Written by: Daniel Haurey on 02/09/16


Getting the right IT support in place is critical to make your small to mid-sized business (SMB) run smoothly and efficiently.  89% of SMBs experience problems because they bought cheap IT equipment. But it’s equally important to keep good equipment running, and for many companies, that means retaining the best outsourced IT support available.

Lots of small and mid-size companies in the NY and NJ regions struggle with choosing the right level of support – Do we need 24/7? Or will 9×5 (nine hours per day, 5 days a week) be enough? That’s important. But so is making sure it’s the right quality of support, and that can be trickier to determine. Not all IT support and outsourcing contracts are created equal.  And it’s beyond the fine print too.

Let’s look at the support window first. Many companies automatically gravitate to a 24/7 outsourced help desk as a knee jerk reaction.  But those contracts may cost more and may not be necessary. To help guide you, imagine this scenario: It’s 2am on a Saturday morning and your server goes down. A business process that typically runs overnight comes to a halt. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the potential negative impact on revenue? Say you do business 12 hours a day at an average of $200 per transaction. If transactions can’t resume until 10am, what’s the impact?
  • What is the risk to your reputation if the result of that processing is delayed by a few hours?
  • How does the cost associated with these compare to the cost of 24/7 support?

Many SMBs may be surprised when they do the math and realize that 9×5 support (at Exigent, that means 8:30-5:30 weekdays) is the right fit for their businesses, and a great way to keep a lid on IT costs.

For some businesses, though, the answer is yes, 24-hour, 7-days-a-week outsourced IT support is essential. For example, recently the POS and credit card processing system at global brand with a flagship retail location in Times Square crashed on Thanksgiving eve, bringing business to a halt on what would have been two of their busiest days of the year, Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving day. Thanks to Exigent’s swift remote and onsite support response, however, disaster was averted as we worked into the early morning hours to bring their operations back online so sales could resume.

For businesses like this, the next big question after whether they need 24/7 support is: What does 24/7 support really mean?

  • Here’s what you probably picture when you think of 24/7 support: A well-trained technician, sitting at a fully decked out help desk, watching for alerts and ready to take action the minute something goes wrong.
  • Here’s what many outsourced IT support companies in the NY/NJ region really mean by 24/7 support: A tech “on call” with his cell phone resting on the nightstand next to his bed. Is he actively monitoring your system? No. Will he wake up clear-eyed and ready to take swift and intelligent action should an alarm go off? Maybe. But maybe not.

When Exigent decided to offer 24/7 support, we thought the latter scenario wasn’t good enough. We went whole hog with a staffed, 24/7 help desk operation with alert techs ready to prevent or remedy whatever goes wrong, because we believe that’s what quality outsourced IT support looks like. Unfortunately we can’t say the same of many other IT companies in the NY/NJ region.

Getting the right IT support for your business is as important as choosing the right technology. It’s important not only to buy the right quantity of support, but the right quality as well.