This guide will give you a general overview of IT support services and what you should look for when choosing your next IT support company in Vancouver, BC.
The best part?
We’ve also integrated some information about our services so if you are interested in finding a trusted IT support partner make sure you contact us on 604-239-2174.
So without further ado, let’s get started…
What is IT support and why is it important?
IT support is now considered an essential service, similar to payroll or accounting. It is the service that entities, such as ourselves provide to users of technology products or services when they need help with operating or running their computer, server or cloud services.
Traditionally IT support focused on desktop computers but today support can include various categories such as mobile phones, laptops, servers, networking equipment, telephony and cloud services.
Cloud Collective Tip: As a business, it is important to know what hardware, software and services you currently use so you can give that information to a provider when getting quotes for service. Here at Cloud Collective, we’ll do this for you during our first inventory so you’ll have a better idea of your IT assets.
When talking about IT support most businesses fall into the following categories:
- No dedicated IT support personnel
- Part-time IT support personnel
- A full-time employee who is doing “IT support” on the side
- Full-time IT support person or team
- Using an IT support provider
All of these categories have their potential benefits and weaknesses. However, the first three options are potentially dangerous as we’ll see below.
The four essential roles needed for effective IT support
To effectively support an organization, IT support requires four key full-time positions:
IT support helpdesk
This position handles all user requests and is skilled at common office software and user operating systems. We ensure our helpdesk staff are certified in the latest versions of Microsoft, Adobe and common business applications.
IT support system administrator
System administrators handle the day to day running of servers and cloud infrastructure. They also generally perform all the “behind the scenes” maintenance and security patches for users. This ensures that computers and networks operate at peak performance.
IT support engineer
Support engineers are exceptionally talented and proficient technical workers. They will solve any problems or issues experienced by system administrators during their daily scans and help fix complex server and networking issues. They are sent out to install new equipment or set up new services as they can ensure an expert setup without conflicts.
IT support CIO
The chief information officer (CIO) or virtual CIO depending on the size of your business is normally an extremely proficient engineer and manager who has years of IT experience. Their job is more to coordinate, plan and execute strategies. This results in saving businesses time and money by making workers more efficient through technology. They also help with expansion planning and support business growth by using new technology.
As you can see, these four roles require different skill sets which is why it is generally better for your business to outsource your IT support until you are big enough to hire these positions full time. If you currently have someone part-time or are missing a key role as seen above it may be time to contact us for help on 604-239-2174.
Types of IT support
It may surprise you to know but not all IT support is equal.
Let’s dive into the different types of IT support and see which one might suit your business best.
Proactive IT Support
Proactive IT support is in our opinion the best type of support. It uses a combination of monitoring, maintenance and cutting-edge technology to prevent errors, system crashes and other problems before they even happen. Sometimes proactive IT support can even recover from an error without the user knowing something happened on their computer preventing work disruption. Here at Cloud Collective, we use proactive IT support in everything we do. It is a big component of our managed services offerings *link to homepage*.
Break/Fix or Hourly Rate
Break/fix support or support on an hourly rate is the traditional method of IT support. It is described as support when needed and usually involves a business organising a time and date for a helpdesk, system administrator or an engineer to come out and fix the problem at hand. The problem with traditional break/fix support is that it promotes temporary or easy fixes rather than fixing or tackling “the hard problems”.
We believe managed services are a much better fit for most businesses as our staff are focused on proactive it support which prevents costly catastrophic failures and reduces downtime. It also acts as an insurance policy against future problems as you are covered under your service agreement.
IT support as a service
IT support as a service or managed services for short is the new way of IT support that has many benefits for customers and service providers (MSP’s) alike.
These benefits include:
- 24×7 Support
- Unlimited helpdesk/sysadmin/engineer support for the same monthly fee.
- Proactive monitoring, management and patching of hardware and services.
- Increased uptime (downtime is expensive for both the customer and service provider hence it is in the MSP’s best interest to fix problems fast or before they happen.
- Increased security and best practices.
- Proper IT planning, backup and disaster recovery to help in time of unforeseen disasters.
We would need a whole page to cover all the benefits of support as a service but we hope this list gives you a good overview. If you are interested in further information on managed services and the benefits for your business. Please give us a call on 604-239-2174.
IT support process
Not all IT support requests are treated equally by service providers so below we thought we would give you some information on the various levels of support provided by IT companies and who or what is involved at each level.
Level 0 is known as self-service support and does not involve any external help. This could mean googling for a solution or reading up on steps to fix something yourself. It is not used as a term in the industry but it does pop up from time to time.
Level 1 is the first level of IT support and is known as “the helpdesk”. The helpdesk is usually a remote agent that will diagnose the severity of the problem and choose whether to escalate immediately to a higher level or fix the request straight away. Some IT companies like us run a 24/7 helpdesk so clients can get access to help whenever they need it by either calling, emailing or opening a ticket inside our desktop support software. Level 1 issues are normally resolved immediately unless the issue needs to be escalated to level 2.
Level 2 is the next level of IT support and normally happens when a problem or issue is too complicated for the helpdesk or a period of time has elapsed without a solution. Level 2 support is almost exclusively handled by system administrators or experienced technical workers and most often involves fixing an underlying problem with a server or online service.
Level 3 is the highest level of IT support and almost always involves IT engineers and senior technical workers. Problems at this level are critical and affect income producing activities or a large proportion of workers. In rare cases this may even involve escalation to the hardware or software vendors for a solution on your behalf.
Hopefully, we’ve given you enough information on IT support and why it’s critical to choose a qualified service provider. If you’d like more information about IT support and looking for a supplier in Vancouver then give us a call. We’re located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver and work with business of all shapes and sizes including startups, accountants, small businesses, charities and schools.
IT support questions and answers
What are IT support services?
IT support services can be anything from hardware fixes(fixing or replacing broken computers, servers and parts) software fixes(fixing operating systems errors or software problems), networking fixes(fixing routing or internet connectivity), installation and setup (installing new services and getting them up and running), security and infection control(virus removal, firewall setup etc.), backup, restore and disaster recovery(recovering from a disaster or lost files/information) and general help and advice.
How does IT support work?
IT support works by providing your business with the help it needs when you face challenges, problems or the inability to get your work done due to technical equipment or services.
IT support vs desktop support?
IT support and desktop support are actually the same things. Desktop support is merely a category of IT support that only includes desktop computers, not other categories of technical equipment and services such as laptops, mobile phones, software, servers, networking equipment and cloud services.
IT support vs system administrator?
IT support is the general category of providing help whereas a system administrator is an IT support role or job. A system administrators job is to run and help support the business function of managing user access while ensuring data integrity and uptime.
What are typical IT support costs/rates?
It’s hard to give typical costs and rates as providers and support levels vary tremendously. Here at Cloud Collective we are priced well below the expensive Vancouver market rates but strive to provide the highest level of service in the city. If you are looking for IT support or have any questions please call us today on 604-239-2174.