The first thing small business owners need to know about IT support services is that different companies require different solutions. Just because you manage a small business doesn’t mean that your technology support needs are the same as every other small business.

On one end of the spectrum, your IT needs may be minimal, requiring only basic tech support help. Depending on your industry and the purpose of your business, you might have more extensive technical needs regarding security or software application development.

Many small business owners find that a good middle ground between help desk-only IT support and more extensive (and expensive) IT support services is a managed IT service. What managed IT services do is bundle the most common small business information technology needs into one support service—making these companies a sort of one-stop-shop for your company’s technology needs.

Some businesses have unique needs that require more focused expertise than a managed IT service or a help desk service has to offer. If your company routinely deals with sensitive data—like personal or medical information, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers—then IT services that focus on network security might be paramount.

If your business relies heavily on the use of mobile apps or software platforms, you may need to hire a company capable of writing and bringing to life software applications tailored to fit your business model and structure.

Challenges of Comparing IT Support Companies for Small Businesses

Comparing IT support companies requires a much more nuanced approach than picking out a computer or choosing firewall software or hardware. There aren’t so much pros and cons as there are different business IT services that meet different sets of business needs. The challenge is deciding what IT company best fits the needs of your small business.

Cost and value are also more complicated to compare among IT support services. You can compare general costs with the knowledge that basic help desk support tends to be the cheapest, followed by managed IT service subscriptions. More extensive and specialized IT support costs the most. 

However, you won’t find simple price lists to compare. Getting IT support pricing for your small business is a more involved process. Before giving you a quote, IT support companies will usually want to ask questions to get a better understanding of your business’ size and tech support needs.

When to Hire Outsourced Business IT Services

For many small business owners, tech support only comes to mind when there’s a problem to troubleshoot. However, forward-thinking small businesses can get a lot out of focusing preemptively on business IT services. 

While every small business owner occasionally has to spend time putting out fires, IT is more than just crisis control and tech support for wayward computer operations. It’s about identifying opportunities and implementing solutions that help your business thrive.

Investing in IT even when you don’t have technical problems can help you escape the cycle of waiting until your technology breaks and then having to rush to find a quick, but not necessarily comprehensive, fix. Strategic IT planning can put your business in a position to truly surpass its past performance and achieve ambitious new goals.