Remote Support and 24/7 Monitoring Keeps Your Business Running Smoothly

February 7th, 2012 by Thomas Clifford

This is the second in a series of articles on managed IT services. The first shared the advantages of outsourcing your IT needs to a managed service provider. Now we’ll cover remote support and 24/7 monitoring.

What is remote support?

Remote support is working to solve a user issue on a computer or server remotely over the Internet—technicians don’t have to be hands-on.

ForeSite technicians can see the screen and the error that’s on the screen, troubleshoot it, install drivers, and apply patches—essentially, do what we need to do to try to fix the problem without having to go on-site.

Why would a business need remote support?

Remote support saves a tremendous amount of time for the user, who used to have to wait for a technician to drive to a location and fix the issue. Now, a client just calls us up, we say “Wait a second,” and we start fixing the problem. As soon as our technicians are done, the user is back in business—saving the user’s business a lot of potential downtime.

How can you tell if your business would benefit from remote support?

Businesses can look for three signs when deciding if remote support might be good for them:

1) The first sign would be people on staff struggling with their own IT issues that are preventing them from being able to do their jobs. They have an issue with something and they spend an hour or two (or more) trying to figure it out on their own (as opposed to doing whatever it is they are actually being paid to do).

2) Alternatively, you might have a person in your office who winds up being the in-house technical person. The individual has a full-time job, but people come to him or her with all their IT problems. That could be a situation where the need for remote support could alleviate either people struggling themselves or that other person being disrupted from performing his or her job—ultimately leading to more productivity for one or both of these communities.

3) You hear people complaining a lot about the stability of their technology or the availability of support from their vendor.

These are clues decision makers should be listening for, because they are signs of lost productivity from those people. On the other hand, if they could simply call ForeSite, we could (most likely) solve the issue and get them back to work quickly.

What about 24/7 monitoring? How does that work?

Let’s say there’s a power outage and a server shuts down. Or maybe the server locks up. Or the hard drive starts failing.

ForeSite is alerted immediately because we can monitor the appropriate set of parameters for that particular server and for that particular client.

Even in the middle of the night, we’re on call. For example, let’s say our pager goes off late at night indicating server number three in a school went down. We can (most likely) get that server back up and running even before the students come in for class the next day.

How much downtime can you afford?

This is the most important question to ask. The issue is determining whether your business can deal with some downtime causing lost productivity.

Can the business run effectively when it’s down? If so, how much time can it survive? Ten minutes? Five hours? Two days?

The biggest reason for using 24/7 monitoring.

Once a business determines it can’t afford to have downtime with its computers, networks or the Internet—that’s when 24/7 monitoring pays off.

With 24/7 monitoring, ForeSite can anticipate issues before they happen—issues like backup failures, drive errors, CPU issues or heat issues on a server.

When one of these issues happens, an alert comes through to our queue and we can do something about it before it becomes a server-down situation—we can go in there and try to resolve the issue, (possibly) preventing that outage from ever happening.

The obvious preference is to be able to prevent outages from happening at all, but when they do happen, we learn about them in real time—not when people arrive at work in the morning and realize their email is down.

The third and last article in this series will look at the (surprising) factor of cost using managed IT services.

Not sure if managed IT services like remote support or 24/7 monitoring are a good fit for your business?

Use our free guide to steer you in the right direction.

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