Calgary IT Consulting: How to Choose an IT Consultant
Every business uses IT in some capacity to manage their products, offer services, or run their internal business operations. Technology has revolutionized the way we all live, and yet. it’s not always as simple as downloading an app or restarting your computer.
Technology comes with its challenges, such as cyberattacks, failures, and disruptions. If you want your business to stay productive and safe at all times, you’ll need to prepare for the threats lurking on the horizon. You can’t wait until your business is in the midst of an IT crisis to look for help.
That’s where IT consulting services can make a huge difference. A consultant will help you prepare for the future, as well as handle the present.
Calgary, Alberta is home to the second-highest number of corporate head offices in Canada, and plenty of small businesses. All of these companies are vulnerable to threats – but they also have a world of opportunity for growth. An IT consultant will help small and large businesses see both sides of the equation and prepare accordingly.
What is an outsourced IT consultant? Great question.
An IT consultant is a third-party provider that gives businesses access to IT help with data management, security, backups, and more. Consultant services go beyond just advice or maintenance – they help charter a course for your company’s IT.
If your business is growing and its needs are changing, you could benefit from some IT guidance and expertise. Perhaps it’s time to look into hiring an IT consultant.
As you start this journey, think about what your business really needs and what kind of consultant will best suit those requirements. Let’s talk about it.
Why Do You Need IT Support from a Consultant?
1. To Stay Safe
Canadian businesses of all industries and sizes are vulnerable to cyberattacks, viruses, and data breaches. IT attacks and disruptions can cause prolonged operational downtime, damage reputations, and incur pricey reparation costs.
Cyberattacks such as phishing scams, ransomware, and data breaches are some of the most damaging – especially to small businesses. It’s extremely difficult for small companies in Calgary to recover from these sorts of attacks.
In fact, Canadian companies can pay up to $12 million to fully recover from a cyberattack. This is well beyond the price most small businesses can afford to pay – which is why many go out of business after just one attack.
Even if a small business can bounce back financially from a cyberattack, they still face the possibility of a damaged reputation. If a cybercriminal gains access to private consumer information, those customers will likely lose faith in your company – as will the community.
This is where an IT consultant can help. Outsourced IT consulting firms can increase your preventative measures to maintain a secure business network for their clients. They help you develop a plan to reduce the risk of IT attacks and keep you (and your customers) safer.
2. To Access Better Tools and Technology
Businesses are under pressure to keep up with ever-evolving tools and technology. This can be both hard to manage and expensive. An outsourced IT consultant will help businesses access advanced technology that meets their needs – without breaking the bank or wasting hours of precious time.
The overall goal of a quality IT consultant is to help businesses improve internal workflows and processes. Therefore, they will advise you on affordable technology that will help you put your best foot forward. You might not even know what IT options are out there until a consulting team introduces you to them.
3. To Receive Proper IT Support
Many small businesses lack IT support or will set up a mediocre in-house support team. They might assign a few employees to handle any technical issues that arise, but they won’t shell out money for highly trained, reliable IT professionals.
That can be a problem – and one that an IT consulting firm can fix.
Businesses need dedicated IT consultants with the experience and training required to advise and provide meaningful support. They will help you reduce the number of IT issues the business will come across, as well as provide proper IT support when things go wrong.
Your Canadian business deserves reliable IT support at all times, regardless of its size or industry. Partnering with an IT consultant will ensure you know exactly what kind of help you need, then access it as necessary.
There are many reasons why you might want to partner with an IT consultant, but those are some of the top ones. Now, let’s talk about what you want from an IT consultant in the area.
What Should You Look for in a Calgary IT Consultant?
1. Advise on Multilevel Security
Because all businesses are at risk of cyberattacks, it’s important to find an IT consultant who understands the importance of a multilevel approach to security. It’s difficult for a cybercriminal to break through several layers of firewall protection and authentication protocols.
