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Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Five Key Questions to Ask when Seeking Out a Computer Consultant

Five Key Questions to Ask when Seeking Out a Computer Consultant

Businesses around central New York have a few options available to them when it comes to their IT needs. However, in order to receive the best services and support for them, they need to select the right provider. While we are admittedly biased, we wanted to share some of the questions that we would ask any IT or computer consultant we’d work with and trust with our network.

Naturally, in addition to addressing the questions we would ask, we’ll also be providing our own answers to them.

Questions to Ask Your Prospective IT Consultant

Here are what we deem to be the first questions you should ask any of the support specialists you are considering. Notice, we said first… there are plenty of other things that you can and should also ask. These questions are simply the ones you want to use as a sort of a litmus test to see how much a provider can, well, provide.

Is the consultation free?

Or, more accurately, what are they willing to offer a business that is considering their services? Nobody can blame you for seeking out the most value in exchange for your business and your valuable dollars. A free consultation is a good starting point to a professional relationship, not only because it gives you an idea of what a provider would recommend for you, but it also shows how invested the provider is in your success.

As for us, we always offer either a free consultation or a free network audit, as it gives us a better idea of what a business needs and can therefore inform us as to what unique blend of services and solutions would best fit. 

Plus, we love meeting and talking to local business owners in the area. We’re deeply tied to Oneonta and the surrounding area, and love talking shop and building relationships with others that call this their home.

What is your approach to cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the most important aspect of your business technology, and we aren’t being hyperbolic as we say so. Any IT consultant worth their salt should have a comprehensive and inclusive cybersecurity strategy ready to go when a prospect approaches them. Ask them about what they’ll do to help keep your critical data safely secured without making it inaccessible for those who need it for their tasks. Make sure they can offer specifics, and inquire about the protections they’ll put in place on your network. 

We appreciate that your business’ security is nothing to be taken lightly, which is why we build a comprehensive cybersecurity approach that covers each and every angle. From an evaluation of your current security precautions to the training we can provide to your team to help them become more aware of their security responsibilities, it is important that no part of your cybersecurity is neglected.

This question is extremely important, because you’ll want an IT partner who understands your industry and any compliance requirements that you need to meet. We work with a wide range of heavily regulated industries so this is nothing new to us. 

What do you manage, and what do you maintain, and how often do you run maintenance?

Unfortunately, “managed services” and “IT consultation” have become the kind of buzzwords that have occasionally been used to describe services that fall short of what the terms should suggest. Therefore, it is important that you determine the extent to which your technology will be managed and maintained under these services.

Unlike those providers who use these terms as a means of peacocking, offering only fluff while promising more, we offer the true form of managed services. By this, we mean that we’ll manage every aspect of your business’ technology, ensuring that it is in optimal condition and is prepared to boost your efficiency in any way possible.

We cover everything that is within our mutual agreement, which is ideally every workstation, server, and device on your network. We don’t relegate maintenance to monthly or weekly—we are observing the devices on your network constantly, 24 hours a day. Updates are deployed as soon as they are deemed safe and stable, and backups are checked by hand daily. It’s like hiring an in-house IT department for a fraction of the cost.

Are your plans customizable? Can I scale up or down easily?

There’s a big potential difference between the needs of any business as compared to another, which makes it so that even the most one-size-fits-all solution won’t be the right fit for most. The diverse nature of modern businesses and their operations make it so that anything short of a customized option would be little more than a half-measure.

This is why we work with our clients to ensure that our services are scaled precisely to their needs, creating an approach that suits each client. Plus, when the time comes for you to grow your business, we can easily scale with you to handle the influx of new users and hardware, or scale down if need be.

Do you share your knowledge on your website?

This is the crux of a website’s efficacy. After all, a provider can list a dozen service offerings on their website… but if their audience doesn’t know what they know about technology, it’s not going to convince nearly as many people to reach out as educational and informational content will. This is precisely why different elements like service pages, downloadable resources, and a blog are so important and impactful. Not only will these elements show that your prospective provider knows what they are talking about, but they can also be used to show that the provider has remained up-to-date on these topics as things have changed.

Just take a look at our blogs: we have blogs posted on our website going back (as of this writing) eleven years. While not all of them are still applicable, they still show that we’ve consistently done our best to keep our prospects and clients informed over the years. You want to be sure that your provider knows what they’re talking about, and that their expertise has evolved over time.

Speaking of websites…

While a lot of computer gurus can put together a basic website, most IT consultants and computer repair companies don’t really offer web design services as a core competency. If you are going to trust someone to represent your business online, you need them to know what they are doing.

We’ve been providing website services for over 25 years, and have launched thousands of websites over the years. That includes ADA-compliant websites for government and public organizations, eCommerce websites for businesses, and websites that serve as the central hub for an organization's marketing strategy. On top of that, we’re a full-service marketing agency with content writers, graphic designers, and marketing managers that our clients can take advantage of.

We’re Confident You’ll Like Our Answers to These Questions

We’re happy to discuss any and all of the above questions with you (as well as any others you have) so that you can make as informed a selection as possible. Reach out to us at 607.433.2200 to discuss what we can do for you.