We hear all kinds of horror stories from our clients about their experiences with IT support providers. It’s apparent that some IT support providers in the UK are simply not delivering on their promise.
Today’s businesses are driven by IT. Actually, they are reliant on IT. If you don’t have an infrastructure that is efficient, cost-effective, secure and agile, there is a high probability that your business is not achieving its value potential.
To determine whether your IT support provider is delivering the service you deserve, consider the key metrics we’ve listed below. If the KPIs are not being met in these areas, we strongly recommend looking for a new IT partner.
All IT support begins with an audit of the existing system. This identifies where improvements will be made with new services, software and support.
High-quality audits must be objective. The key is to measure how new IT services will add value to a business and compare that with the existing performance levels. This enables you to make informed decisions within your budget and plan a build strategy that incorporates future growth.
Audits should be delivered through three key steps. Firstly, a fact-finding exploration of the pre-existing systems, structures and processes which govern the usage of the entire network.
Finally, the findings should be documented in a detailed report with recommendations that add the most value. You should also expect alternatives to be listed as well so you can weigh up cost v benefit in relation to what you feel is most important.
Advanced Cyber Security Technologies
Cybercrime is a blight that destroys business. In 2021, it cost the global economy $600 billion and ended countless small businesses and startups.
The costs are not only in lost revenue but also in fines for breaching GDPR compliance. If a hacker leads to a data breach, the company could face fines of up to 2% of its annual revenue. In this climate, providing secure IT operations for businesses is the most important role for IT support providers.
There are multiple layers to protecting businesses from cybercrime. The most common mechanism is anti-virus software. Whilst useful to a point, most anti-malware can only detect malicious code that is known to be in circulation.
But what about new malware that has yet to be discovered?
Next-generation anti-virus deploys artificial intelligence and behaviour detection to spot suspicious behaviour within your system. It then uses machine learning to respond to the threat quickly.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another critical cybersecurity strategy but also has limitations. And although MFA can feel like a bind to some people, you are better with it than without it.
MFA essentially adds an extra layer of security by prompting end-users to verify their identity via a phone number, location and unique passcode. If the three factors do not match the data stored in the system, entry onto the network is denied.
This most advanced MFA deploy biometric information as well, such as a face scan or fingerprint. Biometric authentication will be the next phase in MFA technologies. We expect it to become mainstream in the next year or two.
In addition to advanced cybersecurity technologies – which you should expect as a standard – IT support providers should be instrumental in building a secure environment for your business network.
There is a wide range of ways to implement a cybersecurity strategy and not every business will need or adopt the same solutions. However, you should still expect your IT support provider to deliver a cybersecurity strategy that is geared toward your budget.
Situations you have the least control over are the most critical. For example, can you rely on all your staff to update every piece of software every time a patch is released?
Probably not, especially if they are working remotely. IT professionals and team managers have very little control to oversee that software updates are performed promptly.
Data shows that even IT professionals routinely fail to upgrade software in good time – and 57% of data breaches are attributed to poor patch management.
Therefore, the rollout of patch management is a vital KPI you can use to measure the quality of service you are receiving from your existing IT support provider.
Even with these measures deployed effectively, there is no guarantee that a cyber-attack will not come. It is estimated that around 65,000 malicious attacks target small businesses every day, of which 4,500 are successful.
But how do you know if your IT support team are implanting an effective cybersecurity strategy?
That could be hard to say, but there are two metrics to look out for;
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
RPO records all the critical files that are necessary to resume regular business operations or “business continuity.” RTO is the time the company has to recover these files for normal operations to be possible. From these metrics, the IT support provider can build an effective strategy.
For more information about what should be included in an RPO and RTO disaster recovery plan read our previous article on the subject.
It is estimated that UK businesses lose a collective £3.6m a year due to system failures. The cost of network downtime to a single business is somewhere in the region of £4300.
The least you should expect from an IT support provider is a computer network that runs smoothly, delivers fast processing speeds and is in operation for the vast majority of the time. MicroPro aims to deliver 99.999% uptime – and we normally achieve it!
The availability of your IT system is clearly a vital cog in the wheel of your operational output and a simple KPI to measure against your IT support provider. You don’t need special software to determine how annoyed you are that your computer has crashed again.
Ensuring high availability requires IT professionals to plan methodically, remove points of failure and thoroughly test the technology to ensure it can stand up to the load your business demands. Constant monitoring and backups are a given.
