High-level summary: IT support is help with the development, maintenance, and use of technology. It includes services like network monitoring, helpdesk assistance, onsite support, technology consulting, cybersecurity strategy, disaster recovery, and technology planning. IT support is most often delivered via managed services as part of a fixed retainer, or at an hourly rate, or on a per-project basis.
Every modern business is dependent on technology. That reality has been true for a few decades now, but it’s been brought into stark relief against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
Businesses that had one foot in the remote work world were pushed all the way in, and even firms that were mainly brick-and-mortar have had to be remote. For the past three months, being in business has been synonymous with being able to use technology systems.
That’s made supporting those technologies even more crucial.
Accordingly, there’s no arguing with the fact that, today, for any business in any industry – whether professional services, manufacturing, healthcare, consumer, or anything else – IT support is essential.
But what exactly is it?
In light of technology’s new and expanded roles in the business world, let’s take a look at the answer to that question, so that your organization can prepare to support your technology more effectively. We’ll review the definition of IT support at a basic level, identify some of the services involved in it, and relate how IT support is actually delivered.
Ready? Here’s what IT support is, based on our decades of experience providing IT support in St. Louis.
The Definition of IT Support
It may seem obvious, but it’s helpful to clarify terms because better understanding tends to lead to better implementation. So, when we say IT support, what do we mean?
Let’s start with the first half of the phrase. “IT,” an acronym for “information technology,” was first noted by Merriam-Webster in 1978. It’s lost some of its specificity over the years, but, originally, information technology was “the technology involving the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data.”
Tech Terms describes IT a bit more broadly as “anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies.”
Today, the clarifying prefix “information” can seem redundant, since pretty much anything you can plug in (or charge wirelessly, for that matter) can be connected to the internet. If it’s collecting or sharing data, it’s IT.
The second half of the phrase is the word support, which means, according to Dictionary.com, “to bear or hold up” – or, perhaps more fittingly defined as a noun by Merriam-Webster, “the act of helping.”
Taken at its most basic level, then, IT support is help with the development, maintenance, and use of technology.
What services might be included in IT support?
In a practical business context, IT support is most commonly referenced as a solution that provides set of services. Services might include:
Network monitoring. Network monitoring involves watching traffic and behavior on technology networks to identify potentially harmful actions. It may be done automatically or manually by network administrators.
Helpdesk assistance. At ATB Technologies, our helpdesk is proactively engaged in network monitoring. It’s also available on-call for quick responses to technology issues; users can call in for rapid resolutions.
Onsite support. This involves in-person technical support and assistance and can be ideal in assessing the physical properties of a technology environment.
Cybersecurity services. Cybersecurity is a broad term, but, generally, cybersecurity services are activities that reduce the risk of cyber damage. These might include network monitoring, advanced threat detection, anti-virus and anti-spam implementation, policy development and strategic consulting, and disaster recovery.
Disaster recovery. Disaster recovery is worth breaking out on its own; it includes services and actions that make data recovery and system restoration more effective and efficient. Managed backups play an important role in this.
Technology consulting. This involves strategic guidance on technology selection, design, implementation, and optimization. Often, technology consulting plays a critical role in helping businesses to choose a new technology solution or plan for future growth.
What are the most common IT support models of engagement?
Finally, a thorough understanding of IT support has to account for the most common models of service provision. IT support is most often provided in three ways:
1. At an hourly rate via the traditional break-fix model. Under this model of IT support, providers charge for service time. This model has declined in popularity because it incentivizes providers to spend more time on issues and doesn’t fit well with a strategic approach to IT.
2. At a fixed cost via a managed IT services model. This model of IT support has become increasingly popular because costs are predictable. It offers the capability to easily address day-to-day needs, allowing managed providers to transition into a proactive IT stance.
3. At a specified cost on a per-project basis. This model of IT support is designed for one-time initiatives, like office moves or new technology implementation.
Ready to get started with St. Louis IT support?
Hopefully, these considerations have been helpful in refining your conception of IT support.
If you’re looking for a St. Louis IT support provider, let’s talk.
At ATB Technologies, we provide support for St. Louis businesses using the managed service model to deliver proactive IT. We’ve found that this is the best version of IT support, because it leads to better service quality.
The quality and efficiency of your IT systems is directly related to the ease of communication and comfort your team has with their IT provider. The key to creating systems that serve your business well is rooted in having IT professionals that make that process enjoyable and earn your trust across the organization.
Our end-to-end approach gives businesses the best technology for their needs and prevents issues before they happen so that our clients can turn IT into an advantage. If you’re looking for better IT support delivered via a model makes sense – get in touch today.