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6 Key Features (and 3 Red Flags) to Look for in a Montgomery County IT Consultant

6 Key Features (and 3 Red Flags) to Look for in a Montgomery County IT Consultant

The businesses that make up the bustling economy of Montgomery County have a lot to offer, but in order for these goods and services to properly exchange hands, there needs to be consistent technology supporting the processes that lead to these exchanges. This makes it important that you have the resources to keep this technology in working order, and while Montgomery County has a few options, it is important that you make the best choice possible.

Let’s break down some of the things that you should seek out when selecting an IT consultant for your business—as well as a few things to keep an eye out for.

So, what do you want to see from the IT consultant you choose to work with?

Your IT Consultant Takes the Time to Understand Your Business

No two businesses are the same. Even two businesses in the same industry might be at different stages and have different requirements and goals. Your technology represents the tools your staff uses to accomplish those goals, and good tools need to be honed in. 

A quality IT consultant won’t just walk in with a rubric of the technology they want to implement for you. Instead, they’ll walk in with a list of questions for you to answer about your business, its processes, its priorities, and any needs you have noticed. The consultant you want on your side is the one that familiarizes themselves with the minutiae of your operations in order to provide the greatest level of value and optimization for your business’ specific situation.

They Let You Ask Questions, Especially When it Comes to Billing

If the conversation starts with a quote, you might want to consider your other options. Yes, a lot of IT providers have a pretty structured baseline cost per user or per device that they can base most of their quotes on, but IT is all about providing value. Yes, it’s an expense for businesses, but businesses didn’t start adopting computers in the 1980s simply because they looked good on a desk—it was to improve productivity and increase profits through effectiveness.

As a business owner, you should feel encouraged to ask questions and get an understanding of how your potential IT contract works, what’s covered, what’s not, what will cost you more, what is included, and what happens when you need to get out of it.

We recommend bringing up real-life scenarios that you’ve experienced in the past—make sure to consider special cases that your organization might run into, such as employees who work outside of normal business hours or mission-critical software that needs specialized support.

It’s Not Just About Scrapping Your Hardware and Replacing It With Some Other Brand

In most cases, not everything on your network needs to be completely overhauled right away. While most IT providers might have specific vendors that they have partnerships with that provide slightly better perks and pricing, it doesn’t mean they can’t support workstations that are only a year or two old, or support a server that still has another two or three years left before it reaches end of life.

You should seek out a provider who therefore looks for opportunities to get the maximum utilization out of your existing technology, while making a longer-term, sustainable upgrade plan that is, again, primarily focused on bringing your business the most value possible. 

Cybersecurity is Baked Into Everything They Do

Ten or fifteen years ago, IT was about 80 percent fixing computers, implementing new solutions, and solving computer-related problems, and about 20 percent cybersecurity. Today, those numbers have flipped, and cybersecurity should be the main day-to-day focus that any IT consultant or IT professional considers. 

I’m going to confidently say that most IT professionals miss the days when it was more about tinkering with new technology and less about playing a never-ending cat-and-mouse game with cybercriminals, but here we are. The point is, if an IT consultant isn’t making cybersecurity a massive talking point, if they aren’t stressing how important security is, and talking to you about improving policies, training your staff, and aggressively protecting your data, then you might want to keep shopping around.

For instance, here at Dresner Group, we’re committed to providing our clients with a very comprehensive assortment of cybersecurity tools and solutions, protecting everything from their network to their users to their client data. Reach out to us to learn more about what we can do to help protect your IT with our comprehensive approach to your security.

Physical Security Should Play a Factor Too

It can be too easy for all the focus in your cybersecurity to be directed to digital protections, but it is important that you also consider how—or if—you are protecting your business’ actual computing infrastructure. Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way to steal data… walking off with a USB drive can be just as effective as phishing.

That being said, a good IT consultant will have security tools that will integrate digital capabilities into a business’ physical safeguards—things like advanced camera systems, for instance. Make sure you ask your consultant if your business’ security can be improved through their services.

They’ve Got Real World Case Studies to Share

You want to find an IT consultant that not only can talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Anyone can talk a big game, but can they back up what they say with customer accounts and testimonials? Are they proud enough of the work that they’ve done to publish the results?

This is why you want to ask for case studies detailing their prior work for other companies, particularly regarding similar services to those you are looking for for your own needs. A good IT consultant would be too happy to share the fruits of their labor with you, as it will just reinforce what they’re saying otherwise.

Red Flags to Look Out For

Beyond what we mentioned above, here are some immediate red flags to be on the lookout for when shopping around for IT consultants in Montgomery County:

There are Hidden Costs for Day-to-Day Support

You need to make sure that these “comprehensive” IT services are actually as comprehensive as they’re purported to be, and that your candidate for your provider isn’t going to start nickel-and-diming you for needs that you justifiably assumed were included. Make sure you ask for documentation that details exactly what your agreement will cover, and if they start dodging the question, you may want to reconsider that provider as a candidate.

Working with us, you can be sure that our definition of comprehensive matches with your own, and that your available services based on your agreement will be clearly defined from the very start.

You Can’t Get Ahold of a Live Person Easily

What’s the point of paying an IT company for helpdesk support when they treat you no better than a global hardware vendor? When you reach out for support, it’s because you need support to be readily available.

Any provider that makes you jump through hoops before you can talk to a real person isn’t a provider you want to be relying on… especially when you could be experiencing a serious emergency and need help immediately. If a candidate doesn’t have the means to get in contact with you expeditiously, it’s probably time to move on to considering your next candidate.

Solutions and Agreements are Simply Canned

We mentioned this before—any IT provider is going to have some baseline service tiers and pricing that work for generally all types of businesses. That part is fine and isn’t a red flag, but if you feel like they are pitching a square peg for a round hole, you might want to consider a second opinion. Your provider should work to figure out the combination of services that work best for your unique situation, with the ability to scale what they have to offer to fit your business… not the other way around.

We’d love to be one of your considerations for an IT consultant, and we’re confident that we would be able to become a long-term resource and partner for your business and its success. If you’d be interested in having a conversation with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out at (410) 531-6727 today!

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