IT support

IT Support – help with technology

by Angus Jones

Chances are you are reading this because you need help now!  IT support is one of those things that you never think about until something goes wrong or you need to do something but have no idea how to do it. This guide will look at how to get support and what you must consider.

Information Technology (IT) support refers to any assistance given with technology-related products and services. The role of an IT technical support engineer is primarily to help monitor and maintain computer systems and networks across an organisation.

WHY is keeping my IT running so important?

If your computers and technology are not working you may not be able to make any money, it may also affect your customer service to valued clients. IT support can be critical to your small business to get you running again.

WHAT does IT Support cover?

IT stands for Information Technology and in your business could extend to your computers, phones, printers, network, software, and cloud solutions you use like an accounting package or POS system.

IT support will come in three forms:
  1. Advice & installation of solutions
  2. Repair of issues
  3. Monitoring and optimisation of your IT

The actual support is provided by experts who are most likely running their own small business servicing clients like you. Some of the most common services would include:

  • Hard drive, email, and network configuration
  • Software installation
  • Software, hardware, and network upgrades
  • Desktop support
  • Application solution recommendations
  • Server and application support
  • Cloud services integration
  • Preventative maintenance and network audits
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Virus protection and removal

HOW do I choose the right IT support for my Small Business?

You should consider the following points to determine what you will require from an IT vendor:

  1. Do you need onsite support or do you just need to visit your local computer store where you bought your PC or other IT devices?
  2. Might you require out of hours support?
  3. Can the IT support representative talk to you in plain English so you understand what is going on?
  4. Are phone support and remote interrogation offered?  This will save both time and cost.
  5. Area of coverage. If you have a 2nd location can this firm provide adequate support?
  6. What sort of response times do you need and what can be provided? Rule of thumb here is the more critical the resolution, the better the response time needed. You could represent this by how much money you are losing if an IT solution is not working.
  7. Do you want a Service contract that would provide you a predictable fixed cost per month or pay by the hour or a hybrid of the two?
  8. It is possible to have an IT support business monitor your IT environment which could mean issues are fixed before you are aware of them? This could be as simple as creating an alert to notify the internet is down.
  9. What is the process to log a service request and to check its status?  Many IT service companies offer a portal where “tickets are logged” via an internet portal providing you extra peace of mind.
  10. Does the proposed IT services business have a good reputation?  You can ask for references and also search on the internet.
  11. How much are you prepared to pay to keep everything running?  It may come as a surprise to many that the cost of IT support can far exceed the cost of the hardware (PC) in the first place.

You can find IT support by googling small business IT support, asking associates for recommendations, or even asking your local computer store. Note it can be hard to find a good vendor.

HINTS

  • Reliability comes in two forms.  Make sure the business you deal with is reputable and delivers consistent service.  Having great customer service in the first month is no good if it is bad in the 3rd month. Also understand the actual person visiting your office of a multi-person firm may not be as reliable as another.  If the individual is sub-standard insist on a different person servicing your business.
  • Confidentiality is critical.  Remember you are giving access to an external party to your confidential information held on your computers.
  • If your IT device such as a printer is not working is it a configuration issue or is it just broken and need a warranty repair.  If it is a warranty repair, this will in theory not cost you anything.  Having an IT person in your office to tell you this will incur a per hour fee.
  • Same day service and service out of normal business hours will most likely cost you more.
  • We have a whole guide devoted to back up however if you do nothing else ensure you back up your data and keep it securely on the cloud or at an external location. If everything goes wrong, you will still have a copy.

SUMMARY – Reliable Tech Support

IT support may seem expensive until you need it, and at that time you will be prepared to pay a lot to get back up and running.  Pick a reliable support organisation that you can call on when needed.

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