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Understanding a cloud services provider’s support structure

Outsourced IT support and cloud solutions should include comprehensive helpdesk services.

Outsourced IT support and cloud solutions should include comprehensive helpdesk services.

The cloud is becoming an increasingly attractive option to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that want to lower hardware and software solution costs. Combined with managed IT support, the price tag associated with maintaining IT assets is greatly reduced.

When SMBs choose IT and cloud service providers, there are a number of factors that should be considered. Obviously, companies need to know that their vendors can offer cloud software environments conducive to their goals. This means being able to host and effectively run specific applications that are easily accessible and seamlessly share data between users.

But, one of the most important considerations is the support businesses can expect to receive for their cloud solutions. Providers should clearly map out their support structure. SMBs have to know who they call for different types of issues, what the standard response times will be and if there are additional fees for specific support services.

It is also important that a vendor understands a company's onsite IT solutions to properly integrate cloud functionality. This includes desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone hardware choices, operating systems for each and whether or not a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is in place.

"Running your own technical support is a pain," writes Nick Hardiman for TechRepublic. "It's expensive, messy and complicated. Outsourcing technical support is a possibility every enterprise leader has examined so they can concentrate on innovation instead of getting bogged down with the job of keeping the lights on."

Understanding the level of support one can expect from an outsourced IT support provider is essential for companies that don't have the resources to manage technology assets on their own.