Today's flexible workforce requires IT teams to support complex work environments across a multitude of locations, networks, and devices. So what does successful IT support for small businesses look like? Put simply, you need a consolidated and streamlined solution that enables your small business remote support team to work seamlessly across devices and locations, as opposed to disjointed tools that leave them constantly toggling.
According to IDG research, 87% of IT teams at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) use multiple tools for remote support, which presents massive challenges, such as:
- Longer resolution times
- Difficulties solving problems with off-network devices
- Inability to seamlessly support distributed workforces
Consolidating can help combat complexity with simplicity. But what should you look for?
Comprehensive IT support for small businesses should deliver these 5 factors:
1. Integrate support with your messaging tools
A majority of organizations today are using messaging tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. But there’s more to messaging apps than conversations and animated GIFs. Integrating the tools your employees use every day in the messaging app where they are already working can go a long way into simplifying workflows and reducing headaches as you deliver remote IT support for small business.
Integrating apps for product management, HR functionality, and IT support can greatly streamline processes. When your IT support tool is integrated with Slack or MS Teams, you can use your messaging platform as a place of engagement for small business remote support, not just for one-way complaints that are then resolved in a separate workflow.
For example, you can use GoTo Resolve’s conversational ticketing feature to resolve IT issues without leaving a messaging conversation, enabling your IT team and users to seamlessly interact. But not just any integration will do. Some “integrations” are more like a veneer. Investigate if it will allow you to take support actions from within the platform.
2. Triage issues without waiting on users
Before hybrid work, in-office employees could walk over to IT, drop off their computer, get a loaner, and then IT would return the device one they fixed the issue. Or IT support folks could drop by an employee’s desk to provide support.
Remote support has long been another option, allowing IT teams to provide support to employees wherever they are working, but it requires that the employee be on the other end of the device being supported in real-time. But this isn’t always convenient for either party and can be a hassle to coordinate.
Using remote access tools, your IT people don’t have to ask an employee for an hour of their day to collaborate on an issue. Instead, the IT pro can work quietly in the background to resolve a user's IT issue, deploying capabilities like background file manager, remote terminal, and other powerful remote access tools.
3. Do it once, automate it forever
If your team has developed an effective process or workflow to resolve a common IT support issue, you can save time by automating that solution instead of manually applying it over and over.
But getting started with IT automation can seem daunting. So take it piece by piece. Start by auditing the IT issues your users experience frequently, such as hard drives getting full, and then set up automation to empty recycling bins or temporary folders on a regular basis.
You’ll need an IT solution that doesn’t require heavy scripting knowledge, especially to take care of the easier stuff. Look for a tool that has pre-defined tasks for things like restarting services, rebooting devices, and pulling logs.
These scripts are pre-written, but you can edit them. And if you know how to write scripts, you can also take care of the more complicated support tasks. It’s easy enough to search IT forums to pick up scripts or advice as needed.
4. Support anything, and we mean everything
While automation and behind-the-scenes support tools can resolve many issues before they become tickets for your help desk support team, you’ll also need to provide on-demand remote support for any device in any location. That includes PCs, Macs, iOS and Android mobile devices, Chromebooks, tablets, and disconnected devices like home WiFi routers and printers that you need to see to support.
Getting stuck on IT problems is no fun and can lead to unhappy employees. You can use remote support to help them configure email or resolve a technical problem they’re experiencing on their devices. When it comes to physical equipment within their work environment, like printer jams, you can use real-time camera sharing to see the issue and walk the employee through the fix.
With flexible workforces depending on remote workstations to stay productive, you simply cannot treat any device as a second-class citizen. Support for flexible work must remain device and location agnostic.
5. Be more secure
Larger enterprises are always concerned about security breaches and put a lot of firepower behind mitigating and responding to them. But smaller companies are actually the target for about half of all cyberattacks, so you need to be prepared and protected. You don’t have to take major steps or make massive investments, but you do need software and tools that don’t expose you to additional vulnerabilities.
What functionalities can help your small or midsize business be more secure? You need audit trails, data encryption, permissions, and other security controls like zero trust remote access controls that go the extra mile. Any trusted solution must have these core capabilities. If they don't, you should RUN (not walk) away.
To dive deeper into each of these must-haves of a comprehensive remote IT support for small businesses, check out the webinar, Uncover the Hidden Value of GoTo Resolve.
Learn more about the comprehensive features in GoTo Resolve.
Source: IDG, The State of SMB IT Support: How to Empower and Secure the Hybrid Workforce, January 2022.