An unfortunate reality in our field is that there is no standard minimum qualification to offer IT support services. This leaves room for many pretenders. This Halloween season, besides the ghouls and goblins, you should also beware of people pretending to be proper IT support. Your business is more important than that to trust it to fakers. The most common example of a pretender is the local computer repair store; let’s examine why you should keep these people far away from your business.
How They Promote Themselves
All businesses need to promote themselves, but as a consumer of IT support services, it’s very important to recognize who their desired audience is. Computer repair stores may serve the residential customer well, but since they aim to serve residential needs, they specialize and maintain their skills for those needs. While it could be argued that many of the needs are shared between the audiences, the ones that are shared are a tiny subset when considering the overall needs of a business.
You should be very leery of any company or individual offering IT support if anywhere on their marketing collateral they offer residential services. They just are not compatible. Most reputable IT support services also do not have stores; they have offices. We do not accept retail drop-offs for computer repair. Run for the hills if the majority of their marketing is for residential and it says somewhere “we serve businesses too.”
You Are Not Their Typical Customer
Computer repair stores see business customers as a windfall, not as their primary business. As such you would likely have their attention as you would likely be their biggest customer, but it would be like having the undivided attention of a fast food cook, and that would be far from the adequate attention of a fine catering company. They have no experience in meeting your needs such as with email, file sharing, backup, teleworking, and other services that you would never use outside of a home. There are certainly those who can stumble through getting things working, but having no experience to build on, they neglect small details, which could be catastrophic later on. Just like you wouldn’t hire a fast food cook to cater a wedding, you shouldn’t hire a computer repair store to meet business IT support needs.
Real World Tragedy
We cleaned up one such case of this just this week. We recently engaged a new customer who had enough of their pretend IT support following an electrical storm that destroyed their server. This company took their server out of their office, tinkered with it, and couldn’t recover the files. They then sent the disks off to a forensic recovery lab and advised that it would cost $6,000 to recover the data.
Of course the first question was, “what about the backup?” Well, due to a dispute between our new customer and this company, they were refusing to allow access to the backup. When they ultimately were ordered by a judge in an emergency hearing to grant access to it, it turned out that they never recorded a small, yet critical piece of information.
The backup solution they had configured not only required a user name and password, but it also required an encryption key that was established at the first backup. So even though they did turn over the username and password, the backup was completely useless. They went on to explain that they let someone from Microsoft set up the backup and never recalled any encryption key.
The kicker to all of this was that when they finally returned the disks back to the customer, the recovery was uncomplicated. We were somewhat in shock, and relieved for our customer’s sake, at how easy it was as we couldn’t see why the pretender couldn’t figure it out. Less than a day after having the disks in our hands, the customer was back to full functionality. Unfortunately, it took about a month to get the disks in our hands due to the pretender’s behavior.
Your Organization’s Needs
Anecdotally, we’ve heard that most businesses won’t survive after 10 days without access to their data. In this case, the business was without their data for a month! How long would your business survive without it? This is just one of the needs that BL Technical Services keeps in mind when they serve the needs of our customers. Downtime costs more than maintaining the infrastructure and thankfully our customers understand that, so we don’t have to face tragedies like this.
In considering an IT support solution for your organization, you should ask at least the following questions:
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they serve other businesses similar to ours and understand our needs?
- Do they have professional liability insurance?
- Will they always be available to help when we need them?
If you asked these questions to BL Technical Services, you would certainly be pleased with the answers, along with any other questions that pertain to the specifics of your business. We pride ourselves with integrating and becoming part of our customers’ organizations and part of their business process. We add efficiency and reliability to their process so that they can focus on their primary line of business.
In this season of enjoying the scary, spooky, and masquerading, don’t fall victim to someone pretending to be business IT support; you will end up suffering for their ineptitude. Contact us for a consultation on how real IT support can meet your organization’s needs and even improve your processes.