By Jordan TeneyckAs businesses rely on technology to drive more administrative, service and marketing functions, many realize quickly that they need help with day-to-day issues that arise. So, they turn to outside contractors to provide assistance in the form of an “IT help desk.”
It’s a worthwhile investment. IT help desks can provide many benefits – handling the basics and stretching into roles that provide more strategic value over a long-term period.
Here are a few ways an IT help desk can be a lifesaver for a nonprofit. It can:
Provide peace of mind
Most businesses will want to arrange for 24/7 support, ensuring that questions and problems can be dealt any time – day, night or weekend. That can make a huge difference for any organization, in many ways. If you’re having trouble opening a computer document late at night when one of your clients has an emergency, having access to an on-call specialist might save an opportunity worth thousands of dollars. Having a contracted specialist also avoids the need to have one of your employees interrupt a weekend trip to tend to an IT problem.
Morph into a service desk
The best help desks are all-purpose problem-solving resources. They handle the basic IT processes – user account control, password resets, patch updates, security access approvals and all the random questions about why a file isn’t formatting properly. They can also act like service desks – empowering skilled technicians to do preventative measures. If an issue is affecting one user, it might affect another, and another. Rather than just be the first line of defense, help desks can play offense, getting ahead of problems.
Train staffers on basic security measures
Companies of all sizes are vulnerable to security hacks. You've even seen this happen to Target and Home Depot. The question is, does your organization have someone who can teach employees what behaviors to avoid to protect the organization against being breached? Maybe, maybe not. Firms that provide help desk support have that knowledge and they can be a resource for employees. They can educate staff about creating safe passwords, spiking spam emails or snuffing out phishing attempts.
Help with vendor issues
So, who deals with outside vendors? If it’s the coffee delivery person, businesses probably have a system for buying, stocking and quality testing the product. But if the supplier touches your IT systems in some way, it makes sense to involve the help desk people in the issue. If the broadband is having issues, the help desk can coordinate with Comcast. If the servers need fixing or software needs to be installed a certain way, the help desk can pitch in.
Keep current with technology shifts
It’s hard enough understanding all the issues required to handle IT support today. With so many variables involving platforms, standards, connections and vendor specs, patched-together internal IT departments will have a difficult time keeping up. It’s just going to get more complicated in the future. Having an IT help desk involved, with staffers getting regular training on any and all changes in the technology landscape, can future proof your IT infrastructure.
Partner with businesses on a flexible pay model
Finances, of course, are an ongoing challenge for most small or medium businesses. While hiring internal IT staff saddles businesses with fixed expenses, contracting with an IT help desk can be done on a more flexible basis. Help desk providers can structure plans based on their needs and/or their fluctuating staff size, ensuring that the arrangement works well for both sides.
If you are wondering if an IT help desk would be a good fit for your organization, we’d like to speak with you. Tech Networks of Boston has been providing help desk services to over 100 organizations in the Boston area, and we would like to see if we can help ease your IT worries!