As a major West Coast port community and the eighth most populated city in all of California, Oakland has much to boast about. Notably, many types of business make their home here, thriving in this creative, dynamic, and entrepreneurial environment. That includes vendors of information technology services. In this one 56-square-mile region, there is no lack of qualified, professional IT service providers to choose from. But if you are a small to midsize company in search of high-quality yet affordable IT services, that is exactly the problem. From among such an abundance of IT resources in Oakland, how do you decide which one is right for your organization?
We could cut to the chase and simply advise you to call us, Pacific Computer Consultants, for the best in Oakland IT services. But that would be rather self-serving, and it wouldn’t really guide you in any meaningful way to make the correct decision. After all, the key to a successful business relationship between IT service provider and client is mutual understanding and trust. To that end, we have provided you here with a set of tools to help you wisely pick an IT services vendor in the Oakland area that will serve your organization best.
What to Look for When Choosing a provider of IT Services in Oakland
Here are some of the key questions you should ask before committing to an IT service provider. Some of the answers you can get directly from the IT company, while others may be found in online reviews, the Better Business Bureau, and other third-party sources.
1. Are they an actual IT consultancy, or just a computer repair service?
Your organization’s IT needs probably extend far beyond merely fixing crashed computers or troubleshooting printer setups. You want an expert in all levels of information technology, including the legal, regulatory, and compliance aspects of that industry. For example, if you are a financial services company, the IT vendor must be familiar with FINRA regulations. If you run a medical practice, the IT vendor must be versed in HIPAA law, the correct handling of electronic health and medical records (EHRs and EMRs), and how to install and run healthcare practice software. Similarly, the legal profession has IT needs that are a far cry from what the construction industry demands. In short, can your IT service provider meet the exact demands of what you do? Don’t work with a n00b*!
2. Do they know how to explain things?
Speaking of n00bs, every industry has its private jargon, not well understood by laypeople outside that industry. For example, unless you’re an architect or urban planner, you’re not likely to know what a “charette” is. The same is true for the information technology industry: from GUI, TWAIN, and Tweet to Blob, Bug, and Crapplet, we use more acronyms and other obscure terminology than you can shake a stick at. It’s best if you are able to find an MSP (that stands for “Managed Service Provider”) that speaks in plain English and can clearly explain to you and your staff everything they’re doing to make your lives easier and how it will improve your business operations.
3. Are they obsessed with security?
Worrying about viruses, ransomware, and malware should be the job of the IT services provider, not yours! Right off the bat they should be inquiring about the state of security of your current IT environment, and thinking of ways to make it even more secure. The loss of data by natural causes or by the theft of hackers can be costly and possibly irreparable. They should present you with reliable, customized solutions for business continuity, disaster recovery, and preventing unauthorized intrusions into your networks.
4. Are they responsive?
In other words, if you have a question about your network or have a problem that needs quick attention, do they get right on it, or do they keep putting you off? Of course, no IT service provider has infinite resources—there are slow times and there are busy times. But at the very least, they should provide you with guaranteed response times, no matter what the issue. If the problem requires on-site support, they need to tell you exactly when that support will show up.
5. Will they share customer testimonials?
A capable, competent, and trustworthy IT service provider that has made a point of pride of getting to know their customers’ businesses and goals will naturally make many friends and allies. Because such an MSP makes its customers’ success their priority, the customer is equally invested in the success of the IT service provider. Any customer that has been served well by that MSP is bound to say good things about it; and the MSP should be glad to share their references and stories.
It goes without saying that Pacific Computer Consultants can answer in the affirmative to all the aforementioned questions. If you are shopping for professional IT services in the Oakland area, we hope you’ll give us a call.
* A “n00b” is a newcomer or someone who lacks experience.