it support

Who is looking after your businesses servers and network over the Christmas holiday?

Whilst our business clients are closed over the festive period, we continue to monitor and look after their servers and network.

Over 650 individual health checks per server per hour. That’s over 15,000 individual checks per server, each and every day and immediate alerts to staff if a problem is detected.

Enjoy a Happy and peaceful Christmas everyone, and if your IT support company doesn’t offer this level of proactive support even when you are closed, speak to us in the New Year to see how we can help your business.

10 tips in choosing an IT support company

It can be a minefield when it comes to choosing an IT support company. To make it a little easier and some points you should look out for, have a look at our top 10 tips:

2Location, Location, Location
5Trust & Security
6Support staff
9Contingency planning

1 Services

What does the company offer as a service? Do they just carry out reactive repairs and maintenance or do they proactively look after your computers, server and network? Many companies claim to offer “full IT Support”, but it often turns out that they are just PC repairers. Posilan offer a complete IT service from network design to outsourced IT helpdesk for your company. In essence, to our contract customers, Posilan are their IT department for all staff to use when needed.

2 Location, Location, Location

In the main, you are going to need an IT support company that is either local, or can get to you within a reasonable time as set out by the contract SLA. Whilst it might seem to be a good idea to sign up with a company hundreds of miles away because they claim to be able to help you by telephone or remote support, that will offer little comfort if your server falls over and they can’t get to you for three or four hours.

Posilan offer contract support to areas we can efficiently get to within a reasonable time so the client really does know we will be there quickly if we need to. The main areas we offer contract support are Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, North Wales, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. In general, places we can get to within roughly a 1-2 hour window. We can offer contract support outside these areas, but we would have to specify special SLA’s. We do however carry ad-hoc & remote support work nationwide.

3 Knowledge

Is the IT support company selling you what you need, or what they know? There are a lot of different technologies and operating systems available. The main two systems for networks and servers are Linux based and Microsoft Windows based. Each of these platforms have their own individual plus and minus points. Many IT support companies will specialise in one or the other and effectively dissuade you from the other.At Posilan we are specialists in both so we can truly bring you the benefits of both – either individually or as a combined solution.

4 Communication

How contactable are your IT support company? Does the phone always go to answer phone? Do emails get replied to? Do they keep you up to date with what is happening within the business? It’s amazing the number of companies who don’t update their website or have it “under construction” for years. What’s the point in having company twitter or Facebook pages and not updating them for months or filled with irrelevant information?

At Posilan we love to hear from our customers so we make it simple. We can be contacted by email (which opens a ticket on the system) and reply to really quickly, by telephone, via live chat on the website. We can also be contacted via social networking such as Twitter and Facebook. We are based in Manchester here in the UK so your call won’t end up in a foreign call centre.

5  Trust & Security

Your IT Support company generally has complete access to your company network and confidential files. You need to be able to trust the company is looking after them and keeping them secure.

At Posilan, our servers and networks are built upon security and protection. It’s never an afterthought. From protecting your servers and network with firewalls and patching software when necessary to our own VPN WAN ensures when we connect to your servers, it’s in a safe and secure way. For complete peace of mind, all staff are also CRB checked.

6 Support staff

As a client, are you able to build up a relationship with the staff at the support company? Or do you get through to a different person each time? Is there a high staff turnover?

At Posilan we like to get to know our clients. Everyone is different and everyone (even us!) have their own “quirky” ways of how they like things doing. We understand this – what’s right for one client may not be for another. We fully document and personalise the way we do this for the benefit of the client – you shouldnt need to have to explain things from scratch each time you call, and we try to make sure you don’t.

7 Procurement

Buying IT equipment and software can be a minefield. Does your IT support company have trade agreements in place with software and hardware vendors or do they just buy from the same places you can and add a markup?

At Posilan we have formed partnerships with many major hardware and software vendors and have direct accounts with the two largest IT distributors in the UK – that way we get the latest updates at the best prices and the best service and pass those benefits straight onto you. From a new computer mouse to server hardware and complex volume licensing – we can help and advise you.

8 Networks

There’s little point in having the latest computers and servers if your network underperforms. At Posilan we are network and server specialists and design clients networks with speed and reliability in mind. We are Windows and Linux specialists so can offer you truly independent advice of what would be best for you. We can help with not only the network in your main premises, but for home workers and branch offices to be able to seamlessly connect securely as though they were sitting in the same room.

9 Contingency planning

We all hate to thing about “what if?” but just for one moment think “What would happen if there was a fire?” or a flood or theft? Could your business survive for a day without its server? What about two days? A week? Yes, you may have backups but how long will it take to get new hardware installed and the backup restored? You may be looking at several days before you are up and running.

At Posilan we have the knowledge and experience in backups and designing disaster recovery or high availability servers for your business.  We can embrace virtualization technologies to ensure we get you up and running in the shortest time possible – this could be as little as 2-3 hours after complete loss of hardware. Think how much 2-3 days would cost your business if it was closed due to IT problems then think how much better 2-3 hours is.

10 Cost

Are you choosing your IT support company based on cost? Don’t. Instead select based on ability then look at price. There’s little point in choosing a company that costs little but is incompetent, but on the other hand it’s easy to pay too much.

At Posilan we never aim to be the cheapest. The simple reason for this is that we could not offer the level of service we do if we were. cheap PC repair companies are “10 a penny” but will they be there when you need them? We are however excellent value for money and chances are that by using us as your IT support company, we could probably save you money over the years.

It’s New Year – time to change IT support company?

It’s the new year and nearly time to pack up the Christmas decorations for another year. It’s a great time to take a fresh look at your IT support requirements.

Maybe you already have an IT support company? You may have been with them for years – but ask yourself the question –

“Am I getting value for money?”.

If you had to think about the answer to that – you might consider looking at what we can offer. It doesn’t always come down to the price you are paying – after all, you can use the cheapest IT support company in the country, but it’s useless if you can never get hold of them or if they are incapable of looking after your needs.

It also may be that you have outgrown your IT support company. When you started out in business, the “bloke down the road” might have been the most cost effective solution for you – but what about now? Does he really still have the expertise needed to help your business grow or are you being held back (technically) by what he is comfortable with? You may have asked things like “Would upgrading our server to x help us”. Is the advice they have given you accurate and correct? Could it be that they are acting in their best interests instead of yours?

Maybe they have become complacent and instead of being proactive and making sure issues don’t arise, they are simply reactive and only fix things after they have gone wrong. A lot of IT issues have be completely avoided with regular routine maintenance and monitoring.

It may be that you haven’t yet used an IT support company. If this is the case, you may just see it as an unnecessary expense. Even if one of your members of staff are competent in IT and you leave it to them to look after, here are some reasons you should think again:

  • You probably employed the staff member not to be looking after your computers. Having the member of staff look after your computers is stopping them doing the job you employed them to.
  • Should you trust the security of your data such as payroll, your accounts and other confidential documents to a junior member of staff?
  • The member of staff may start to make demands such as pay increases etc. which you may feel compelled to comply with.
  • Can they keep up with the latest security issues needed to look after your network whilst doing their normal job?
  • What if they are off work ill, or worse still, leave the company?

By outsourcing your IT requirements with us, you get a team of experts to look after your entire IT infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of employing a single person.

IT issues generally mean loss of productivity and profit – can you afford to not have a good IT support contract in place? Don’t leave it too late – Contact us for an informal chat to see if we can help you.