Network plans should also include strategies that enable you to get back up and running as quickly as possible in the event of a system crash. Minimising the impact downtime causes is crucial to business output. For example, a simple solution is to install an effective backup that avoids you from losing data.
It is the responsibility of your IT support team to ensure your business network is delivering optimal performance. The best way to do this is to implement a 24/7 monitoring policy and fast-recovery cloud backup solutions.
Cloud computing has become intensely popular within the business landscape in recent years. You could argue the pandemic shoehorned a lot of business into cloud adoption, but they are feeling the benefits through increased levels of reliability, efficiency, scalability and security.
However, due to cloud computing being a specialised field, there is a lack of proficiency within the IT field. This leaves companies at the mercy of external IT professionals even if you have your own in-house team.
Keeping up with the latest cloud possibilities and tailoring them to your business needs is a KPI of the highest importance. The point of adopting cloud computing is to eventually move away from your reliance on outdated and expensive hardware and software which will become outdated in a year or two.
You don’t need to migrate your entire business network into the cloud in one fell swoop. That’s not a good strategy. But you do need a carefully formulated plan that enables you to make a successful migration in stages at the right times; the most cost-effective times.
Cloud solutions should also open the aperture for a business to fundamentally change the way it adds value to end-users. For example, does the software you use provide employees with the best tools. Can they work from anywhere and still collaborate effectively?
Work from home is changing the landscape of work throughout the UK. The official numbers show that 24% of UK businesses have adopted hybrid working hybrid working and a further 80-odd per cent plan to (depending on which report you read).
However, many businesses find that the office is the best way to work for their industry. A trend has started in the US. 50% of companies are reported to have recalled their workers back to the office five days a week. Poor IT support for remote workers will do that to you.
The hybrid question could potentially leave companies in limbo. On the one hand, some employees want to work in the office. So no problem there. But some workers want to work remotely and may threaten to leave if their demands are not met.
Hybrid working also gives you the opportunity to downsize to smaller offices or take advantage of co-working spaces or serviced offices. Relocating can help to free up a significant amount of cash flow. But you need an IT infrastructure that effectively facilitates remote workers.
If you do decide to relocate, your IT support provider should be able to help you make the move with minimal disruption to operations. This should include implementing all the cables and sockets together with transporting your existing IT equipment into the new office.
A relocation service should leverage out of hours for all critical assets so that staff can come into their new office building and seamlessly commence work where they left off.
Furthermore, you should expect an IT provider to arrange the disposal of hardware you no longer need – and to source any new hardware that will help you to refine and update critical tools.
The multitude of benefits that cloud computing and hybrid workplaces can offer will be out of reach if your business’ WiFi cannot keep up with the high network demands of outsourcing data storage and computing power capacity to a third party.
In this high-demand Wi-Fi climate, it is recommended that network speeds do not drop below 100Mbps for a maximum of ten users and 300Mbps for 20 users. This capacity will ensure your staff always has instantaneous access to the cloud and can work at their maximum capacity.
Ensuring great office WiFi requires three main considerations: the network, how it is deployed within the building layout, and effective troubleshooting. These measures ensure that the right network combines speed and affordability. This guarantees it will run at optimum performance regardless of any emergent problems.
Not only do our IT support professionals ensure your workforce has access to high-speed Wi-Fi, we also provide bandwidth management. This ensures that no single device or user can have a disproportionate impact in slowing the network to retain consistency across all staff that use it.
Great IT support does not stop with providing a productive environment for your staff; it must also install an infrastructure that facilitates cost-effective communication channels. The best solution for creating lines of communication is through VoIP services.
VoIP is a form of online conferencing, made famous by the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which has allowed many businesses to communicate globally without having to fork out the excessive charges of traditional international calling.
A recent “Business Communications Technology” report by Blueface revealed the growing popularity of VoIP, finding that 35% of businesses currently use VoIP technology.
It is the responsibility of an IT support team to implement a VoIP network that meets your requirements, not the system they want to sell you. For example, if you don’t need to make external calls there is no point installing a business subscription to avoid time limits on calls – especially when there are free services that come with as part of a software package.
Specialist IT Support Provider in London
Businesses need an IT support provider they can rely on in to ensure their network is delivering optimal performance and supporting productivity. Our IT specialists in London excel in providing premium services – and even if you do have any problems, our award-winning IT helpdesk is on hand to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
If you’re not satisfied with the service you’re existing IT support provider is delivering, consider the KPIs we have mentioned above and contact our IT support specialists in London to see how are deliverables stack up against your current service.