If you’re like most businesses, technology can make or break you. But if you are a small or medium-sized business (SMB), you may have a point of exposure that larger businesses don’t. That is, you may rely on one small IT service provider or one internal IT staff person for all of your IT support. They essentially hold all the keys to your IT kingdom. So what do you do if you lose your IT support?
At least once a month a company contacts us in a panic because they lost their IT resource, either internal or third-party. They don’t know the first step to take, and even if they can get a replacement quickly, they don’t know how to manage them or position them for success.
If your IT support is going away, it’s admittedly a rough situation – especially if you suffer an IT crisis before you get new support in place. These simple steps can get you off on the right foot and help calm the waters until you find predictable, reliable, and stable IT management for the long haul:
- Take stock of what you know. If your IT guy or provider had any documents outlining processes, network configurations, passwords, licenses, etc. – now’s the time to find them, store them in one place, and figure out how to get the info you don't have. In a best-case scenario, you’ll be able to find these easily and review where you are in terms of security, upgrades, licensing and renewals, and anything else that is time-sensitive. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to do a lot of digging for information you aren't familiar with.
- Prepare and execute an emergency action plan. Perhaps you’ve used a break-fix provider in the past or have another IT staff person who can fill in temporarily until you secure a permanent solution.
- Assign a point person or committee within the company to be in charge of the transition. This person or committee will be responsible for coming up with a plan, researching new options, and deciding the best path to take moving forward. Ideally, you should have leaders who oversee large components of the organization -- a controller or CFO, office manager or administrator, an operations executive, and of course the senior executive at some point in the process.
- Explore your options. The IT services industry is crowded, with many companies offering the same core services and using the same buzzwords. Ask colleagues for referrals, companies that are trusted in your industry or city. Decide on your must-haves based on your needs. Vet your potential IT resource thoroughly to make sure they can meet those needs. Ideally, you'll talk with a few providers that come highly recommended and have experience serving businesses in your industry. Make sure they are large enough to serve your needs and take the time to get to know your business. Many IT service providers deliver IT services. But after losing your IT support, make sure your options are committed to providing long-term solutions.
- Move quickly but prudently. At Apogee IT Services, we’ve spoken with companies for over a year before they’re ready to move forward. But companies who have lost their IT support or are at risk of losing it recognize the importance of acting quickly and are ready to move forward in a matter of weeks or even days. But moving TOO quickly can create other issues. You still need to verify your new provider or IT resource is really right for YOUR needs. The right provider should be able to help you with missing documentation, licensing, and other critical information as part of their turn-up and transition to their standards, tools, and best practices.
The good news is that a managed services provider like Apogee IT Services can help prevent situations like this in the future. A single IT staff person takes vacations, sick time, or may take a job elsewhere. However, we’re accessible to our clients any time. Our staff members get paid time off for vacations or sick days; the difference is that we have dozens more at every experience level and who are ready to serve our clients.
Lost or losing your IT support? Try a new option – IT support and technology services that never go away with Apogee IT Services. It's a better kind of IT management. No matter how quickly you want to move, we’re ready to have a conversation and see how we can meet (and surpass) your technology needs.