When it comes to information technology (IT) services, many small business owners don’t know where to begin. You know using the right tech in the right way is a vital part of success in just about any modern business. What you might not know is exactly what your small business needs from an IT support service. This makes choosing an IT provider way more stressful than necessary.
BP’s Picks for Best IT Support Companies for Small Businesses
You don’t have to waste your time wading deep into the waters of IT service specializations. You’ve got more important things to do. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you by ranking the best IT support companies for small businesses across five of the most important areas of information technology support.
How to Choose the Best IT Support Companies for Your Small Business Needs
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.
The 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.
For most small businesses, managed IT services hit that sweet spot between too little tech support and too extensive IT support. There are plenty of business IT services out there that offer quality managed IT solutions, but one that consistently receives high ratings is Sirius Computer Solutions.
The Benefits of Managed IT Services
In managed IT services, you’re outsourcing the management of your entire technological infrastructure to one company that does a little bit of everything. Managed IT services subscriptions usually monitor your small business IT infrastructure to make sure everything is online, secure, and operating smoothly.
A managed IT support service may help provide routine data security and management services. These companies also manage your small business’ cloud computing infrastructure, hardware needs and upgrades, and other areas of your company’s IT.
Managed IT isn’t the right choice for every small business. Some small business owners have more extensive needs in certain specialized areas than you should expect to get from a typical managed services contract. Other companies with minimal technology needs and a shoestring budget to match would be better off paying for basic tech support only.
However, if there’s one type of business IT solutions that apply to most small businesses, it’s managed IT support services. For all but the smallest companies, exploring managed IT support services is a good place to start your search for the technological solutions you need.
What Sirius Managed Services Brings to Small Businesses
Just because your business is small doesn’t mean its IT needs are, too. Sirius Computer Solutions has upwards of 300 technical pros on staff, with more than 4,000 technical certifications between them. There’s bound to be a Sirius expert who can handle whatever challenge arises for your small business.
Sirius Computer Solutions offers managed services in all different categories of business IT services: general systems management, network and data security, infrastructure hardware, cloud computing and data storage, resiliency and disaster recovery, data infrastructure management, and more.
The company has one of the longest histories in the IT industry, having been founded as Star Data Systems in San Antonio, TX, in 1980. The company still has its headquarters there, along with locations across the United States. Sirius Computer Solutions currently serves more than 5,400 clients in all industries, from small businesses to huge corporate enterprises.
Although technology has changed a lot in the last 40 years, you don’t have to worry whether Sirius has kept pace. The company has consistently landed the coveted first-place spot on Channel Futures‘ rankings lists, topping the MSP 501 list for 2017, 2018, and 2019, and then ranking first in 2020’s new category, NextGen 101.
Having your company’s information technology needs handled by a professional can put a strain on a small business’s budget. Outsourcing IT support is often more affordable than hiring full-time in-house tech support employees, which is one reason why the practice has become popular with small to mid-sized businesses. However, you could still spend hundreds of dollars per month—per user—to get fully managed IT services from a third party.
If spending tens of thousands of dollars is out of the question, you need a budget-friendly help desk-only service like Support.com.
Affordable, No-Frills Help Desk IT Support
Managed IT services encompass more than many small businesses truly need—especially businesses on a tight budget. If you strip away all the extra support services that are nice to have but may not be essential for what your company does, what you’re left with is help desk-style tech support services.
Help desk IT support means you have IT professionals waiting on standby. When something goes wrong or you have a specific technical need in mind, you reach out to the help desk for assistance. Since help desk services are provided on demand, rather than continuously monitoring your IT infrastructure, they’re more affordable.
The Value of a Flat-Rate Fee Structure
What makes Support.com’s remote IT help desk support particularly budget-friendly is the affordable flat-rate monthly fee that covers multiple employees in an unlimited number of locations. The company’s TechSolutions Business plans start at just $49 per month for businesses with up to five users (employees) and support all devices used in all locations by those covered employees.
Other help desk IT support companies charge per incident, so your company could unknowingly rack up a bill way beyond your budget. These companies also limit the time they’re willing to spend on a single incident, which means you’re either rushed through troubleshooting to a “fix” that may not really fix everything or you’re forced to spend extra money for help with the same problem.
