Cyber threats are lurking behind every corner of the web. Your customers expect fast and reliable service, online and in-person. Data is driving more decisions than ever before.
These trends point to one conclusion: it’s time to hire an IT consultant.
Companies that leverage the latest IT solutions are always one step ahead. They understand that automation allows them to exceed customer expectations and performance KPIs. They also understand the importance of a skilled IT specialist.
Managed IT consultants are high in demand. There is no shortage of services. How do you know when you’ve found the right person or company for the job?
Your company can’t afford the high costs of downtime. Follow these tips to find the best IT solution for your long-term goals.
In-House vs. Managed IT
First, decide if you want to hire an in-house IT manager or use a managed IT service. Both have their pros and cons. Plus, you can always use both.
Suppose you run a small company. You only have 5 to 10 employees, or even less. You could probably hire an in-house IT expert to oversee your business technology.
An in-house solution works best if you have limited business technology needs. However, as you expand, your cybersecurity concerns grow. Plus, you need to keep up the pace as you scale.
You’ll need more complex business technology that can keep up with growth.
In this case, your in-house IT manager would need help to handle the workload. Hiring more staff is one option. The IT manager could also work with an outside IT service.
You can also hire a managed IT service without any on-site IT staff.
These services provide a team of professionals, from engineers to tech support. Consultants work with you to plan a bulletproof IT strategy. Learn more about managed IT before embarking on this solution.
The third option is an independent IT consultant. You can hire an IT consultant at any phase. Many people hire consultants just to learn what their needs are.
A consultant can help you decide if a managed IT solution is right for you. They can also propose alternatives for scaling IT as you grow.
Protecting Your Technology
Many new CEOs overlook the importance of intellectual property when hiring IT consultants.
Everyone wants to believe their consultant has good intentions. Unfortunately, the wrong hire can steal your IP, nuke your social media, or take your website offline.
It’s important to have contracts upfront. These contracts protect your intellectual property and technology in the case of termination. NDAs and confidentiality agreements are good insurance, as well.
If you work with a company, all services must be stated in the contract. The contract should include hours, rates, project timelines, and deliverables.
If you’ve never written an IT contract before, talk to a lawyer who can help. As your business grows, you may want to hire in-house legal specialists too.
Plenty of people say they know IT inside and out. How do you really know if an IT consultant has experience?
Step one: check for an online presence. An IT professional without a digital footprint is a big red flag. Even a single Linkedin page is something.
You need to see some record of work. Many IT consultants upload projects to GitHub. Their Linkedin profiles show past work experience with companies and clients.
Reputable consultants and IT companies have websites. These websites typically list their services. You should also find testimonials or proof of clients.
Business review sites are also helpful.
Read reviews from real clients. Don’t hesitate to ask a company on your shortlist about any negative reviews. You can’t take any chances with IT.
If you’re hiring an in-house IT manager, the process is different. You’ll be taking applications and sifting through resumes. However, many IT applicants have Linkedin and GitHub profiles too.
Verifying work references is one way to gauge experience. Work profiles are another plus. Many applicants upload coding projects, SQL work, and other samples to their social profiles.
Education is another factor. However, it’s not a make-or-break point. Many talented IT specialists are self-taught or have a degree in an unrelated field.
More applicants are supplementing their education with professional certifications in IT. Industry giants like Google are behind the fastest-growing IT certifications online. Consultants also pursue CompTIA A+ and Microsoft certifications to increase job offers.
Interviews are critical for hiring the right IT staff.
These roles require advanced problem-solving skills. Prepare a series of IT problems for applicants to solve. You can see who thinks quickest on their feet.
Does the IT Consultant Offer Staff Training?
Great IT strategy requires all hands on deck. Everyone must be on the same page to reduce security concerns. Many IT consultants will train your staff on the new protocol.
Not every consultant offers this service. Check their website or call beforehand. You’ll also get a better understanding during the free quote process.
An IT consultant can help you draft technology use policies too.
You should have company use policies for the following areas:
- Mobile devices
- Enterprise mobility strategies
- Company internet
- Social media (on-site and off-site)
- CNC machines
- 3D printing machines
- Automated security systems
Technology use policies prevent password and access beaches. Managers can restrict access to certain tools or programs. These policies also include protocols for destroying data.
IT consultants also work on enterprise mobility strategies. These secure mobile strategies are essential for global companies. However, they’re vulnerable to attack without solid IT management.
Social media is often overlooked as a security risk. An ill-timed tweet is the least of your worries. Hackers can pose as “regular people” on social media to extract passwords and data from employees.
Social media use policies protect companies (and employees) from potential damage.
Discover the Right IT Solution
Which IT solution is ideal for your goals?
An IT consultant, in-house pro, and managed IT service all have benefits. Shop around and see which solution works best. Don’t forget to gather lots of free quotes along the way!
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