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Tech support is vital for any company of any size. Your office has computers, your business has a website and, depending on the type of business, those computers might represent a significant asset. IT professionals, however, can be expensive to hire full-time. If you have a large enough company, then this is not a problem. Even worse, some businesses need 24/7 support – and one person is not going to be able to provide it. Even if you only need 9 to 5 support, a one- or two-person department is vulnerable to temporary problems – such as both of your IT people getting sick at once, likely from each other.
For smaller companies, thus, IT supportcan be prohibitively expensive, yet still vital. Many resort to relying on the knowledge of “that one person in the office” who knows computers and can usually, but not always, fix stuff – at the cost of whatever their actual job is. Desktop support, which these days includes laptops and even tablets and mobile phones, is something that has a particular complexity. You may not need it every day, but when you need it, you need it – things are grinding to a halt.
24/7 Desktop Support
The answer in most cases is to outsource desktop support. Outsourcing the help desk gives your small office the same access to 24/7 desktop support as a large company (in fact, even some larger companies are now doing it) – or at least business hours support, depending on your needs. Because you are paying only for the technician’s time as you need it – splitting their salary between several companies – you save a lot of money.
Time is Money
You also save time, because the contractor will handle the details for you. They will often also make sure updates are pushed as necessary and handle other software maintenance. Also, the contractor may have specialists in different areas – for example, they may have mobile support specialists or personnel who know how to handle Macs and unusual operating systems – something that would be challenging for a company with a one- or two-person IT department to have.
Other set-ups have the contractor handling the basic stuff such as password changes, malware protection, and email issues so as to free up on-site staff to deal with problems that require more expertise. Another common service is basic software installation on new computers, either on-site or at their location with the computers being shipped to you. This can be particularly useful for laptops.
How to Choose the Right Desktop Support Company
Of course, there are risks. You need to make sure the company you use is reliable. Outsourcing to foreign countries can be even cheaper but can result in receiving low-quality work. Also, you need to know you can trust the company with your proprietary information and with access to your hardware. In some high-security businesses, it may not be safe to take the risk of outsourcing IT functions.
Some companies only offer remote support, which can be limited – there is a point where you need a technician on-site. These concerns can be mitigated by carefully choosing your desktop support company. Rates may be fixed monthly or based off of call volume – fixed monthly rates are often better for all but the smallest companies, however. One option to save money is to deliberately choose remote only and then call a local computer technician when you need on-site help – depending on how much and what kind of hardware you have this can be the cheapest option.
Outsourcing your desktop support can, indeed, save time and money – as long as you do it right and choose a reliable company with trained staff. You also need to make sure you get the right level of services for your company.