With Support.com, your costs are consistent as well as affordable, so there won’t be any surprise bills. You can count on your IT support company to really fix your problems, no matter how long it takes.
Round-the-Clock Help Without the Cost of Continuous Monitoring
Another great thing about Support.com’s TechSolutions service is that help is available when you need it—24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you need help troubleshooting existing network connections, connecting new devices, or just getting a sluggish computer up to speed, the Tech Pros at Support.com are available by email, phone, chat, and virtual house call provided directly to your computer over the web.
You can also access thousands of Guided Path tutorials, step-by-step instructions that help you deal with common computer problems, if you want to try a quick fix on your own before reaching for the phone.
A lot of outsourced IT support takes place remotely, with experienced information technology personnel logging in to manage your system and services online. When it comes to repairing the computer itself—the actual hardware that makes up desktop and laptop computers, the physical components of routers and firewall hardware, and the other hardware components of your infrastructure system—that’s not possible.
Someone has to be on-site to physically examine and perform repair work on these pieces. Our recommendation for computer product repair is Techs in a Sec.
Convenient Multi-Location On-Site IT Support Available Nationwide
One of the best advantages of choosing Techs in a Sec for your small business computer repair needs is its nationwide presence. Finding a good, reliable company to do on-site IT support work like computer repair can be more challenging than finding a company that handles only the online aspects of information technology services.
Many computer repair companies are locally based, which means small business owners in each different geographical area have to compare a different set of competing companies and try to choose between them. Since these companies and their markets are smaller, small businesses often have less data to go on when selecting a computer repair IT support company, which can make it harder to find a service that’s the right fit for your business.
If you happen to have multiple business locations in different geographical regions, you may have to deal with different computer repair companies for each office. This can be a real headache—unless you choose one IT company with nationwide reach.
Making Computer Repair Convenient, No Matter How Many Business Locations You Have
Because Techs in a Sec operates across the entire United States—and even in certain areas of Canada—you don’t have to worry about finding a dependable local computer repair company for each of your office locations. You don’t need to manage multiple subscriptions, juggle bills from IT companies based in different areas, or make a separate call for each location where computer problems arise.
Techs in a Sec streamlines the process, offering convenient multi-location support, all under one contract. When you’re a small business owner, this convenience is crucial. Every extra moment you’re forced to spend dealing with computer repair and IT issues takes away from the time you have to build up your business.
Customized Solutions for Small Businesses
Besides its unmatched capacity to provide multi-location computer repair support, there are other reasons to favor Techs in a Sec. The company offers full-service IT support not limited to hardware installation and repair, so you can use it for other technology needs, as well.
Techs in a Sec creates customized solutions for business entities of any size, as well as residential customers. Instead of being locked into pre-set, pre-priced plans that may not fit your needs, you can work with the company to configure an IT support arrangement that works for you.
Best Network Security: ScienceSoft
If cybersecurity is your top priority, you don’t want just any IT support company that happens to handle network security. Your small business needs a company that fully understands network security threats and how to neutralize them. You’ll find a robust assortment of network security offerings from ScienceSoft, a global, U.S.-based IT solutions company headquartered in McKinney, Texas.
Certified Ethical Hackers to Safeguard Your Site From Attacks
To really thwart the most sinister threats to your network’s security, you need to think like a hacker. That’s why ScienceSoft employs certified ethical hackers to preemptively identify the weaknesses and vulnerabilities that could leave your company’s data open to attacks.
ScienceSoft’s experts bring to your small business a complex and varied set of skills in network security. That makes them well-equipped to craft and implement the multi-layer defense needed to fully safeguard your network infrastructure, cloud security, and everything in between.
Security assessment? Check. Compliance testing? Check. Penetration testing? Check, check, and check—using black box, gray box, and white box testing approaches. The extensive array of security testing services you will find at ScienceSoft checks off every possible concern on your list. It’s all here, from cloud security to web application security and from infrastructure security to email security.
Your small business’s data and systems will be in good hands with SIEM (security information and event management solutions), DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) protection, IDS/IPS (intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system), and DLP (data loss prevention) implementation, and much more.
