Net Platforms

What Should You Be Getting From Your It Support? – 5 Things to Look For in an IT Provider

Technology is becoming increasingly vital to business success, meaning it’s more important than ever to have a committed IT partner onboard to help you choose the best options.  From the competitive edge afforded by cloud solutions to deploying the right tools to help you meet compliance obligations, the strategic application of technology is crucial to stay ahead of the pack in today’s dog-eat-dog business world.

In our last article we examined 5 traits common among sub-par IT providers.  If that article resonated with you, then it may be time to look elsewhere and find an IT partner who’ll provide the comprehensive support your business deserves. 

The IT sector can be a crowded marketplace, and knowing what to look for can be difficult.  The sector is buzzwords aplenty, and with many providers broadly specialising in the same fields, how do you distinguish the exceptional from the mediocre?  There’s a lot to consider, but here are the top 5 things to look for in an IT provider.

Custom solutions and services

Upon arriving at an IT provider’s website you’re immediately inundated with information.  You’ll find menus detailing the services and products on offer, and it can all feel a bit overwhelming.  Crucially however, it’s not always about which services are being offered but how they’re being offered.  For example, if you’re looking for an IT support provider to complement an internal team, you’ll want to find one who offers “IT co-management” of terms to that effect.  Similarly, if you’re seeking a provider who’ll manage your technology from the ground up, and cover every aspect of IT management look for terms like “comprehensive managed IT” or “virtual CIO.”  Fundamentally however, a good IT provider will be flexible, and offer a package of support moulded to the circumstances of your business. 

It’s also worth considering how they present different tech solutions.  Ideally you want a provider with a reasonably broad range of technical specialisations, backed up with recognised accreditations.   Seek a provider who’ll help you develop a tech strategy, and offer solutions and services to directly address the issues and challenges you face. 

Experience in your Industry

It can be helpful to find a provider with experience assisting businesses in your sector, particularly if you operate in one of the ‘regulated industries.’  Whether you’re a healthcare provider operating under the regulatory guidance of the Care Quality Commission or an insurance company bound by the rules of the FCA, an IT partner who at least broadly understands your compliance landscape can be of huge benefit.  A provider with experience in your sector is also more likely to have encountered any industry-specific software you use, and be more able to maintain and support these systems.  Most IT providers work with businesses across multiple sectors, but if you need reassurance that a provider can assist you within the constraints of your industry, don’t be afraid to ask for references or case studies involving clients in your sector.


A preventative approach that prioritises data security

IT systems are like cars in the sense that they require regular maintenance to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns.  While a badly maintained car will leave you stranded at the side of the road, a poorly maintained IT network will leave you suffering prolonged episodes of downtime, with your operational capacity and ability to serve your customers severely impacted.  In today’s world customers expect near 100% service availability, and with the cyber threat landscape more pernicious than ever it’s essential to find a provider who’ll perform a thorough programme of preventative maintenance.   Look for a provider with remote monitoring and management capabilities.  They’ll be able to optimise your network for performance and security, and ensure that your systems are maintained, with patches applied in a timely manner.

It’s also important to find a provider who lives and breathes cybersecurity.  Ensure they’re able to deploy an extensive suite of security appliances to keep your network safe, including firewalls, endpoint antivirus, backup solutions, encryption and email filtering.  

Fast-acting support, backed by an SLA

When downtime strikes, it’s vital to have a dynamic and driven support partner who’ll respond and restore your systems in double quick time.  So what should you look for in terms of helpdesk support?  24/7 support is essential in today’s business world, particularly as we work more flexibly than ever.  Round-the-clock support means a team is always on standby to help restore your vital systems, no matter what hour disaster strikes.  You should also seek response time guarantees backed up by a comprehensive service level agreement.  This contract should detail the standard of service you expect, with specific attention given to response times for support requests.  As a general guide, response times of under 30 minutes are considered very good, anything up to an hour is acceptable, but waits far exceeding one hour are far from ideal, and could indicate a disorganised or understaffed helpdesk.

A commitment to great customer service

So what distinguishes a good IT provider from a great one?  A good IT provider will strive to exceed contractual obligations, diligently perform network maintenance and help their clients leverage maximum value from technology.

A great provider will do all of the above, while also ensuring the best possible customer experience.  So how do you identify providers that offer exceptional customer service?

A great provider will be keen to get to know your business from the outset, often using an onboarding process featuring a technical audit to paint a detailed picture of your environment.  Terms like ‘strategy,’ and  ’roadmap,’ are often used, and signify a provider with a long-term mindset.   Look for providers who offer dedicated IT managers.  This will give you a dedicated point of contact within their company, and over time this individual will gain a forensic understanding of your systems, and may even get to know your team on first-name terms.  They’ll be able to configure your systems with your unique environment in mind, and they’ll have the necessary insight to offer solutions that best fit your business.



We believe that no business should suffer at the hands of poor or even mediocre IT support. Your IT systems underpin your operation, so it’s essential that they’re entrusted to a reliable, capable and committed partner who’ll help you get the most out of your technology.  If your provider is failing on multiple fronts, it could be time to take proactive measures, and seek a partner who’ll prioritise your interests and deliver exceptional IT for your business.


NetPlatforms – Ensuring you can achieve value from your technology

Using the tools at your disposal correctly will ensure value. You have the power to revolutionise the way your organisation produces work. We can ensure that you implement the right tools, use them correctly, and plan for the future with those tools as important assets in the prolonged success of your organisation. Our success can be attributed to one thing: TRUST. Ever since our very first year in business our clients have been happy to recommend us to other businesses, and we have grown steadily as a result of those recommendations. We can truly help you to get the best from your IT in the most secure way possible. Don’t hesitate – contact us now!