IT support questions

A big part of any company’s success lies in their knowledge and use of technology. What’s also important is a company’s ability to keep that technology running.

So it’s no surprise that after heavy investment into computers, servers and other such technology, companies need to be able to fix it when things go wrong. That’s what IT support is.

The real surprise comes when most companies opt out of getting any sort of IT support because they think they don’t need it.

You often hear excuses such as “It’s too expensive” or “I can read the manual” and even “IT breaks down even with support”. It’s all an effort to cut down what is seen as unnecessary expenses.

Executives cannot be blamed for thinking this way, because no one wants to waste money on things they don’t need. It’s also hard to understand why you would pay someone for something you could do yourself.

These misconceptions have led to companies either forgoing IT support or opting to do it themselves.

Forgoing IT support, or even attempting to do the job yourself, often results in time and effort being wasted, the problem still existing and large amounts of money being spent to solve the problem.

These misconceptions come from somewhere, so let’s walk through them to see if you really don’t need IT support, are alright with doing it yourself, or really need to look for IT support teams.

Myth #1: Technology Breaks Down/Still Has Problems Even When I Have IT Support

When companies get IT support in the form of staff or an outsourced department, they start to think that once things are set up, technology is never supposed to run into a problem again.

The reason this comes about is because we believe as long as someone is supervising our IT, it’s their job to fix things or address problems before they happen.

After all, that’s why you get IT support, right?

The problem is, logic and reality does not work like that.

Even with someone monitoring your IT 24/7, problems will still happen that they can’t prevent. This doesn’t mean they won’t stop problems from happening, but not every IT support issue is easily preventable.

For example, if an employee brings a drink to their computer, spills it and the computer stops working, that’s an IT support issue because the computer isn’t working.

But no matter how good an IT support team is, there’s nothing they can do to prevent an employee coming over to their computer with a drink. There’s also nothing they can do to stop any potential spillage.

IT support can stop problems from happening, and in a perfect world it wants to, but since it can’t control everything that goes on in the company, problems will still happen.

You also get IT support to fix problems, not be absolute prevention.

When you see a doctor, you don’t assume you are now immune to diseases, but when you become sick, you visit a doctor to be cured.

When you hire an accountant, you don’t think that you will never break your budget, but you will talk to your accountant when numbers aren’t adding up.

When you hire a lawyer, you don’t think you’re immune from legal troubles, but when something happens you consult with your lawyer to resolve that legal issue.

The list goes on, but as you can see, just because a professional is backing you doesn’t mean problems won’t happen, but you have someone you can go to when problems do occur.

You wouldn’t expect to never run into problems again with lawyers, doctors and accountants, so why is IT support any different?

You also don’t judge the quality of a lawyer or doctor by the number of problems you see, but how effectively a problem is solved.

And if you never ran into any financial difficulties, diseases and/or legal issues, why would you keep hiring an accountant/doctor/lawyer in the first place?

Problems will happen whether you like it or not. The question is, do you want to be ready when they do happen? (Check out our previous article about How To Avoid Future Tech Problems)

Myth #2: I Can Fix My Technology By Myself

To save money, people naturally adopt an “I can do this myself” mentality. After all, why pay for something you can do yourself?

There are, in fact, many DIY (do-it-yourself) guides on the Internet and young people who graduate from universities with computer knowledge.

Coupled with the fact that many computer problems are not too difficult to solve or work around, people don’t think they need a professional.

However, not all problems can be solved by yourself. And not all problems have a solution on the Internet.

What’s worse, you might not get a clear answer from the Internet, leading to wasted time and answers that don’t solve your problem.

Not all problems are as easy to solve as a missing file or the infamous “blue screen of death”. You might have a problem setting up a server, and possibly fixing the server when something goes wrong.

You could fix it yourself, but think of it this way.

You could build a house by yourself, but you won’t, because chances are it won’t be structurally stable or a house you would want to live in. You might not even have the time to build a house.

You would hire professionals such as an architect and/or a construction company because they can build a better house than you can.

It has nothing to do with your capabilities. Some people have more knowledge and experience in different industries. That’s why we call them professionals and trust them when things go wrong.

Of course, when a mouse breaks, you can solve that yourself by getting a new one. But when your server isn’t receiving files or is inaccessible to some users, call a professional.

The time and money you save, as well as the lack of frustrated employees, will soon become apparent.

Myth #3: IT Isn’t Important To My Company

When we think of information technology, we always imagine people sitting behind a computer. They are either creating software, building network infrastructure, developing applications, working with hardware or fixing computer problems.

These jobs don’t seem to be very important to most individuals, because it’s hard to see how those jobs fit in to a company’s operations.

