People often call and ask if we do computer support. The short answer is yes, we do. But then, there are a lot of companies and individuals that provide some form of computer support. This term means different things to different people—sometimes drastically different. So when I answer that question with a “Yes, we do,” I quickly follow it with the question, “What type of support are you looking for?” Often, non-technical business owners don’t know the correct terminology and will ask for something very different from what they really want. But an experienced technology advisor knows the right questions to ask to determine the type of computer support they’re seeking.
In this article I’ll classify different areas of computer support that businesses need and how they ask for this support. I’ll identify the requests I hear and the actual computer support services that business owners are requesting. In upcoming articles, I’ll expand on these services and describe them in more detail.
This is the most common call we get for computer support. Something is broken and needs to be fixed. Often there is a sense of urgency, as some computer is down and one or more people are unable to do their work. It’s not always a computer. It might be another part of the network. Sometimes the caller knows, but usually they don’t. Some of the requests we hear for this type of computer support are: computer repair, server repair, network repair, computer maintenance and technical support.
It’s nice to have someone you can call to get quick answers to technical questions, or fast remote remediation of minor problems. If you accidentally deleted a file or your printer suddenly disappears from the Windows Control Panel you’ll want to call someone that can help right away. You don’t want to leave a message on your tech guy’s cell phone and hope he can pay you a visit by the end of the day. You want someone to answer the phone, maybe log into your computer remotely if needed, and get the issue resolved quickly. We call this help desk support, but some refer to this as computer support. Other names this service goes by are: service desk, support desk, phone support, technical support and remote support.
Managed IT Services
This is a form of computer support that focuses on proactive maintenance. It is a holistic, all-encompassing service wherein the entire network is managed and maintained by an outside company. It is a form of IT outsourcing. The actual services provided by the managed services provider can vary, but at a minimum should include 24×7 monitoring of systems and data backups, routine maintenance and remote and on-premise remediation. The goal of managed services is business continuity and increased uptime. Aside from computer support, some of the services people ask for include: network support or maintenance, small business server support or maintenance and IT outsourcing.
Computers need maintenance. Microsoft releases security updates for Windows, Office and other software almost weekly. Other software companies release security updates frequently as well. These need to be tested for compatibility and then installed. Computers also build up temporary files and log files that need to be trimmed or deleted regularly. This clutter will slow a computer and can bring a server down if it fills the disk. Ensuring that virus and malware protection are properly updated and working is another important maintenance task. Some lump these tasks in with computer support. Some will more specifically ask for services that include disk cleanup, patch updates, anti-virus monitoring or similar services.
Anyone can buy computers, software and network equipment. It’s pretty easy. Just call your favorite vendor and they’ll be happy to sell you whatever your budget allows. But knowing what your business actually needs and what financially makes sense requires someone more objective and more business-savvy than the average sales rep. A trusted technology advisor can steer you in the right direction. It’s rare that small businesses and startups ask for consulting services. They’ll ask for computer support, but their questions are typically more direct and specific. They’ll ask what type of firewall or server to buy. Larger and more mature businesses will ask for IT consultancy or IT advisory services, looking for someone who can take a holistic look at their business operations and determine their needs.
Contact us if you need computer support.