Changing role of IT Service and Support
The role of IT Service and Support is changing with the increased reliance on technology in small to medium businesses today. It has shifted from being one of repair and fix to one of being an enabler and an advisor.
A business not adopting this approach will find that in the long term that, it will be always reactive, missing opportunities and end up with an IT infrastructure, tools and processes that are out of date and costing an arm and a leg. This can be avoided where the role of IT service and support is broadened to one of prevention and strategic advice.
How to tell, how your business approaches IT service and support?
Entering an organization and talking with the staff is a good indicator for understanding how an organization is viewing the role of IT service and support. Frustration and low confidence in being able to rely on the IT infrastructure in performing their roles will give a good guidance on the approach being taken.
If it’s letting them down they will talk amongst themselves and comments like, I just cannot complete my work efficiently thanks to the speed of the internet. Or maybe something along the lines of we missed the deadline for that customer proposal the other day thanks to the slowness of my computer will be prevalent throughout the organization.
Yes, poor morale in an organization and frustration with IT technology being able to support staff in the performance of their day to day duties is an indicator of adopting a traditional break and fix approach.
The support and service team will be focused on fixing the network that breaks constantly, performing maintenance regularly across machines are slow, do not have the latest software patches, removing tools introduced by staff that are not part of the standard operating system.
The consequence is that the discussion on IT is always about fixing issues rather than on working out how IT can add value to your business through increases in productivity, adding to the customer experience, delivering increased profitability.
How to cope with the fast evolution of technology?
Technology continues to evolve and change at a rapid pace and with this change comes the increased opportunity for small to medium businesses. Once the technology was really the domain of big business that is not the case today and for many small to medium business owners the question is how to take advantage of these technologies, so they can compete more aggressively and deliver on their promises.
This changes the nature of what a small business s looking for in terms of service and support. Not only do you want the technical knowledge, but they want an IT Service provider that can be a strategic partner by adding value to the business.
Do you have control over your Data?
It does not matter what size the business is, nearly all employees are bringing their own devices to work and using these devices within the Businesses network and infrastructure. This spells danger and means that as a business it is very hard to know what devices are being used to access company data.
Without a proactive support plan where you have a provider monitoring and implementing and activating policies that protect your organization from unauthorized access then you are increasing the risk of data loss and the associated impact.
Who maintains and controls the access to your systems when an employee leaves?
The support provided to a business today is more than just fixing computers, repairing networks, and installing software. Managing the movement of people into the business and from the business is a key activity of support today this includes enabling, maintaining and removing email accounts, monitoring and enforcing the password policy across the businesses network infrastructure. All with the aim that a business can act with confidence that their data is safe and secure.
What are the support and services solutions for a business today?
Each Business will have their own needs and views so there is no one solution that fits all businesses. In some instances, it is better for a small business to take small steps in transitioning to a more proactive approach. This enables them to gain confidence with a more proactive approach and monitor the impact on the business before fully committing to a fully-fledged managed services model.
Approach 1 – Purchase a block of Hours
This is where the customer commits to pre-purchase a block of support hours from a Computer troubleshooter and when these hours have consumed another block of hours is purchased. Because you are paying upfront the hourly rate is likely to be at a better value than if just a normal break-fix hourly rate.
At Computer Troubleshooters the services provided for that block of hours will be defined for you what is not covered. You will be able to discuss add-ons for the services not covered.
Approach 2 – A subscription plan
This is where the customer decided to pay a monthly fee for a range of services provided by the IT Service Business. This in effect is a Managed Services solution.
At Computer Troubleshooters we offer a range of subscription plans covering various aspects of your situation. For instance, we have a Total Protection Plan that is focused on ensuring you have an anti-virus solution, some data backup and a little bit of system maintenance. Your plan might be focused around Microsoft office 365, hosted email, password management and user access.
You may be looking for a much broader plan which covers a lot more monitoring and maintenance activities supported by IT strategy reviews which are known as our BEST managed services plan.
For further information Call 1300-28-28 78 or www.computertroubleshooters.com.au
The facts according to the Boston Computing Network’s Data Loss Statistics, are that 60% of companies that lose their data, will shut down within 6 months of the disaster. This is something that every business wants to avoid.
The following article provides a high-level understanding of how, as a business owner the question for you is one of Business Continuity of which Backup is a key component.
What is Business Continuity?
Business continuity involves a mindset of being proactive and putting plans, processes and systems in place, so that when the unexpected occurs you can return to normal operations with minimal delay thereby reducing the level of disruption and cost to your business.
The aim is to ensure that all essential functions can be up and running or be returned to operational status quickly during various unexpected events such as a natural disaster (Flood, Fire), cyberattacks, theft, or major IT system failure.
What is involved?
The key aspect is to develop a plan that then is well communicated and understood by your staff so they know what to do when the disaster occurs. Like all plans, if it is not communicated and shared then it’s not worth the paper that it is written on.
The process of writing the plan involves identifying the key risks, identifying the ways you can prevent those risks occurring for instance:
- risk is data loss
- prevention is designing and implementing a multilevel backup solution.
Then the last element of the plan is documenting the steps in responding and recovery if an incident occurs that does bring down your systems.
Businesses today are more reliant than ever on IT, one of the biggest threats these days being a cybersecurity breach. A fair portion of the plan will need to focus on recovery from an IT disaster.
The plan will need to be reviewed regularly as a business grows and circumstances change and the recovery processes should be thoroughly tested to ensure it will work.
What are your backup options?
There are many options available to businesses these days for backup. With today’s modern technologies and cloud storage services, a hybrid combination of traditional on-site backup plus off-site backup to the cloud, has become the popular choice amongst businesses wanting to ensure high levels of continuity.
The key questions in making a choice is determining the level of risk and the importance of the system and the data that is being backed up. Answering these questions will impact on the choice that you make. You can see I have not mentioned cost or price. One might ask Why? Well because you need to remember this is about having a solution that will minimise the cost of failure which will far outweigh the cost of the solution you choose.
If you are not certain about this statement ask somebody who has experienced the loss of data due to a failed system backup.
What are the traditional onsite backup options?
Onsite with machines all backing up either to tape or disc and then being stored onsite. Usually scheduled to occur daily, every couple of days, or weekly. The greatest weakness is that if something happens to the premises the backups can become corrupted and lost and an external service provider such as Kroll Ontrack may need to be used to try and recover the data.
To overcome the above weakness some business’s will transport the discs/ tapes to an offsite location where they are stored.
What is happening today?
The cost of online storage has reduced with the introduction of data centre services and the continued adoption of cloud storage services. Today most businesses will have a recovery strategy based around using cloud storage, with onsite backup devices that then replicate to a data centre.
The drivers behind this are many but one can put it down to speed of recovery, ability to quickly monitor and ensure backup has occurred, hence no unpleasant surprises if a data loss breach or cyberattack occurs.
The first step is to make sure you have a plan and an understanding of your options. This is where you should have a chat with your local computer troubleshooter to understand how they can help you to minimise the disruption to your business from a data loss/breach. Visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au to locate your nearest provider.
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