Why changing IT support providers could be easier than you think

Backing up all your data is always good business practice – more so when you’re planning to switch IT support providers

Many businesses fear that changing their IT support provider will land them on stickier ground. For them, it’s better the devil you know than the devil you don’t – so they’d rather put up and shut up and ultimately pay for substandard service from their IT support provider than take a risk with another.
But changing your IT support provider is not as scary or as difficult as you think. In fact, it can be easy, stress-free and well worth it. All you need to do is take a few simple steps to take control of your IT and prepare for the switch.

Seven simple steps to prepare your business for a switch

1. Check your contract. Before switching, check the conditions of your contract with your current IT support provider. It’s likely that you have to give a notice period before you can end your contract. Finding too late that you can’t switch until the notice period is up can be costly and stressful.
2. Be clear about your reasons for switching. What doesn’t work for you with your current provider?  What business needs did they fail to meet? Understanding your problems with your existing providers ensures that you’re not simply moving the same problems to another provider.
3. Create a comprehensive list of your IT assets. This makes switching smoother. Your list should contain all IT system or hardware that you use in all your business activities including login details, passwords, hardware inventories, software, and network diagram.
If you use a few IT suppliers – which is likely – also include a list of them in your file. If you have a support log, make sure to give this to your new IT support provider. This will give them an idea of the main problems your business faces regularly.
4. Know all your login details. Before giving your notice period, ask your existing IT support provider for an up-to-date list of user names and passwords used within your company. Test that they all work and keep them in a safe place. Although most providers are decent people and are happy to help, they’re likely to prioritise the needs of their staying customers over those leaving them. So, if you have to ask for your login details after you’ve given your termination notice, their response may be slow, and this can delay your switching process.
5. Assign one point of contact. This person is responsible for reporting problems and liaising with your existing IT support provider. This avoids miscommunication as well as confusion as to who does what.
6. Know how much support time you need.  Knowing how much support time allows you to evaluate costs like for like. Your existing provider should provide you a breakdown support time you use.
7. Back up your data. Backing up all your data is always good business practice. More so when you’re planning to switch IT support providers. This ensures that all your data are protected against accidental error during the switch over.
If your existing IT support provider also does your data backup, create a backup of your own. Ensure you have the latest backup and that they work. Your backup is useless if it cannot restore your data properly.
Inadequate preparation and lack of control over your IT system are often the cause of stress when switching providers. Take these simple steps and the switching will be easy.
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David is the founder and Managing Director of Dunfermline-based Managed IT Experts Ltd. After completing his Master's degree in IT at Glasgow University back in 2007, he spotted the gap in the market for friendly, personalised but affordable IT service for businesses and charities. The company has since evolved into a focused team of IT professionals ready to go that extra mile to make IT work for its customers. David is involved in project management, business development and ensuring client satisfaction.