Read on if you are looking for IT support and wanted to learn more about it, why your Calgary-based business needs it and how to find a competent IT support provider.

What is IT Support? Everything Calgary Businesses Need to Know

By IDS Web August 26, 2021

Known as the centre of the oil and cattle industry in Canada, Calgary offers a fertile business environment. Small and mid-sized businesses can also enjoy competitive tax rates and business costs in this city. In January 2020, Calgary reduced business license fees by 10% and removed fees for moving businesses. Initiatives like this, along with a surge of investment, have attracted several SMBs to Calgary.

Nevertheless, running a business in this digitalized economy is next to impossible without appropriate IT support. Technology can help you maintain a secure computer network, increase employee productivity, and offer a competitive advantage.

While in-house tech support is what probably comes to your mind first, it is very expensive – and most SMBs lack the resources to sustain a full-fledged team of IT experts. But fortunately, they can always outsource technical support without pinching their IT budget. 

Before discussing why tech support matters and how to find a tech partner, first, let’s learn what it means.

What is IT Support?

IT support, also known as managed IT services, involves creating and maintaining a comprehensive IT environment for a business. It is usually comprised of on-site and remote assistance to resolve tech-related issues. The specific areas of managed IT services include (but are not limited to):

  • Network, server, workstation, printers, computers, and other hardware maintenance.
  • Cloud-based hosting and other services.
  • Data backup and recovery.
  • System analysis and audit.
  • Penetration testing.
  • IT consulting.
  • VoIP phone system management.
  • Email and website hosting and management.
  • Cybersecurity and network monitoring.

Usually, when you hire an IT support company, you will need to sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA). It outlines the responsibilities and performance standards your service provider must deliver.

Why Does Your Business Need IT Support?

While many SMBs still put tech support on the back burner, this trend is changing. Global spending on technical support is increasing steadily. SMBs worldwide are predicted to spend $252 billion (cloud-based services) and $79 billion (on-premise services) on managed IT services by 2023.

The reasons for investing in professional IT support vary from business to business. But, the most common ones are:

1) Cost Savings and Better ROI Over Time

Although you will need to spend some money on hiring a competent Calgary IT support provider, well-planned tech support can help you save money and improve your ROI over time. 

  •  They take care of your IT planning, eliminating costly repairs and superficial software or hardware investments.
  • They ordinarily charge a flat monthly or annual fee, ensuring predictable IT expenses.
  • They can provide technology to streamline business processes, reducing your overheads, and increasing profits.

2) Enhanced Network and Device Security

As a business owner, you must keep confidential employee, customer, and company data safe from cyberattacks and thefts. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting SMBs as they often lack multi-tiered network security. In 2020, almost a third (28%) of data breaches involved small businesses.

With expert IT support, you can set up a multilayered cyber defense. It generally includes: 

  • 24/7 network monitoring
  • Penetration testing
  •  Antivirus, anti-malware, and firewall

This approach helps identify security gaps and mitigate cyber threats before they can cause damage.

3) Minimal Downtime

According to a worldwide 2020 survey, 25% of respondents said the average hourly downtime cost of their servers was between $301,000 and $400,000, while 17% said it was more than $5 million. In other words, unplanned downtime has the potential to put a small company out of business.

The good news is, enhanced cybersecurity and 24/7 network monitoring often translate into reduced downtime. In this hyper-connected world, ensuring zero or minimal downtime can help you attract new clients and retain your existing ones.

4) Higher Productivity and Efficiency

Productivity and efficiency are the lifelines of your business. Technology can help maximize both. However, you can’t do this without excellent IT support.

An experienced Calgary IT support firm can help you identify, integrate, and execute technology that boosts productivity and efficiency. They can also optimize other aspects of your tech environment to befit the changing business needs and market trends.

5) Regulatory Compliance

Canada is at the forefront of implementing strict cyber regulations by introducing new and better laws. The recent Digital Charter Implementation Act of 2020, developed in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, will include the sternest fines among G7 for privacy laws. 

Unless you are a tech expert, however, you are unlikely to know about such ever-changing regulations. That’s where a professional Calgary IT support provider can help. Remember, not complying with the latest regulations will attract fines and lawsuits, not to mention bad publicity.

6) Happy Customers

The impact of good IT support goes well beyond technology. 

  • It helps you offer better customer service through multiple communication channels.
  • The reduced downtime, enhanced cybersecurity, and higher productivity make it easier to build a loyal customer base.
  • The loyal customer base generates good word-of-mouth, bringing in new highly qualified leads.

In short, with the appropriate tech support, your business enjoys holistic development, making your customers happy.

How to Find a Well-Rounded Calgary IT Support Company?

While outsourced IT services offer many benefits, hiring a run-of-the-mill IT company will cause your business more harm than good. You will need to invest in a competent Calgary IT support organization, which is easier said than done.

Taking the following precautions can help you find such a service provider in no time. 

Start by Defining Your Technology Needs

The first step is to define your technology needs. If you don’t know what you want, how can you find a suitable Calgary IT support firm?

You will need to identify and documenting all your technology needs before you start headhunting for a service provider. This step will ensure you don’t end up with an IT agency that offers one-size-fits-all solutions.

Choose a Provider Who Knows Your Industry’s Technology

Each industry has unique technology needs. Working with an IT support business that understands your industry’s technology can help you hit the ground running.

The service provider will also offer customized IT solutions to help you reach your business goals. Before hiring, ask if the company has worked with businesses in your niche.  

Check Their Ability to Scale

Your business will keep expanding over time. As it does, your technology needs will also change. Your service provider should be able to scale up (or down) accordingly. Make sure they have the resources to scale quickly and efficiently. And yes, don’t forget to ask how much the scale-up will cost you.  

Find a Local IT Support Partner

While most IT issues can now be resolved remotely, you will need on-site support from time to time. When you hire a Calgary IT support agency, they can quickly send a technician over to fix the issue.

However, a non-local business will most likely send a partner vendor for on-site support. It may affect the response time and service quality, resulting in significant losses. Besides, it’s always good to support a local business.

Don’t Overlook Response Time

While a local managed IT provider can offer a quick response, it’s necessary to know how quickly they can do it. Usually, the response time is around 60 minutes for on-site support. Remote support can be offered instantly, depending on the IT issue. But it could be longer. Whatever the response time is, make sure to include it in your SLA.

Draw Up a Watertight SLA

The SLA is the backbone of your relationship with the service provider. Make sure to review it thoroughly before signing. You need to include all your technology needs, performance requirements, and payment and penalty terms in the SLA.  

Capability Should Supersede Cost

Most SMBs want to find a cost-effective service provider, which is understandable. However, partnering with the cheapest provider will probably backfire. Such IT companies will often fail to meet the desired performance standards, leaving you in a lurch.

If you are looking for quality, be prepared to spend a little more. The bottom line is your investment and ROI need to strike a perfect balance. When you are investing in a good IT agency, make sure it is worth the investment.

Conclusion

In this increasingly digitalized world, running a business without technology, even a small one, is next to impossible. Most small business owners fail to make the most out of technology as they often lack technical knowledge. That’s where a managed IT service provider can help. With their technical advice, your business can thrive and always stay ahead of the curve. The sooner you get outsourced tech support, the better. 

Get in Touch with IDS

Are you looking for IT support in Calgary? Find out how ID Solutions can help your business flourish!