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Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How to Choose the Best IT Provider for Your Austin Business

How to Choose the Best IT Provider for Your Austin Business

Austin, Texas is one of America’s tech hubs. It’s a place where many businesses are a few steps ahead when it comes to effectiveness and innovation. That also means there are a lot of different options for computer and IT support for Austin-based companies—which makes it important that business owners weigh their options carefully.

What Makes a Good IT Service Provider?

Virtually every single business throughout Texas is going to be a little unique. You will have specific needs, different processes and workflows, and unique pain points. In other words, what works for your business might not work for somebody else, and vice versa.

Even so, it doesn’t hurt to read reviews and ask around and see what others say. That can tell a little bit of a story about a business before working with them. 

Beyond recommendations and reviews though, you’ll need to ask these questions when reviewing a potential IT company.

What Exactly Am I Getting With This Agreement?

Pretty obvious, but don’t sign something before you read the fine print. A lot of managed IT providers claim they offer a flat-rate service, which implies that everything is included. That is, until they need to send a technician on-site, or a phone call takes more than 20 minutes, or helping someone get their email on their phone doesn’t count because their smartphone wasn’t a part of the agreement.

It doesn’t mean everything has to be all-inclusive, but you’ll want to know when you are going to get a surprise bill. It’s pretty reasonable for most issues that require the purchase of new hardware or software are going to cost your business money outside of the agreement—if a hard drive fails or a power supply gets fried from a lightning storm, that’s likely going to have an extra cost associated with it, but the agreement should definitely cover the more common everyday stuff.

What is the Cancellation Policy?

Specifically, get clarity on how you can leave the agreement if things don’t go well. It’s not out of the ordinary for a managed IT provider to establish 1, 2, or even 3-year contracts. Long-term engagements don’t just benefit them, they give the provider the ability to look at your business and your network from a much more intimate perspective. If your business offers long-term contracts, you tend to know that you have much more flexibility to provide a better level of service overall to that client compared to someone who just uses your services once. At the same time, being locked into poor service that doesn’t have the value that you pay into it is a nightmare. 

Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking “Well, what if I’m unhappy with the service six months into this 12-month contract?” and seeing if you like the answer. In our experience, we tend to like answers like “Oh, you can cancel at any time, but you need to pay a small termination fee” or better yet, “You just need to pay through to the end of the month/quarter, allowing us 2 weeks to offboard” or something similar. Depending on the relationship, we sometimes even like answers like “Oh, then we will do everything within reason to make things right for you.”

Either way, make sure the terms in the contract are clear and cover a cancellation policy that is reasonable for your business.

Provide Some Recent Real-World IT Headache Scenarios

You’re probably shopping around for a new IT provider because the last one wasn’t providing satisfactory results. Run some of those less-than-ideal scenarios to any managed IT services provider you are in discovery with. 

For example, if you were renewing your business insurance and needed to provide some information about your IT security in order to get approved, but it took 2 weeks just to get a response, issues were discovered, and it was going to cost an exorbitant amount just to get the network (they have been supporting) to comply with what your insurance provider wants; this is less than ideal. 

This type of issue could recur again, especially if there is a miscommunication between you and your IT provider. At least then, meeting that level of compliance that your insurance company wants could be planned, budgeted, and maintained, as opposed to being turned into an emergency that could get mishandled. 

Hammer on the Topic of Compliance

Frankly, you shouldn’t be the one bringing this up to an IT provider, but nevertheless, it is an important topic to thoroughly cover. IT security should be the cornerstone of a modern IT roadmap, and your potential IT provider should be making it one of the priorities. 

While you may need to convey specific security compliance regulations that are unique to your industry or unique to various vendors, partners, or insurance agreements, any IT consultant worth their salt is going to be concerned with ensuring that your network has more protection than the standard antivirus.

Get a Second Opinion

At the end of the day, you need to take in a lot of information to decide how to choose the best IT company for your Austin-based business. You’ll need to weigh your options based on price, capability, experience, and carefully evaluate what is and isn’t included. On top of that, it isn’t always going to be obvious if an IT provider is actually doing a good job. Sure, everything might be working but is everything secure? Even a more technical business owner wouldn’t necessarily have the insight to tell without putting in a lot of time and effort. A second set of eyes and a quick network evaluation is a good way to check someone else’s work. 

Looking for the Right Answers? 

At Capstone Works, we can’t always promise that you’ll get answers you are going to like, but we’ll always be straightforward and honest with you. When it comes to your technology, you need full transparency with what is being handled, what is covered, and how problems will be mitigated. We’ll give you the right answers, each and every time.

Tired of looking for the best IT consultant in Austin? Give us a call at (512) 343-8891, and you’ll never have to search for a new IT provider.

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