What Is IT Support?

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What Is IT Support?

Read Time: 5 minutes September 13, 2021

It’s Monday morning, and you’re trying to connect to the office from home. You’ve tried multiple times, but you keep getting the same error. Who do you call for support? The IT department or Joe in accounting who seems to know a lot about computers? Your business may have an official or unofficial IT department, but there’s usually a “go-to” person when you need help. That’s IT support.

In today’s environment, technical support needs more than Joe in accounting. Businesses may need additional IT resources to help alleviate the added support required for a remote workforce. They may require assistance with cybersecurity and network performance. An IT support and service provider can help ensure your company is covered.

What is IT Support?

In its simplest form, IT support is about offering assistance to individuals and organizations regarding technology-related devices. Its purpose is to provide users with answers to problems they may be experiencing. In a business environment, IT support is more than assistance. It can encompass the setup, installation, and configuration of equipment, plus much more. What do business IT support services include?

What Does IT Support Do?

Business IT support is more than fixing problems and answering questions. IT support services include optimizing network performance and securing it against cyberattacks. With IT support and services, an organization can realize the full potential of its network and follow best practices for securing its digital assets.

IT services providers can be responsible for the setup, installation, configuration, and maintenance of network equipment, whether that is a computer in the office or at the kitchen table. They can proactively monitor equipment performance to avoid downtime because of equipment failure. They are prepared to help with disaster recovery and backup site plans. Business IT support can be whatever a business needs to ensure continuous operations.

What Do IT Support Technicians Do?

Supporting company networks requires multiple specialties. For example, technical support specialists may analyze, evaluate, and troubleshoot network problems. These technicians play a crucial role in maintaining the network and backing up digital assets.

Customer support personnel are responsible for providing technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to phone and email requests for help. Don’t forget the cybersecurity support specialists. They use their expertise to ensure the network, applications, and data are secure. They can even help with meeting compliance security standards.

Here are a few of the tasks an IT support technician may do.

  • Ask questions to diagnose a problem
  • Recommend problem-solving steps
  • Train users on how the technology works
  • Install and configure network components
  • Monitor and maintain computer systems and networks
  • Troubleshoot system and network problems
  • Support applications as required
  • Add users to a system and ensure credentialing
  • Mange open customer requests
  • Establish working relationships with end-users

The types of technical support depend on the organization. Some companies may want involvement in day-to-day operations. Others may be looking for help-desk support during business hours. No matter the need, IT support personnel understand how technology is used and how to fix it.

Technical support follows a tiered system, where the levels of support are tied to the expertise required to address the problem. The higher the level, the more expertise is needed.


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What is Level 1 Technical Support?

Level or tier 1 support is the person on the other end of a phone call, online chat, or an email string. They are tasked with identifying the problem and providing the most common resolution methods. Tier 1 staff play an essential role in problem resolution. They are the people who define the problem and acquire as much information as possible to resolve it. If they are unable to resolve the issue, it is transferred to a Level 2 support specialist.

What is Level 2 Technical Support?

Level or tier 2 support requires someone with more technical knowledge. If a level 1 technician cannot resolve the issue, they transfer the issue to level 2 personnel. They, in turn, work to resolve the issue. In most cases, end-user problems can be fixed at a level 2. If an issue cannot be resolved at level 2, it is escalated to a higher tier.

Rarely does a problem go beyond a level 2. Issues beyond a level 2 are relegated to the creators of the application or hardware. These are glitches that require software updates or patches to fix. Hardware-level problems may require new components.

Why IT Support is Essential

Supporting an in-house IT department is expensive. There are far fewer qualified applicants than there are open positions. According to a 2019 report, there were close to one million unfilled computing positions in the U.S. It was also projected that the number of new talent that be available would be around 150,000. That is a major gap in the supply chain.

Not only are their fewer qualified candidates, those who are available average an annual salary of over $100,000. Those numbers may be well outside the financial resources of a small- to mid-sized business.

Cybersecurity threats continue to grow. A significant increase in the number of reported incidents has occurred since March of this year. According to the FBI, the number of incidents is four times higher than it was at the beginning of the year. Hackers believe more vulnerabilities are exposed as people from a secure office network to a remote location without adequate security.

Downtime is costly. According to Gartner, the average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute. For some technology-intensive operations, the cost can be much higher. Equipment failure can create downtime. With properly monitored systems, equipment failures can be identified and replaced before they fail. A successful cyberattack can result in significant downtime. On average, it takes 276 days from identification to containment for a data breach.

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Justin Sheil

Justin Sheil is the Content Marketing Manager at Electric. He has 5+ years experience writing about a wide range of technology topics. As part of his role at Electric, he currently functions as the head of the company’s Research & Insights division.

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