Five Criteria to Demand for Properly Vetted IT Support
The worst mistake a business can make when choosing a computer support firm is not properly vetting their options. A data breach from using unvetted IT support is now considered willful neglect, and can lead to penalties ranging from $10,000 to at least $50,000 by credit card companies and various federal agencies. For healthcare and banking and their business associates these penalties may even be assessed daily.
Also, if you’re thinking your firm is not considered a public organization or in a regulated industry, then be advised that under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) of 2003 The Federal Trade Commission is developing a similar fine schedule for ALL businesses that improperly dispose of employee or customer information leading to identity theft.
Listed below are the five criteria you should demand for vetted IT support:
1) Verified Ownership —These are the only entities with ownership that may be verified by the Secretary of State for the security and privacy of your data. For example, Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be owned by felons, competitors, or foreign entities with no public record of ownership.
2) Intellectual Property —What does an IT service provider really have to offer your business without registered intellectual property at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO)? With a protected name and tagline you know they are established with aligned motivations to your business goals like our trademark Streamline Your Technology® to reduce complexity and avoid risk. Using our patent-pending methodology also shows proven process versus “winging it” or guessing with some questionable steps from the Internet.
3) Certification —A Gold Competency by manufacturer such as our Microsoft Gold Cloud Competency is required by approved specialization for the highest level of skills that is audited by Microsoft and published publicly at partnercenter.microsoft.com. The Silver competencies for Microsoft are a big step down and only require limited or no ongoing training with only three reference customers per year and should be avoided by customers as high risk with limited experience. This fact is also true for other industry leaders.
4) Regulated —The managed IT services industry is now effectively regulated because of the privacy and security requirements required by industry leaders like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Vetted IT support firms publish publicly annual Compliance Checklists and Executive Summary Risk Assessments. Basic Business Associate Agreements do not meet compliance verification. Failure to perform compliance training or maintain regulation policies and procedures is a disregard for customer privacy and data security.
5) Industry Experts — #1 best-selling books in areas of specialization substantiates expertise. Just like tenured professors you want experts with years of learning and implementation that have no qualms about sharing their knowledge versus incompetent novices Googling for the answers.
In this era of fake news, the aspect all of the above share is attribution to a reputable source. None of these criteria are paid advertising, either. For the first time in the history of the IT support industry there are real barriers to entry which protect clients from being swindled.