With the booming U.S. economy, confidence is rising for medium-size businesses. In fact, about 84% of business owners expect to perform better in 2018 than in 2017, according to a study by Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.
However, growth often requires more employees, more equipment and more IT staff to support it all. But growth doesn’t always result in higher IT budgets, at least initially, leaving companies facing a budget crunch and/or an IT skills gap until adequate resources can be acquired.
When considering ways to meet business goals while optimizing your resources, relying on remote IT support is a great option for most companies. But what types of services are provided by remote IT? And how does it help your business?
What You Get with Remote IT Support
The essence of remote IT support is, well, that it’s “remote.” That means the services you receive are delivered via remote desktop, phone, chat or email. Although each service varies, you can typically count on the following services through remote IT support:
- Installations/configurations: A tech may install software, configure a wireless network and set up security, for example.
- Troubleshooting: Whether the issue is with an employee computer, server, network equipment, networked printer or mobile device, remote support should be able to assist.
- Malware removal: Even if you have anti-malware software running on your computers, malicious programs can still make their way in. A technician will connect to the computer and scan it, and then quarantine or clean malware from the system.
- Data backups: If any of your systems fall prey to some disrupting event, such as a malware infection or an on-premises flood, it’s critical for your data to be backed up and safe. Remote IT can set up a process to continuously back up your data, usually to cloud-based storage.
- Managed services: This is end-to-end management of network equipment (routers, security appliances, servers and more) that includes monitoring, software upgrades, troubleshooting and reporting. You don’t even have to own the equipment.
- Professional services: Getting advice from an experienced professional informs decision making, allowing projects to move along more efficiently. Remote IT can consult with your business to help you make technology choices and design your network, as well as to offer advice on security and compliance.
Remember, these are typical services. Once you research several companies, you may come across additional services, such as basic training of device and software features, disaster recovery and security practices compliance.
However, if you need someone to come on-site to handle an item that doesn’t lend itself to remote assistance, such as running network cabling or replacing a faulty hard drive, that’s either a separate charge or you have to contact a different company locally.
How Remote IT Support Can Improve Your Business
Choosing remote IT can significantly lower costs compared to the amount you would pay an in-house technician. The national average salary for a computer or network technician is about $41,000 according to PayScale, but can reach beyond $60,000 with several years of experience. Compare that to the cost of remote IT, where lower end packages cost less than $300 per month and climb to more than $1,500 per month for “premium” packages, which means your annual cost ends up at $3,600 to $18,000.
Many services offer three or four different plans, each with an increasing number of services, and they charge per computer. Support companies usually offer those plans as monthly or annual subscriptions, resulting in predictable, budgetable costs. If you need a service that’s not in the subscription, or you simply want to pay as you go, the remote IT company charges a fee per support incident. An incident, in this case, relates to a speciﬁc issue you’re experiencing.
Remote IT support can fill a skills gap within your company, or unencumber current staff from the responsibility of maintenance and lower-level tasks. Either way, think of remote IT as a business partner of sorts. Your staff has more time to focus on specialized projects, such as implementing mobile device management and network automation, or responding to urgent matters, such as incident response to a security breach. They’re also free to plan for long-term initiatives and strategic functions in an effort to build a more proactive and modern IT environment to support the business.
Choosing a Vendor
Remember, a remote IT service often uses remote desktop as a way to provide support. That means you need to be careful which company you choose. Look for companies with good to excellent reputations in the industry, and with technical support that’s available 24×7 (if that’s what you need).
When provided by a trusted vendor, you can consider remote IT to be both safe and reliable. Also consider that remote connections made to your networked systems are encrypted, which create a private channel that prevents anyone from viewing or otherwise snooping on that session.
Once you create a short list of potential vendors, compare their services and pricing carefully. Your choice should be clear at that point.