Cybersecurity at Every Stage and in Every Aspect of Your Company’s IT
One of the things to love about ScienceSoft’s cybersecurity services is that they aren’t one-size-fits-all. Small businesses looking to audit and improve their network security can purchase one-time assessment, security testing, and cybersecurity implementation services.
If you’re interested in long-term security support services, you can enlist the company’s managed services plan options in areas like cloud security, email security, and vulnerability assessment. ScienceSoft also offers cybersecurity consulting as well as support, if you have tech-savvy personnel on-staff who just need guidance on the right security measures to implement.
Although ScienceSoft has 16 years of experience in the network security industry, the full-service IT company has more than 31 years of total experience in information technology. For small businesses that need general IT support and specialized network security services, ScienceSoft offers the best of both worlds without the hassle of having to contract with multiple IT companies.
Best Application Development: AllianceTek
If technology plays a bigger role in your business, yet you’re not a “tech company,” per se, you may need more than your garden variety managed IT support. Your business needs may include custom software platforms or applications that are expertly designed to integrate seamlessly into your business operations. In that case, you’re going to want to hire an IT support company that develops software applications, such as AllianceTek.
An Emphasis on Developing Exceptional Apps and Software Solutions
The custom app or software you need to run your company may not be the core of your business, but it is a core part of your operations. Far from being in the background, the software applications that your customers use to interact with your company—for example, to submit data, place orders, track projects, and more—can make or break your business.
A mobile app or software platform that is clunky, slow, unintuitive (or counterintuitive), or just plain requires too much effort could drive your customers elsewhere. With the stakes this high, you should only trust your small business software needs to an IT company with plenty of app-making experience.
AllianceTek fits the bill, with more than 14 years of experience in the applications development industry. One of the most important benefits small business owners get from using AllianceTek is customization. While some agencies that claim to develop apps use cookie-cutter technology so that each app they create looks and functions the same, AllianceTek doesn’t.
Instead, the company tailors the app and the process of creating it to your unique needs. The IT experts at AllianceTek realize that small businesses have different needs than massive corporations, but they also look at more individual factors like the type and nature of your business as a whole and the project in particular that you’re undertaking.
Another reason to choose AllianceTek is for end-to-end app development support. Companies that don’t offer this end-to-end service may take your basic idea and turn it into an app—and then disappear. If it turns out that the app as created doesn’t achieve the outcome you wanted, you’re out of luck.
AllianceTek gets involved at the design and planning stage, builds your app from scratch, and sees it through to testing and deployment, so that won’t happen to you. You won’t learn too late that a fatal flaw in the design leads to a poor user experience or pay a lot of money to end up with an app that’s full of frustrating bugs and glitches. AllianceTek is your partner every step of the way and even concludes projects by providing a return-on-investment report card so small business owners can really see what they have accomplished.
AllianceTek’s application development services include mobile application development for smartphones and tablets, open source application development, custom customer relationship management (CRM) application development, and enterprise application development. The company partners with SharePoint collaboration system framework as well as CRM platforms like SalesForce.
A Full-Service IT Support Company
It’s not hard to find a company that develops software applications. It is a challenge to find companies that excel at app development while also providing a broader array of information technology services. One of the great things about AllianceTek is that, for small businesses that need their own custom applications, this company offers everything you need from an IT support company.
Turn to AllianceTek for help with ecommerce, cloud computing, business process automation, business intelligence, data modeling, and more. Security is a part of every task, from developing cloud collaboration tools that won’t leave data vulnerable to creating ecommerce platforms that keep payment details secure.
Outsourcing your business IT solutions is a smart move for most small businesses. Whether you’re looking for tech support, the convenience of a bundle of managed IT services, or specialized support with cybersecurity, app development, or hardware repair, there are numerous options out there for business owners to explore.
Use this list as a guide to not only start pricing out companies and services for your small business but also to contemplate what you need from an IT support company. Think about what services you need, what services would be nice to have, and whether you want a long-term working relationship or a one-time assessment.
Interested in other ways you can help jumpstart your small business operations? Check out some of our other Business Pundit rankings on products that help you take the next steps toward business success:
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