What should be included in IT Support for businesses and is it worth the money?

June 10, 2020

From Helpdesk support for every day break/fix issues to Infrastructure monitoring and maintenance, there are a bewildering variety of services you can sign up for. This article summarises the core types of IT support services, exploring their pros and cons to help you in your decision-making process.

What sort of business or size of business is IT support suitable for?

All businesses will require some form of IT support. Whether you are a small business with under 10 employees or a large corporate, you should have an IT strategy and the right structure in place. Businesses of all sizes can choose to outsource their IT. The more appropriate question is what type of support should you go for?

What sort of services are included in an IT support package?

The majority of outsourced support services for IT falls into two broad categories; onsite and remote. Onsite support usually means that an Engineer will attend your workplace in the event a problem occurs with your IT that cannot be resolved remotely. Remote support does what it says on the tin; it provides you with and telephone number and email address you can use to report issues and ask for help.

The devil, however, is in the detail. Whether you choose onsite or remote support, the price you pay for support may be predicated on a per-user or per-device basis. The majority of modern Managed Service Providers (MSPs) will charge on a per-user basis because people often have more than one device and an IT issue can be caused by one or more devices failing to interact correctly.  At Westlake, we want to make sure our clients can keep working and minimise productivity loss, so we support the person, including all the IT they might use.

What sort of services are included in an IT support package?

In addition to how your contract is priced, its important to understand what is and isn’t included. The following lists what you need to consider when appointing an IT partner:

Fixed times or unlimited access?

The majority of MSPs will provider their services Monday-Friday and within business hours, however, some will also offer premium packages covering out of office hours and weekends. Some MSPs may give you a fixed number of hours you can use per month and others may offer you unlimited access to their Helpdesk.

Variable Service Level Agreements

Some clients want a faster SLA for all or some of their employees and you will pay differently for Fast Track IT support.

Desktop Monitoring and Maintenance

Some MSPs may bundle your break/fix IT support for your employees with other endpoint services such as desktop monitoring, automated software updates and patch management. These services are usually provided by an endpoint monitoring and maintenance software system which is linked to your IT partner’s Helpdesk software and alerts them to issues with your PC estate.

Security and Backup

Another benefit that might be included in your IT support is antivirus software for your PCs and Backup for your shared data.

IT Asset Management

A good MSP will be able to audit your PC estate, ensure it is licensed correctly and patched and regularly updated. In addition, they should be able to offer PC procurement, installation and disposal services. Often these services are an integral part of an IT support contract.

Service Delivery

When choosing an IT partner, make sure you know what is included in your contract. Will you have a dedicated Account Manager? Are monthly or quarterly update meetings included? Do they have an ITIL-driven operational model and best practice mindset? Do they use Professional Services Automation (PSA) software which includes Ticket allocation and resolution tracking? Finally, do they offer monthly SLA Performance Report

How can a business identify what areas of IT support they will need?

As part of your tender process you should share as much detail as possible about your core business, your operational infrastructure, your current IT set up and your future business goals. This will enable your prospective IT partners to put together a Proposal that outlines what they think is the right IT support for you.

Why might businesses not see the value in IT support?

Spending money on something that is not your core business may seem like a nice to have, but bad or no IT planning can lose you money in the long run. The CAP EX cost of investing in physical servers is huge. What if you can get the job done with virtual ones instead?  What if your PCs aren’t licensed correctly and you are fined? What if you buy new PCs and their specification is inadequate for the job you need them to do? What if a global pandemic happens and you need your entire workforce to be able to work from home in the space of a few days? What if your office floods, and your data isn’t backed up so its irretrievably lost?

Why is IT support worth the cost?

The right IT support is strategic and proactive and should help you contain your costs so that you spend your budget wisely. The best IT support protects your business’s data, keeps you working with minimal downtime, and helps your business to grow by being an enabler and not a weight around your neck.

What is the average cost of IT Support?

Prices vary depending on the services you will receive and the only way to get a genuine idea is to compare providers as part of a tender process.

Does your business need IT Support?

Contact our team today to see how Westlake IT can help to alleviate the burden of IT from your business. We’ve been providing IT managed services to businesses like yours since 2005 and many of our customers who joined us early on are still with us today.

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