10 Things to Ask Your IT Consultant About In 2024
As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, businesses need to stay ahead of the curve. That’s where an IT consultant comes in. Whoever is currently managing your IT and providing technical support should have a pretty good idea of how your business works, and they should be able to help you plan and implement new technologies that will help you remain competitive in this always-changing landscape.
But with so many changes happening in the tech world, it’s crucial to have an IT provider who actually stays up-to-date with the latest in tech, security, and business innovation. In this article, we’ll discuss ten things you should ask your IT consultant about in 2024 to ensure they are providing the best possible services for your business.
1. IT Assessments and Quarterly Business Reviews
If you are under a contract with an IT services provider, you should get regular reviews yearly to go over your business goals and IT infrastructure, address concerns, and answer your questions.
If you aren’t under a contract, or in some cases, you are just getting the bare minimal level of services from an IT provider, then you should be reaching out to have regular IT assessments performed. This assessment comprehensively evaluates your current IT infrastructure, processes, and systems. An IT assessment can help identify any weaknesses or areas for improvement in your technology, and your consultant can provide recommendations for addressing them.
An IT assessment should be conducted regularly, at least once a year, to ensure your technology meets your business needs and industry standards.
2. IT Advisory/Virtual CIO Services
In addition to an IT assessment, you should also ask your IT consultant about their CIO services. These services involve ongoing support and guidance from your consultant to help you make strategic decisions about your technology. This basically allows you to outsource the traditional CIO role to a third party. There is a lot of value in this, as hiring an in-house CIO is prohibitively expensive for many smaller businesses, and you gain the experience of a trusted IT professional with a broader background and a lot of resources to assist you.
Your IT consultant should be able to provide you with insights and recommendations on how to leverage technology to improve your business operations, reduce costs, and stay competitive.
With the rise of cyber threats and data breaches, cybersecurity is a top concern for businesses of all sizes. That’s why it’s essential to ask your IT consultant about their approach to cybersecurity.
Your consultant should be able to provide you with a comprehensive cybersecurity plan that includes measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, data encryption, and employee training. They should also be able to regularly assess and update your cybersecurity measures to stay ahead of potential threats.
In fact, your IT provider should have some resources readily available. If they don’t, you can always check out some of the pieces we have.
4. Business Insurance Compliance (and Other Regulatory Compliances)
While this falls under cybersecurity, you may have noticed that your business insurance agency now asks questions about your cybersecurity and what protections you have in place. If you meet specific requirements, this can reduce your premium. If you are too far from compliance, your agency may choose not to provide coverage.
Fortunately, most of the things your insurance agency is looking for are things every business should have in place. We have been helping businesses of all sizes meet these standards to help save money (and protect them from cyberthreats).
The same goes for particular industry regulatory standards. Healthcare, financial services, non-profits, and more tend to have strict requirements and baselines that must be met to protect their clientele from harm.
5. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. It allows for remote access to data and applications, increased collaboration, and cost savings. That’s why asking your IT consultant about their experience and expertise in cloud computing is essential.
Your consultant should help you determine which cloud services are best for your business and assist with migrating and managing your data and applications in the cloud.
6. Voice over Internet Phones
Local businesses might not think to ask their IT consultant about phones, but these days, modern phones are essentially a part of your network, and it’s a no-brainer for companies like ours to implement and support them.
In truth, modern VoIP phone systems are much more feature-rich and usually cheaper than traditional business phone systems. While the implementation might cost some money to replace your desk phones, the lower monthly fees and capabilities make this an extremely easy buying decision.
7. Mobile Device Management
With the increasing use of mobile devices in the workplace, it’s crucial to have a mobile device management strategy in place. This involves managing and securing all devices employees use for work purposes, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Your IT consultant should be able to help you develop a mobile device management plan that includes measures such as device encryption, remote wiping, and mobile application management.
8. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another rapidly growing technology that can significantly benefit businesses. AI involves using machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as decision-making, speech recognition, and visual perception.
Your IT consultant should be able to provide insights on how AI can be used in your business and assist with implementing and managing AI systems.
9. Test Your Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
By now, hopefully, every business has some sort of data backup system in place. While this is a start, a backup is only as good as its ability to be restored. Older backup technologies take ages to restore from, and consumer-based backup solutions aren’t as reliable at backing up everything in a business. Even an incredible data backup system can fail or be misconfigured, so it’s essential to test them.
If it’s been over a year since your backup solution has been thoroughly tested, and we mean a full test, where you run your business off of your backup for the better part of a day to ensure it contains all the necessary information for your operations.
10. Access Control and Security Cameras
This is another service you might not think about talking to your IT consultant about. Like phone systems, physical security is essentially a part of your network these days, and it ties in well with digital security policies as well.
Security cameras can monitor things to protect your assets and provide accountability, while access control can dictate who can enter certain areas and logs when they do.
Need an IT Consultant Who Will Help Your Business Reap the Benefits of Modern Technology?
As technology continues to evolve, it’s vital to have an IT consultant who is knowledgeable and up-to-date on the latest trends and advancements. If you feel like your current provider isn’t helping you meet your goals or need someone to take the wheel and help drive your business forward, call us at 607.433.2200 today.