Additionally, you’ll want an IT consultant who sets up effective security measures, then continues to run updates, checkups, and maintenance. Viruses and other cyber threats are always evolving, so you’ll need a consultant that will help you anticipate (and fight against) the next danger.
IT consultants in Calgary may customize their security plans to meet geographical needs. Cyber threats vary from country to country, state to state, so it’s a great idea to look for a Calgary IT consultant that knows exactly what local dangers are lurking – and how to defend against them.
2. Detailed Understanding of Compliance Protocols
Many industries – like healthcare, finance, government, etc. – have strict data compliance regulations to meet. Your IT consultant should know everything there is to know about HIPPA, HITECH, PCI, CMMC, and other protocols – depending on the industry.
This is crucial to avoiding fines and mishandling data. More importantly, staying compliant is essential for maintaining client trust. There can be no gray areas or mysteries with IT compliance. You need an IT consultant who knows the laws backward and forwards.
3. Disaster Recovery Plans and Data Backups
Finally, we recommend choosing an IT consultant that really focuses on worst-case scenario backups. When something goes wrong, or Mother Nature strikes with a natural disaster, you want to know that you can get your business operations up and running again quickly.
Most IT consultants offer services that help businesses recover their valuable data if their servers are damaged beyond repair due to a natural disaster or another problem. They create a Cloud-based backup storage system, and they ensure you have multiple courses of action for disasters.
So, those are three services you want from an IT consultant in Calgary. Now, let’s talk about how you can tell if an IT consultant is one you can really rely on.
Qualities That Mark a Trustworthy IT Consultant
They Have Your Best Interests at Heart
An IT consultant in Calgary should do more for a business than simply take a generalized approach to support. They should focus on building a relationship with your business and your employees.
Worthwhile IT consultants take the time to truly understand what a business needs and then deliver the best services possible. Look at all consultants’ reviews and testimonials from past clients. You want to know that they’ll put their best foot forward with your team and truly do what’s best for you.
They Are Easily Accessible and Readily Available
Businesses can experience an IT issue or cyberattack at any time. To prevent long-term damage and lost revenue, IT consultants must be quick to respond to any request for help.
Look for an IT consultant that guarantees quick response times – hopefully within a day, if not within a certain number of hours. You may want to restrict your search for IT consultants to Calgary alone to ensure you’re within the same time zone and that they can respond quickly whenever you need them.
They Are Familiar with Your Industry
Finally, remember that you want an IT consultant in Calgary that knows what your industry really needs. That means they need to have experience working with similar clients in the past.
Any decent Calgary-based IT company will have experience in some of the more popular local industries of the area, such as the energy, digital media, and creative fields. Businesses in these industries would benefit from a consultant that works exclusively with businesses in and around Calgary and that knows the regional threats and trends.
The bottom line: an IT consultant that’s familiar with your industry will know what tools and technology you should turn to for the best results. If you want to feel like you’re in very capable hands, look for an IT consultant that understands exactly what you need.
Red Flags to Avoid in IT Consultants
Not every IT consultant is created equally. Here are a few red flags that businesses should look out for on their hunt for IT services:
- Dated technology
- Hidden costs and surprise fees
- A lack of security certifications
- Bad online presence or reviews
- Limited IT support hours/offerings
- Non-customizable service level agreements
- Slow response times
There are many reasons for small businesses to turn to an IT consultant in Calgary. Ultimately, an IT consultant will save the company money by providing effective IT plans for your business infrastructure and security.
Businesses that hire IT consultants will find that they have more time to focus on other areas of the business. Rather than worrying over their IT’s daily needs, they’ll be able to prioritize strategies for growth and improvement.
How can businesses in Calgary benefit from an outsourced IT Consultant? Let’s find out together.
Chantale Benoit is the CEO of Frontier Solutions, a Calgary IT support company that has been helping small businesses get the most from IT in a way that allows it to drive their business forward for the past 23 years. Learn more about Chantale and Frontier Solutions here.
Protect Yourself from 90% of All Cyber Attacks
Download our guide to find our how you can protect yourself from 90% of all cyber attacks.