1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

*Business Network Service Provider Question*

Discussion in 'Networking' started by jong, Dec 22, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. jong

    jong Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8
    Hello,

    Can you provide me with any suggestions for assistance in establishing the choice of a small to medium business network provider? Are there any websites with network self-assessment questionnaires or other information regarding this topic? I've found a couple of small articles but am seeking more information.

    The company I work for wants to make the switch from their current provider to a new provider and unfortunately the individual who would normally administer this process is not present to do so. Therefore a number of us are working together to make the decision.

    I have the current service provider contract to work from so that is a great help.

    If you can provide any input, please advise.

    thank you for your expertise :)
     
  2. Sponsor

  3. rhynes

    rhynes

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    913
    are you talking about someone to maintain your network? or for internet services?
     
  4. jong

    jong Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8
    I am referring to network maintenance (server and workstations). The company has a separate ISP. Thank you!
     
  5. rhynes

    rhynes

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    913
    I'm a self employed server/security consultant and these are my opinions:

    First of all, appreciate the gravity of selecting the wrong individual or company and the damage they can do. You are effectively putting your company's health and welfare in someone elses hands and it's a responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly. For example, If backups aren't working and there's a crash, how do you recover and what's the value of your data? What would it cost your company to replace that data if it's lost?

    Make sure you understand your needs and wants.

    First and foremost, get references and call them or better yet, visit them:
    Though i'm self employed, I sometimes contract my services to other consulting firms and my main deal with them is that I get references from their clients I visit, could just willingness to foot a simple phone call. If someone has any experience in the field they should be able to supply references on demand. If they are very experienced, then 20 references should be easy for them. Do contact the references. If you feel the references are blowing smoke up your arse, back out of it and keep looking. I always tell my clients to be honest, i'm not perfect. I want them to talk about past problems and how they were dealt with.

    Attitude is everything, ego and confidence are not necessarily the same. We are not doctors saving lives and ego's shouldn't get in the way of your business. Remember, it is your network, not your techs. If he/she gives you the idea that it is their network, look for someone else. Too many companies get hijacked in this way as they don't have passwords or any sort of access to servers and firewalls. If you feel pressured by a tech, again, think twice before hiring them.

    Techs can talk the talk, but I spend too much of my time cleaning up messes that other techs made. Of all the servers and networks I look at every year, on average, I get to call up 2 techs and compliment them on their work. The rest? Well, can't go into that here.

    A good network assessment usually takes an hour or two and I look for problems with server/network, security/firewall, antivirus, spot check a few workstations for viruses and get a feel for the knowledge of the employees. This is done for free. Remember, your employees are your biggest security risk, if you get hacked, chances are if because of an employee. Look at the current backup, is it working? I'll do a test restore to make sure data is recoverable. If it isn't, it's on the list of things to do.

    Get a few opinions:
    I can't tell you how often companies have called me looking for a quote or verification of a quote, and do they really need what's being offered. So many times the quote is above and beyond what the company needs and it'll just complicate matters and cost more in the short term and long term. For example, an exchange server installation for a company with 3 workstations? Yeah, all too often.
     
  6. jong

    jong Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8
    Thank you for your experience and the response. This is very helpful information.

    In your experience are the transitions from one provider to another difficult/bumpy? Any suggestions on how to make a transition like this execute smoothly?
     
  7. O111111O

    O111111O

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Messages:
    894
    What area of the US are you in?

    There are a myriad of different managed services companies out there that provide desktop/enduser support.

    Depending on the size of your company, and where you're looking you may want to write an RFP and have regional companies provide you with a list of services they offer.

    The biggest thing that I can say is contract,contract,contract. It's a two way street [i.e. a partnership]. You want to find an organization that will provide in WRITING a service level agreement or objective that will detail response time, level of services, and what can be expected from both parties.

    Having a contract that states this is going to provide you and the company with a mutually agreeable circumstance that will allow you the assurance of an SLA [i.e. an "out" if they don't perform"], and will allow the organization the long term contract that should allow them to properly staff to maintain a given SLA for all off their customers based on the revenue generated by the contracts. [i.e. You're receiving economy of scale by your provider.]
     
  8. jong

    jong Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8
    Thanks again for the response. Very appreciated.

    Midwest/Nebraska. Is it absolutely necessary that a company rep. visit our physical site during the preliminary part of the search process? What kind of response can we expect without having them on the premises first? We just don't want to expose ourselves to any risk by bringing in a company, having them look at our setup and then not choose them.

    At this point we have received a self-assessment questionnaire from one of the companies which asks a series of basic questions about needs , opportunities and some very specific technical questions.

    The current contract we have lists support services from our provider but as you state above, not everyting is written in clear detail, which has caused Help Desk customer service issues for the executive managment here.
     
  9. rhynes

    rhynes

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    913
    It doesn't have to be a bumpy process at all... It is difficult to have someone look at your setup if you're not sure if you want to use them but at the same time, i've turned down jobs in the past because I knew the reputation of the previous company and didn't want to get involved. I've also looked at other networks and said to the client you need a total rebuild to fix the mess and walked away knowing they won't pay to have the job done right. So it is a two way street, you must be willing to accept the liability of a new admin but I don't have to accept the liability of your company. There really is alot of trust involved.
    Not saying your network is in a mess, just letting you know that i, and other techs I know, have turned down company networks for various reasons.

    I am yet to sign a contract with a company, tho i've offered the service. Nor have I ever signed a confidentiality agreement. If that's your cup of tea, do it. It's difficult to set things in stone as todays technology has to be dynamic.

    For example:
    I've dealt with companies that don't restrict internet access or monitor what their employees do, therefore I can't give any kind of guarantee that your network won't get hacked. If the company won't let me control what their employees do, I won't be signing anything with them...
     
  10. jong

    jong Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8
    OK, thank you for your expertise and the free advice. We have interviews scheduled this week. Your experience is very appreciated.
     
  11. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/528762

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice