What exactly does IT support mean? IT support refers to specialized services that companies offer to end users of technological products or services, instead of offering training, provision or modification of the existing product. For instance, in some companies, an IT department manages security measures, while another department manages the software itself and troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise. The IT support service company then acts as a liaison between the two departments.
IT support can be provided by a variety of professionals
who have the necessary expertise and understanding of various technologies, including the hardware that underlies those technologies. IT support services include hardware, networking, software, and security. For example, network security involves protecting computer networks from unauthorized access, as well as identifying, preventing and solving security vulnerabilities. Hardware security involves protecting computers and other associated equipment from damage caused by theft or damage, including by fire, flooding, hurricane, earthquake and so on.
IT support involves computer software as well, such as operating systems, networking, enterprise data management, document imaging and so on. This can be accomplished in one firm location or by having several locations that service different aspects of an organization’s information technology needs. In some cases, support is provided through telephonic or electronic means. Some organizations have their own internal IT support staff, while other organizations use third-party support companies, including self-employed contractors and outsourced employees. Outsourcing IT is increasingly popular among small, medium and large businesses because of its inherent advantages over hiring employees. Outsourcing costs less than employing employees and allows a company to focus on developing its products and increasing its productivity.
One advantage of outsourcing is that an IT support company doesn’t have to purchase, build, operate and maintain its own network infrastructure. When you outsource your IT needs, you can concentrate your attention on developing new products, upgrading outdated hardware and implementing more efficient computer software. You also don’t have to be knowledgeable in all the technologies that are part of information technology. Many companies require only basic familiarity with Windows, networking, email and basic computer software applications.
IT support staff may consist of one or more individuals who perform different tasks within the company. These personnel may include network administrators, including administrators of the physical layer of network equipment, routers and switches; consultants, including those who perform troubleshooting activities; technical support specialists, including consultants and support staff; and information technology managers, who manage and direct the IT department. Information technology managers oversee the flow of information through the network, identify and implement new applications and hardware, track and monitor security measures, develop and maintain business applications and establish employee training programs. Other IT managers may oversee the support staff and design the corporate intranet network.
IT support involves more than just fixing computer systems.
It also includes assisting customers in installing new hardware, updating their current hardware, adding software, migrating to a new platform and migrate to a new operating system. IT technical support staff can help to design information technology solutions, assist with software licensing and maintenance, train users in using new technology, train and educate new computer systems users, assist customers in obtaining licenses for new applications and help develop new computer systems. In addition, some IT technical support staff are assigned to resolve network issues, provide support to end-users regarding security concerns, provide assistance with network migration, and implement new business processes.
- To facilitate IT support staff’s efforts in these activities,
- There are several IT support service providers who provide services on a contract basis.
- These providers typically contract to manage the hardware, software and network needs of a business.
They can install new hardware or upgrades, add new software or upgrade the existing network. The service provider can also install and troubleshoot computer systems, design new solutions, train users in the use of new technology and monitor the security measures. These service providers typically support all aspects of a business’s computer systems, including desktop and notebook computers, laptops, network servers, web servers, workstations and mobile devices such as cell phones and handheld computers.
IT support staff can also resolve issues that may arise from troubleshooting activities. Examples of troubleshooting activities include identifying and repairing hardware components, diagnostic tests of computer software and networks and updating documentation. IT support staff can also help to develop work processes to resolve issues. Some examples of these activities include training users in how to troubleshoot problems, training technicians in new technologies and training technical professionals on how to handle hardware errors.