There is no doubt about the importance of information technology (IT) for any business. Whether it is a start-up, a small company or a large corporation, IT is the life-blood. IT support and related services are vital to the smooth and efficient running of operations, from dealing with simple issues such as booting an employee’s computer, to more complex needs such as the implementation of new company-wide software.
When it comes to IT support services, companies of every size are faced with the same dilemma—should they have onsite IT support services or remote? Will choosing wrong prove costly?
Here we review some of the pros and cons of each IT support option to help in informing your decision.
Onsite IT Support
Onsite IT support is an individual or team that is part of the organizational structure. The team consists of company employees, available both online and offline. However, in the majority of cases, full support hours are limited to regular business hours.
Pros of Onsite IT Support
- IT issues can often be resolved in real-time. You are, however, at the mercy of the team/individual, and how much time they have available or what other problems and priorities they may be dealing with.
- Your business is their only client—you do not have to compete with other companies for their time. However, depending on your organization’s size, you may be competing with other departments.
- Issues can often be caught in the early stages before they become a bigger problem.
- When the onsite employee or team is dealing with the same equipment and software day-in, day-out, they learn from previous issues and mistakes. This makes it easier and quicker to resolve similar problems that arise.
- Being onsite, the IT support technicians are hands-on and can build a more face-to-face relationship with their co-workers within the organization.
Cons of Onsite IT Support
- Onsite IT support can be more costly than remote support. You'll be paying for a full-time employee or team whether or not their services are required, plus any employee benefits. This is one of the critical reasons dedicated support is becoming less common in favour of other support methods.
- Onsite IT support may be inefficient for your business. For example, if employees have to log a support ticket, they may be left waiting for some time before the issue is resolved. Onsite IT support often takes more time. Depending on the situation at hand, the problem could have been fixed quickly and efficiently by a remote IT support technician.
- Individual expertise may be less than that of an entire team of different strengths and knowledge at hand.
- It’s less likely that you will be able to reach an in-house technician outside of business hours.
Off-Site IT Support
Remote or off-site IT support puts the control of your software and hardware in the hands of people who are not physically located on your company premises. It also means the company does not personally employ them. Their employer is an IT support company who is then hired on contract by the business in question. When you encounter IT problems, you’ll connect with the managed IT support team either via phone or over the internet. From there they will provide fixes, maintenance and other assistance using remote access software to log directly into your machine. From their own off-site location they can navigate their way around the company system.
Managed IT support has gained traction in recent years to meet customer demands in this new digital era of cloud-based technologies. There have also been significant gains in the reliability and security of remote access software. In fact, a study by Research and Markets found that the global IT outsourcing market will grow by 5.84% in 2019.
Some of the most common issues that can be addressed remotely by IT support companies include:
- Error messages
- Programs and applications not launching properly
- Slow PCs
- Locked accounts
- Password resets
- VPN connectivity
- Shared network drive access
- Adding/removing user accounts and mailboxes
Pros of Remote IT Support
- Remote IT support is cost-effective as you only pay for the services you need and use.
- In most cases, there is a relatively quick fix to some of the most commonly occurring tech troubles. You’ll likely be able to connect quickly with your off-site operative, getting you back up and running quickly.
- Many remote IT support providers operate under Service Level Agreements (SLAs), keeping the amount of downtime to a minimum.
- IT support companies can often be reached outside of regular business hours, so you’re never without support.
- Remote support allows you and the IT support technician to connect and resolve issues without geographical limitations. For example, if you have a business location/branch in one city and one location in another city, the same IT support can be provided to both.
Cons of Remote IT Support
- Your company is unlikely to be their only client, so you are competing with other companies for time. However, an SLA will outline the expectations when it comes to being able to reach a technician.
- Remote IT support can be hard to budget for as you do not know the exact cost of services until invoiced.
- When there’s a problem with your physical hardware, you probably still need an IT support technician to be there to fix it physically. For example, if the device that needs troubleshooting has no network connection or fails to boot, then remote support is challenging to provide.
- If your remote IT support team consists of several people, you don’t know who you will get when you make the support call. As a result, it’s difficult to build a relationship with them as you never meet face-to-face.
- If the customer receives remote support via the phone, there’s also the risk of fraud. Criminals have been known to pose as support engineers to gain access to an organization’s systems.
Which is the Best Option for your Business?
IT support is not a one size fits all solution. Each company has its own requirements, which will differ by industry, company size, staff skills, and many more factors. Ultimately, for most companies, it comes down to time and cost. If an issue can be resolved remotely in 15 minutes as opposed to one hour onsite, which one would you probably prefer and would make more sense?
Due to their budget and existing logistics, many larger organizations will have a combination of the two. Remote off-site support works great for quick fixes. Onsite IT support is perfect for dealing with problems where a physical presence is required. For example, to replace physical equipment or troubleshooting a printer in-person.
Smaller companies would rely mostly on remote support as it would be the most feasible, cost-effective solution. When site visits are needed, they will pay for them on an ad hoc basis. This allows small businesses to focus on their core processes and leave the IT issues to the IT support company.
There are pros and cons to both onsite and off-site IT support and services. Depending on the type of IT services you choose, it can influence the way your business gets the assistance it needs. At the end of the day, the implementation of an IT support service for your company all boils down to research. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and the only person who knows what your business needs is you. Taking the time to explore and understand your options will ensure you make an informed decision and a long-lasting investment. Without doing so, you may well find yourself paying more for a service that isn’t a perfect match.
Flexible managed IT service providers like innov8 offer comprehensive IT services tailored to your specific needs. We will assist you in fixing problems while also acting as a source of advice for improving your IT environment. Our experienced IT professionals can access your computers remotely, quickly identify the problem and provide an effective solution. With innov8, help is just a phone call away, and we will keep your team running as efficiently as possible while minimizing lost productivity time. If an issue can ́t be fixed remotely, one of our support engineers can be there onsite for a nice mix of meeting both onsite and off-site needs.