We’ve all heard about remote working – but what is remote support, and what does it mean for your business? Put simply, remote technology support means having an IT professional log on to your computer from anywhere in the world to fix technical issues. These professionals can also provide remote training in the same way.
Naturally, business owners might feel uncomfortable about trusting a stranger – who they may never have met – with their valuable technology and data. However, remote support provides a quick and cost-effective way to address stubborn IT issues that are sometimes easily solvable. And most remote support tools value data privacy and integrity as the most important aspect of their product.
Today, remote support is available and suitable for most business – from the nimble SME all the way through to the large multinational. Indeed, it is especially valuable for small to medium-sized enterprises that cannot afford to have an internal IT team on hand, 24/7.
For the growing and time-strapped SME, staying online is critical. Remote support addresses this need by providing the business owner with immediate access to highly qualified IT professionals at all times, at affordable rates.
Furthermore, by using a remote help desk, a savvy business is effectively tapping into the collective knowledge of all the technicians — as the call or link to your computer can easily be transferred to someone who has experience with the issues you are facing.
By way of example, an IT firm in Finland had 90 percent of its technical issues solved remotely last year. More telling was the fact that 83 percent of the cases were solved within the hour, five percent within two hours and only two percent in a longer time than that. A service engineer had to visit the job site in only 10 percent of support cases.
More than just simple troubleshooting…
In addition to troubleshooting your standard computer problems, remote support can even address some printer and wireless issues. For example, if they are connected to a computer that already receives remote support, then these systems can be fixed as well.
In short, what might seem like a big problem at first can be solved either over the phone or through your Internet connection. A sound rule of thumb to follow is that unless there is a physical problem, usually involving smoke, fried electronics, or anything that needs replacing, most IT issues can be solved remotely!
What the Cloud means for you…
Given the proliferation of Cloud-based support today, remote technicians can easily update your software or install new versions on the computers of employees. Notably, this can be done at a time suitable for your business to minimise the impact on business continuity.
Also, with so much scary press around cybercrime and ransomware, business owners can rest easy knowing that these challenges can also be addressed remotely. An anti-virus or security solution can be installed remotely, for example, so there is no need to get expensive on-site technicians around.
Another key benefit of going the remote support route is that you do not have to book an appointment with a technician. It really is just a case of phoning or connecting to the help desk directly and getting immediate access to a technician.
It is important to note that technicians can also remotely monitor your network usage and identify any potential issues before they occur. A technician can flag the problem and discuss any steps you need to take before disaster occurs. This pro-active approach is a valuable preventative measure – especially with technology lying at the core of business operations today.
Another major trend that is being embraced by larger organisations is to outsource their remote support to a different country altogether.
IT support companies in countries like India and the United States offer remote packages at very low prices. Unfortunately, this could happen at the cost of quality and communication. The other challenge with this approach is that if you do need a technician to come out and replace a part, these overseas companies will in all likelihood not be able to assist. This then results in you having to find a support company in South Africa to come and do the actual on-site repairs…leading to more time lost and additional expenses.
Remote IT support is something that every business owner should consider. There are significant time and cost savings to be had, in addition to efficiency and all round peace of mind!
By Colin Thornton, Managing Director of Turrito Networks and Dial a Nerd