What Is IT Support Exactly?

What Is IT Support Exactly?

It’s 9AM Monday morning, and you’re trying to connect to the office from home. You’ve tried multiple times, but you keep getting the same error. Who do you call for support? The IT department or Bob in accounting who seems to know a lot about computers? Your business may have an official or unofficial IT department, but there’s usually a “go-to” person when you need help. That is IT support.

In today's environment with the shift to remote work and increased reliance on technology, businesses often need additional IT support and services to ensure the smooth operation and security of their systems. An IT support and service provider can provide expertise and resources to help with a wide range of needs, such as managing remote work infrastructure, addressing cybersecurity concerns, and optimizing network performance.

What is IT Support?

In its simplest form, IT support is about offering assistance to employees and the wider organization for technology-related issues. Its purpose is to provide users with answers to problems they may be experiencing. In a business environment, IT support can also encompass the setup, installation, and configuration of equipment, plus much more.

What Does IT Support Do?

IT support for businesses goes beyond just resolving issues and answering questions. IT support services can also help optimize network performance and protect against cyber threats. With the help of IT support and services, an organization can ensure that their network is operating at its best and that they are following best practices for securing their digital assets.

IT service providers can take on the responsibility of setting up, installing, configuring and maintaining network equipment, whether it's located in the office or at remote locations. They can also proactively monitor equipment performance to prevent any downtime caused by failure. They can also provide disaster recovery and backup plans to ensure continuity of operations. Business IT support can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a company to ensure smooth and uninterrupted operations.

Some of the most common IT support responsibilities can include:

  • Troubleshooting and resolving IT issues
  • Providing employees with technical assistance
  • Updating and maintaining company systems and networks
  • Installing and configuring software
  • Managing user access permissions and credentials
  • Rolling out patches and updates
  • Procuring and provisioning devices
  • Assisting with data backup and recovery

What Do IT Support Technicians Do?

Help Desk Staff Working

Help Desk Staff Working Taking Calls

Maintaining company networks requires expertise in multiple areas. Technical support specialists, for example, may identify, evaluate, and resolve network issues. These technicians are essential in keeping the network running smoothly and protecting digital assets through backup procedures.

Support staff are accountable for providing technical assistance to non-technical computer users, typically through phone, email, and online chat requests. Additionally, specialized cybersecurity support specialists may be needed to ensure the security of the network, applications, and data, and to assist in meeting compliance security standards.

Here are some examples of tasks an IT support technician may perform:

  • Ask questions to diagnose a problem
  • Recommend problem-solving steps
  • Train users on how new technology works
  • Install and configure network components
  • Monitor and maintain computer systems and networks
  • Troubleshoot system and network problems
  • Support applications as required
  • Add users to a system and provide credentials
  • Mange open customer requests
  • Establish working relationships with end-users

The specific technical support needs of an organization can vary. Some companies may require 24/7 support, while others may only need help-desk support during regular business hours. Regardless of the requirement, IT support personnel can adapt and provide support that meets the specific needs of a business.

Technical support is organized in a tiered system, where the level of support corresponds to the level of expertise required to resolve the issue. As the level increases, so does the level of expertise needed.

What is Level 1 Technical Support?

Level or tier 1 support is the first point of contact for users, typically reached through phone calls, online chat, or email. They are responsible for identifying the problem and providing basic troubleshooting steps. These staff members play a crucial role in problem resolution, gathering information and defining the issue before it is escalated to a higher-level specialist. Level 2 support is typically comprised of more experienced technicians who have specialized skills to resolve more complex issues that cannot be handled by Tier 1.

What is Level 2 Technical Support?

Level or tier 2 support requires technicians with more advanced technical expertise. When a level 1 technician is unable to resolve an issue, they will escalate it to level 2 personnel. These technicians are responsible for resolving the issue, typically able to do so with their specialized skills and knowledge.

Most end-user problems can be resolved at this level. If an issue cannot be resolved at level 2, it is escalated to a higher tier, such as level 3 or level 4 support. These higher levels are typically reserved for rare and complex issues that require the expertise of the software or hardware developers. These issues may require updates or patches to fix, or replacement of hardware components.

Reasons Why IT Support is Essential in 2023

Maintaining an in-house IT department can be costly, and finding qualified candidates can be challenging. According to a survey, 73% of IT leaders reported difficulties in recruiting for IT positions. Additionally, high turnover rates can further complicate the situation. Due to these recruitment and retention challenges, many organizations are turning to external IT support as a more cost-effective and reliable solution.

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, with 47% of small businesses in the U.S. experiencing a cyber attack, and 67% of those experiencing multiple breaches. Common forms of attack include phishing, password hacking, and adware, and attackers are constantly evolving their methods. Without proper expertise and support, organizations are at risk of becoming vulnerable to these attacks.

Time and money balance concept with clock and golden dollar sign balancing on a metal board 3D illustration.

The cost of unexpected IT issues, including cyberattacks, can be significant. Downtime from cyberattacks can result in an average cost of USD$5,600 per minute, according to Gartner. Additionally, small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats, with 47% experiencing at least one attack. External IT support and services can help prevent these issues by proactively monitoring systems and providing expertise to secure against cyberattacks.

How To Find the Right IT Support For Your Business

Finding the right IT service and support provider can go a long way to protect your digital assets and boost your bottom line. Sentryon provides centralized IT management for small and medium sized businesses, with access to over 80 technicians to help solve your day-to-day IT requests. Get in touch to learn more about our IT Support solutions.