should be able to spend your time focused on running your business, growing your opportunities, and making your customers happy.
When you work with a server support company, you can rest easy knowing your server needs are taken care of. You’ll be working with an expert team that can handle any updates, changes, or adjustments that may need to happen. You don’t need to know the difference between WAN and LAN – you just need to know how to run your business.
When you’re looking for a server support provider, one of the first things you need to look for is 24/7 service. Although your business likely has normal hours, you never know when disaster may strike with your servers. You may also need to run updates on your servers during the middle of the night, when your customers aren’t likely to be on your website.
Ask your potential server support provider whether they provide round-the-clock support and, if so, for what circumstances. Some companies may offer 24/7 support for emergencies, but not for routine maintenance. Be sure that there are provisions for holidays and weekends in case something goes wrong during those off days.
Ongoing Staff Training
These days, technology is evolving at the speed of light, and staying on top of the latest developments is a never-ending task. Every day, there are new developments that make servers faster, more efficient, and more effective. Server experts need to constantly work to stay on top of these latest developments.
Talk to your potential server support team and ask how they handle staff training. They should provide ongoing education for their employees on how to manage the latest developments in server technology. They may even have documentation from training seminars or special certifications that they can show you to establish their expertise.
Lots of Experience
On the subject of expertise, you want to make sure that the team you work with has plenty of experience. You may encounter a wide variety of situations that impact your server needs, and you want to make sure your server support team knows how to handle them. Making sure they have plenty of experience helps to guarantee you’ll get reliable solutions as quickly as possible.
Ask your potential support providers about their experience, both in general and working with businesses like yours. Ask about the most challenging situation they’ve encountered and how they handled it to deliver a positive result for the client. If you’ve had previous challenges with your servers, ask if they have experience handling those problems and how they’d address them.
Guaranteed Response Times
When your servers are down, time becomes incredibly important. The more time you spend waiting to hear back from your support team, the more money you lose on productivity and customer satisfaction. You can’t afford to sit around waiting for a call back while your business stalls out.
Talk to your server support provider about whether they offer a guaranteed response time. Many companies will guarantee a response within a number of hours. It is important to note that response time is not the same as resolution time; depending on the nature of the problem, it may take longer to get it fully addressed.
Flexible Support Options
As we mentioned earlier, if your business is growing quickly, the amount of support you need may change month to month. You might need to expand your digital systems, upgrade your website, and create new mechanisms for satisfying customer needs. You don’t want to be locked into a contract that limits the growth of your business.
Ask any potential server providers what sort of flexibility they offer in their services. You’ll need to know how long it will take to increase your service if you need it and what the pricing will look like for those higher tiers of service. And if, for whatever reason, you need to scale back your service, be sure you’ll have that option, too.
Asking a server support company about themselves is all well and good, but it should come as no surprise that any company is likely to present the best face for their business. You may be able to get an idea of the sorts of services you can expect during discussions with the provider themselves. But if you want to get a sense of what it’s like to really work with the company, you need to talk to previous clients.
Ask your potential server support team whether they have any references you can talk to. Be sure to ask these references what they like best about working with that company and what troubles they’ve had, if any. Both good and bad feedback will give you a better idea of what it will really be like to work with this company.
Backup Strategy Implementation
We mentioned earlier that you need to have a backup strategy in case something goes wrong with your servers. File backup may need to be set up on an automated schedule so you make sure you never lose too much information. You may also need to make contingency plans for how you can keep your business running in the event of a server crash.
One of the wonderful things about working with a professional server support team is that they can help you put those backup strategies in place. Not only will they help you devise a strategy that will work well for your company, but they’ll also help to put those plans in motion. Make sure to ask potential server support providers what sort of backup strategy implementation they offer and whether it’s included as part of their standard service
One of the surprising qualities you need to look for in a server support company is a physical location. Many server support businesses farm out their work to a group of contractors that may be located all over the world. While this can provide a somewhat more flexible support model, it may also result in more unreliable service.
Ideally, you want to have one dedicated point of contact who handles all your communication and support needs. In order for a business to maintain this sort of consistency, they’ll need to have an office that their team can work out of. If a server support company has no physical address, you may want to make some extra inquiries about the level of support you can expect.
Find the Right Server Support Provider for You
Getting a good server support team can help your business run smoother both day-to-day and in an emergency. Make sure you ask what sort of experience and ongoing education your potential server support provider has. Talk to them about support options, and ask for references who have worked with this company before.
If you’d like to find the right server support provider for you, check out the rest of our site at Be Structured Technology Group. We provide responsive IT service, IT consulting, and managed IT services. Schedule a consultation with us today and discover the joy of working with an award-winning Los Angeles IT support firm.