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How To Identify Inadequate IT Service Companies: 5 Questions They Hope You Never Ask

In today’s technology dominated world, in can be difficult for small businesses to manage the technology they suddenly require for their business. With a number of service solutions available, it can be very easy to be burned, if you do not know what to look for. Here are the five most important things to look for in any company you contract to look after your business systems.

What type of permissions / access do you require to monitor our machines?

Non-administrative accounts should be created for software packages so only the necessary access privileges are given in order to protect other areas of the system. Frequently, software products ask to be run with an administrative account. This type of installation poses a security risk for the systems because it can read/access anything. The service company should be able to provide a complete list of account access requirements for your technical staff to review. If they can’t produce a list, it indicates their developers don’t know their own applications.

How are you communicating with my machines?

Unless a dedicated connection is available, a site-to-site VPN communication should be implemented. Using a VPN connection, all the information that passes between your businesses will be encrypted. By implementing a site-to-site VPN, your network security remains in tact. Many service company implementations have the software on each machine open a VPN tunnel, which adds processing overhead to the machine and completely bypasses your network security. Be sure any company you consider offers a site-to-site VPN solution so that you stay in control of your network.

Does your monitoring tell me anything about my system performance?

System performance information is vital while troubleshooting network performance issues. To be viable, monitoring solutions must be able to track CPU saturation levels and it’s other internal statistics. Many companies simply check that the system is running. Ask your service company to provide a list of statistics they are able to collect so you can confirm they are able to provide the information needed for productive troubleshooting.

How much historical performance data do you store?

Each year you will want to review the resource usage to see how the business needs have grown as part of your planning for the upcoming year. Since the service company is holding your statistics you need to make sure they will retain at least 12 months of summary information so you can accurately make your estimates. Remember, since the data was never on your machines you wouldn’t be able to recover it from tape backups.

How much down time will I have to schedule for my servers for the installation?

Most monitoring solutions require software agents to be installed on machines. As a safety precaution, machines should not be used for business activities while having modifications made so they are made unavailable until the installation process has been verified. If a service company says there is no down time but acknowledges software will be installed on your machines you may want to consider what other risks they will be taking with your machines.

Do they offer a meaningful guarantee for their performance?

Employees are committed to your business; when outsourcing responsibilities to a service company, it is critical that you have meaningful assurances that they will be committed to your needs. These assurances take the form of SLA specifications. Make sure the terms being provided include specific financial compensation for clearly defined lapses. A SLA that is premised on best efforts and reasonable performance won’t give you any influence with the company if problems arise. Remember, your systems are a business utility and should be expected to perform as such. Any service company should understand this as well.

About DataVelocity™:
DataVelocity is the IT industry’s most trusted provider of IT service solutions. Using an MSP (Managed Service Provider) model, the company helps companies maximize its technology assets. DataVelocity services are used by corporations in the NYC area and beyond, providing hundreds of thousands of dollars of protection against failure at a small fraction of the price. The privately-owned company is based in West Patterson, New Jersey. To learn more, visit http://www.datavelocity.com.

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