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What Is Remote Support and Why Your Business Needs It

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Traditionally, IT help desks had to provide primary support over the phone or through chat and email. Although they got the job done, it created an often frustrating experience for the end users they supported, who’d have to do their best to execute the instructions IT technicians provided as they tried to solve their problems. 

Thanks to remote support software, IT technicians can now solve many issues using remote access tools, saving businesses the cost of staffing in-house IT and sparing employees the frustration of having to play such an active role in fixing their own technical problems.

What Is Remote Support?

Also known as remote IT support services, remote support lets IT technicians access computers or devices remotely to diagnose and fix problems without being physically present. 

Thanks to the software allowing this, technicians can view the screen of the remote device on their own screen in real-time and take control of the device to troubleshoot issues, install software or change settings. They can also perform updates, maintenance and manage networks. Remote support covers not only PCs and Macs, but also smartphones and tablets.

By being able to remotely access a device, IT support teams can fix problems quicker, without subjecting end users to long phone calls and tedious “do-as-instructed” walkthroughs. Some simple problems can even be solved within minutes.

What IT Services Can Be Done Remotely?

These days many IT services can be provided remotely. Remote technicians can

  • Update server software
  • Move, locate and manage files on a server or computer
  • Troubleshoot glitchy or malfunctioning programs
  • Train employees on software and systems
  • Set up email accounts
  • Run maintenance programs and diagnostic tools

And that’s just the beginning. Because remote technicians have access to all files, applications and network resources, they can address hundreds of concerns remotely, including a host of industry-specific needs.

What Are the Benefits of Remote Support?

Remote support enables remote work and makes it more seamless, which can create huge cost savings for small and mid-size businesses. According to a recent report, businesses save $11,000 for each employee who works remotely half the time. 

Those cost savings come with a reduced environmental footprint, since remote work reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Studies also indicate that employees are happier and more productive when they are given the option of working remotely at least part of the week.  

For many small and midsize businesses, the cost savings alone justify remote support. Since IT technicians can address most problems off-site, remote support prevents the need for an on-site visit every time minor issues occur, eliminating the associated costs of having a technician drive out to the business.

But the flexibility that remote support provides is also a considerable advantage. Businesses can still meet face-to-face with their IT support when they need to, or they can opt for instant remote support. And since each business’s network administrator still has access to their network 24/7, businesses have coverage around the clock. Administrators are able to identify and solve potential problems before an end user may even know about it. 

What Kinds of Remote Support Are Available?

Remote support is generally divided into two categories: attended remote support and unattended remote support.

Attended support (sometimes called ad-hoc support or on-demand support) is provided when an end user is present. Since no prior remote support software has been installed, the end user will need to help the technician establish a remote connection. Usually this is done by having the end user run a remote support app that generates a unique session code, which they provide to the technician so they can access the device. This is often how technicians provide support to personal devices.

With unattended remote support, technicians can remotely connect to devices even if an end user isn’t present. This is done using an agent app, which the IT team installs on the devices they manage. These agent apps let any member of the IT team access the device whenever they need to, regardless of whether their clients are actively using the device. As a result, they can service these devices at any time of the day, even when the user isn’t present. Most technicians employ a mix of attended and unattended support.

What Are the Models for Remote Support?

Most IT providers offer services in one of two primary service-fee models: managed IT services or break-fix.

Under the managed IT services model, your IT provider effectively becomes a business’s in-house IT department, solving problems proactively and providing complete services including support, maintenance, backup and monitoring. Under this model, IT providers are incentivized to prevent system failures rather than responding to them after they happen, which reduces downtimes. Managed IT services are provided on a predictable monthly fee basis, usually determined by the size of the business and the number of devices they’ll be servicing. 

Under the break-fix model, businesses only receive support for specific devices upon request. The IT technicians do not provide continued maintenance and bill at an hourly rate. Billing under this model is less predictable than under the managed IT services model.

What Are the Risks of Not Having Remote IT Support?

The biggest risk of lacking the proactive protection of remote support is increased downtime. According to an IDC report, the cost of IT downtime for small to mid-size businesses averages somewhere between $137 and $427 per minute — a tally that’s even more eye-popping when you consider that so much of that downtime could be prevented. Lost revenue depends on the business size and industry risk index, with industries like banking, finance, media, manufacturing and healthcare among the most vulnerable. Those costs can reach even higher if data losses are involved. 

IT outages also decrease employee productivity, leaving workers with little to do or forcing them to delay crucial tasks while the incident is resolved. In some industries, downtime can also pause the supply chain, creating disruptions that trickle across multiple departments. 

Businesses without sufficient IT support also risk reputation damage, since the unavailability and delays created by downtimes can provoke customers and clients to lose confidence in a business.

What to Look for in a Managed Service Provider

Managed service is the preferred model for many small to mid-size businesses, since it ensures them constant coverage for a predictable monthly fee. The IT provider offers services including support, maintenance, backup and monitoring — and a good one can prevent system failures rather than responding to them after they happen, reducing downtimes.

When considering a managed service provider who provides remote service, look for one who can provide references, guarantees fast response times and 24/7 support and has experience working in your industry. In fact, Cortavo proudly notes that 80% of service calls made are resolved by the same person, and that a whopping 95% of technology issues faced by our clients are resolved remotely.

If you would like to learn more about how Cortavo can unburden your business of complicated IT issues and give your company peace of mind, call us at (866) 267-8286 or contact us through www.cortavo.com.

 

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