What you should be looking for?
Where do I find a company that can help us with support, purchasing and options?
Should I just purchase from the shop near me?
Who is going to be able to understand our needs when we decide what we like?
You may be able to outsource all of this to an IT Partner, but as we pressed earlier if you plan to recruit such a company be sure to partner with them as though they were an employee of you business. Be sure that you can trust them, that they are reputable and will live up to what they say they can do and of course support your business interests and direction.
What costs should I expect moving forward?
There are of course ongoing costs that you should expect to incur. Internet plans, maintenance plans and agreements, warrantees, training and support are all costs that will vary depending on your business size and dependability on your IT systems and network.
For example in relation to the support of networks: a business of 20 users will most likely have a higher cost for IT support than a smaller business of 10 users. However, if the 10 user business needs a variety of different software applications and has a high volume usage of the network and its devices, then they will cost more to support. There is also the option of 24-hour support if your business requires this, and if so then the cost may be higher again.
Once again, discussing all of these variables with your IT partner is highly recommended to ensure that you are not over paying for the right services.
Option: Value-added resellers
Aside from your classic IT consultant, help can also come from a value added reseller (VAR) who can sell you networking equipment as well as provide installation and consulting services. With either a consultant or a VAR, you are able to gain access to a great deal of expertise without paying for a full-time technical employee.
With the exception of very low-end networks, VAR prices tend to be more or less comparable to any price you could obtain on your own. In addition, consulting costs can run from $75-$125 an hour.
Both VARs and consultants can take on a whole range of responsibilities for you, from analyzing your present and future networking needs and designing the infrastructure to installing the network and troubleshooting later on. They may even train one or more of your own employees in day-to-day network management and security.
If you want one of your employees to eventually take over, however, make sure that such an arrangement is a signed part of the consulting contract.