It’s all just a misunderstanding of the importance of IT.

True, not every business puts a big focus on IT. In fact, many industries don’t have IT as their main focus. As a result, most people in high level management never believe they need IT support or “a computer person” in their office.

If it’s not a business focus, why invest in it?

But technology is becoming more important in our lives every day, not to mention the business world. You can no longer afford to ignore technology without also risking employee morale and profits.

If your business does not need to care about IT, the following must be true:

  •          You don’t use the Internet
  •          You don’t have a single computer at your business
  •          You don’t use smart devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.)

Only by following all three categories can you say IT is not important to your business.

If you go outside to, say Officeworks, for things like printing, you still need to care about IT. Just because it’s not your technology doesn’t mean you’re not using it.

You may not need a constant IT presence and may only need someone to monitor your systems and see if it’s broken. That’s fine.

But unless you run a business that’s completely removed from modern technology except phones, you need IT more than you think, and it’s not unimportant.

Myth #4: IT Support Is Too Expensive

When we think of IT departments, we think of a large, staffed department with a lot of individuals working on tasks. These individuals are ready to fix something whenever there’s a problem, and are always available.

This is the image that is true for large companies. But what if you aren’t nearly as large? You might find that you can’t afford to have a large team of IT specialists in case something goes wrong. In fact, you might be hard pressed to find the budget to justify even a single IT professional.

Depending on the size and type of your business, you may want to consider what IT support you would need.

If you don’t work with many computers and/or don’t have many users, you might be alright getting by with just customer support from manufacturers.

If you have more than 10 employees frequently using computers and you’re not in the IT industry, you may want to consider outsourcing your IT, which gives you access to professionals for a fraction of the cost.

If you are a company boasting over 100 employees, you certainly have the budget to hire an IT support professional. It would also be financially feasible, since outsourcing has trouble managing that number. The costs you save from having someone immediately there to solve problems is significant.

If you are in doubt, first look at the problems you are experiencing, then how much the problems are costing you in lost time and revenue. Then think about how much money you could gain if you hired a professional to solve your problems.

Myth #5: Outsourced IT Support Is Not Good

Since we were young, we’ve always known an IT support team to be internal, from schools and universities to professionals who worked in large companies.

So when the idea of having someone else from the outside be your IT department comes in, we are naturally apprehensive.

We don’t think they know how to solve the problems we have. We feel that they are strangers to our company, and giving personal information to people you don’t know is risky.

Those suspicions are justified, but outsourced IT isn’t as bad as you think.

Just like how you sometimes call a friend who has more technical knowledge than you do to fix your computer, outsourced IT support is just a department you call when you have problems.

Outsourced IT support will also monitor your networks like an actual IT department, keeping you protected from problems that would normally go by undetected.

Of course, nothing beats an IT professional that’s in the office with you, but if you can’t afford the hiring costs (which many small business owners cannot) and you have problems that people in the office don’t know how to fix, outsourcing is your best option.

Myth #6: Even If It’s Broken, People Won’t Care

Everyone has heard the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” saying. It’s a classic saying that holds true in a lot of areas, especially arts and crafts.

Some individuals and businesses take that a step farther, saying “Even if it’s broken, no one will notice”.

This is seen a lot in matters concerning IT, where people create workarounds for problems because they don’t know the solutions.

After all, if you can actually work around a problem, you can pretend it doesn’t actually exist, right? It’s like when your printer’s Tray 3 stops working. That’s what Tray 1, 2 and 4 are for.

Doing this too often can expose you to some serious risks.

That sort of thinking works like this: when you find out that employees are stealing office property, instead of addressing the theft, you just keep replacing whatever has been stolen.

It sounds silly, doesn’t it?

Now think of it this way.

You have a virus that has infiltrated your company network and is stealing data. To work around this, you don’t tell employees about the virus and have them keep working. After all, what they don’t know can’t hurt them.

What would your customers say if they knew this was how you “fixed” problems?

Work arounds are meant as temporary fixes to problems until you can get a professional to help you out. They aren’t substitutes for an actual solution.

If you have a problem with IT, you need to fix it as soon as you can, because while people may not notice the problem, they will see it eventually.

Yes, you do need IT support, but do look at your needs

All businesses that use computers require IT support. Whether it’s hiring your own professional or outsourcing your IT department, someone has to be there fixing the problems you encounter, keeping an eye on your technology and helping you succeed in your business.

You just need to know which method of support is right for you, your employees and your budget.

At MSP Blueshift, we look at your requirements and your problems, providing 24/7 maintenance and take care of your business’s technology so that you can focus on the things that you do best.