Choosing the right IT service provider is one of the most important decisions you can make for your small business. There are many factors to weigh, but one of the most critical is whether or not to use a local company, or one that provides strictly virtual services. Both have their advantages, but many small business owners will find that the benefits of working with a local provider outweigh the convenience of a virtual provider. Here are four reasons why:
1. On-Site Support
Remote support has come a long way in recent years, but responding to the wide range of problems that can go wrong with your technology still presents a significant challenge. And when you need to get your critical systems back online fast, it is frustrating and time consuming to rely on support professionals who don't have the resources to be on-site.
When you work with a local IT service provider, technology experts can come to your location to diagnose any problem and implement a fix immediately. The problem is resolved faster, plus, you have the assurance that it has been fixed correctly. This frees you up to focus on what you do best; running and growing your business.
2. Disaster Recovery
If your office is struck by a natural disaster, water main break, widespread power failure or other disaster, there is no telling what it will do to the technology you use. Rather than trying to describe the depth and breadth of the problem to someone over the phone, a local IT provider can come to your location and evaluate the situation with an expert eye.
You may not have the expertise to assess the problems yourself or the means to get things back in running order once you understand the problem. In a situation like this, there is very little that a remote IT service provider can do for you. When you have a local support provider, you can leave these hassles up to someone else, and ensure that the solutions are handled professionally.
3. Technology Training
Even if you have a technologically fluent workforce, small changes to your hardware, software, and policies can present confusing challenges to your employees. The best way to maximize the value of your upgrades is to make sure that everyone in your company understands how to make the most of them from the first day that they are implemented.
A virtual provider can supply you with training materials and support, but they cannot be on-site to lead training sessions, answer questions, and work one-on-one with employees. This kind of hands-on approach is invaluable for learning all the ins and outs of your new technology. You do not have to dedicate the time or resources to training your employees yourself and you get a better introduction to your new system.
4. Personalized Attention
Every business is different. No matter what you do, your goals and resources do not adapt easily to a one-size-fits-all IT approach. Unfortunately, most remote service providers try to implement generalized solutions that pay lip service to your unique needs.
The greatest value of a local IT service provider is the face-to-face, personalized attention they provide. An IT professional can come to your facility and spend as much time as it takes to learn about your IT needs, evaluate the resources you have in place, plan for your future and install everything correctly. Would you rather try to handle all of this through Skype and email, or with someone who has actually stepped foot into your lab?