If your network has grown so much that your in-house staff can't manage it, if you are plagued by timeouts and error messages or losing sleep over server crashes, it may be time to get some network maintenance software or hire a local area network maintenance consultant.
There's a wide array of products and services that address LAN maintenance for businesses. Here are some things you should do when it's time to start looking:
1. Define your LAN maintenance needs.
2. Look for alternatives to hiring a LAN maintenance consultant.
3. Consider large companies in your search for a provider.
Define your local network maintenance requirementsMake you are clear about what you want your LAN maintenance consulting company to do for you. Include a list of all your technology equipment, local area network maintenance that you currently perform, current problems that need to be addressed, required local network maintenance hours of coverage and required service levels. Write a request for proposal that clearly defines your requirements, and make sure that your service level requirements are clearly addressed in your service level agreement or contract.
Service Level Agreements, and contracts.
Do the job in-house with trained staff and network maintenance softwareIf you employ some technically proficient people, consider sponsoring them in network support and management training. In the long run, it may cost you less than the price of a LAN maintenance consulting company, and an employee has more stake in keeping your network running. Already have IT staff? Consider using network maintenance software.
Don't rule out the big LAN maintenance consulting companiesAs long as someone in your office knows how to read event logs and error messages, an off-site LAN maintenance and support management company might be the best solution. While companies with a national presence may not be able to give you the same personal service as the guy down the street, you can be sure of their knowledge and experience.
- Use word of mouth recommendations to find candidates. Look through your local listings. Post your RFP on your website.
- You may want to hire a consultant to interview and evaluate the providers if you have no IT staff.
- Check references to make sure the LAN maintenance consulting companies in question have clients that are similar to you.
- A lot of long-term customers is a good sign. Too many shorter term customers may not be. Beware of companies that are more interested in getting more customers than servicing the ones they have. If you hear from your sales account represenative more than your tech, it may be time to look for a new provider.