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As your small business grows, so does the sensitive data your business needs to store. With so much information in your systems, from consumer credit card numbers to health plans for your employees, you're realizing that it's time to hire an IT professional.
But what characteristics should you look for in the right person or firm for the job? Let's look at how to find the professional that you're looking for, from beginning to end.

Understand What You're Looking to Accomplish

Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what goals you're trying to achieve as a company. What are the primary roles an IT professional needs to play to help you achieve those goals?
As an example, it might be more cost-effective to hire a student without much professional IT experience. But they may not be familiar with the business challenges they'll face, forcing you to hire another specialist down the road even though you were able to save a little money now.

You Might Need More Than One Person

Don't make the mistake of assuming that one individual can do the entire job. While this may be true in some instances, it can be difficult for one person to wear every potential IT hat.
IT and IT security involve a wide knowledge base. It's incredibly rare that one person will be an expert in all areas. That's why some of the best IT consulting NJ has to offer have teams of specialists ready to take on any challenge.

Skill and Talent Are Different

A top-level IT professional needs to be more than just technical. They need to have a deep understanding of what problems can happen, why they happen and how they can be avoided.
Small business owners sometimes make the mistake of hiring IT professionals simply because they are experienced in a specific technology or tool. But this same individual might not have a good understanding of core processes and procedures.
Find a firm that understands why specific breaches might happen and how they can prevent them before they become a problem. Don't spend too much time focusing on if they're certified in your specific firewall brand.
A firm that understands the "why" will be able to learn specific technology requirements.

Experienced and Certified

A certification only demonstrates a very baseline knowledge level. It doesn't replace real-world experience. It's more important to hire experienced IT professionals who are also certified.
Even those with the longest lists of certifications sometimes lack the experience your small business needs.

Perform Reference and Background Checks

Never skip this step when hiring IT for your small business. The people who take on this role will have complete access to the most sensitive data in your company. You need to know that you can trust them with it.
Of course, make sure to obtain references legally and perform background checks in accordance with the law.

Ask the Right Questions

If you're not an expert in technology when it's time to hire IT, bring in someone from the outside who is. They'll be able to ask more specific questions during interview sessions.
It's important to get an overall sense of how a candidate troubleshoots and organizes. You also want to gauge their ability to prioritize tasks and focus on the customer.
Does the firm fit your approach to security? Do you know what they enjoy about working in IT? What frustrates them?
Open-ended questions like this will help elicit broader answers that reveal potential red flags.

Red Flags to Avoid

If you notice any of the following red flags when you're hiring IT, it's time to take your search elsewhere:
  • They use a lot of buzzwords - if they talk over your level of knowledge or can't communicate technical ideas in an easy-to-understand way, they're not a good fit
  • They have strong opinions regarding specific technologies - positive or negative options about a particular technology is normally a sign of a candidate who lacks the knowledge you're looking for
  • A bad attitude about non-tech-savvy users - a good IT professional understands that the ability levels of users vary widely
These are common red flags to look for when hiring IT.

Making the Right Choice

Even if you're not a tech whiz, you can follow these techniques to help you find the IT professional your small business needs. They'll be able to keep your data safe and your business running on all cylinders.

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