What is Remote IT Support?

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While technology is exciting, our many years of experience in this industry has taught us one clear lesson: not everyone is a techie. In fact we can dare say that most people don't like handling technology issues. Majority just enjoy using technology, but they are not amused by the thought of looking into problems even where some of the problems may be rightly viewed as simple by technicians. So when the ordinary tech user encounters a problem, you can only imagine the frustration that they undergo.

An issue that can be minor in the eyes of a techie can easily be a ‘monster’ in the eyes of an ordinary employee who just wants to finish their job. A simple software glitch, a document failing to print, an email system not sending or receiving emails, etc.

Such scenarios have gotten more pronounced in the modern era where remote and hybrid work are gradually becoming the norm. In pure remote work, for example, a company's IT support team obviously has no physical access to employees' devices. In such circumstances, remote IT support services  become instrumental.

But remote IT support is not only just limited to the remote work ecosystem. Even companies that operate fully on-site are beginning to rethink the tradition of subjecting their employees to the experience of waiting for IT technicians to physically come to their workstations and solve issues. Today, the digital world demands agility and instant solutions, and remote IT support has become the answer. 

Read on! This comprehensive guide demystifies remote IT support, revealing its magic and how you can use it to turbo-charge your IT environment.

What is Remote IT Support?

Imagine any tech meltdown: printer woes, crashing software, or some mysterious error message. And then, imagine a tech hero who swoops in instantly, not physically, but virtually, instead of waiting for a technician to physically arrive. This is the power of remote IT support.

In essence, this is where a technician uses secure software to remotely access the user's computer, network, or mobile device for the provision of technical support. 

This is to enable them accomplish the following:

  • Diagnosis: It allows them to see the screen, run diagnostics, and isolate what's wrong at the source.
  • Treatment: It lets them remotely perform tasks such as install software, update drivers, make changes in configurations, and take over the device (provided they have approval).
  • After-service guidance: Guiding users through the solutions, answering their questions, and supporting them to prevent recurrence. 

Think of remote IT support as an IT department, on call, 24/7, from anywhere an Internet connection can be made. Remote support is ideal for all business sizes. 

We also have an article covering the exact opposite of remote IT support, which is on-site IT support. Check it out and earn its strengths. 

What does remote IT support encompass?

As we have seen from the definition, remote IT support basically refers to the technical support that is extended to customers and end users over a remote connection. It is an affordable and effective mode of handling IT systems and networks. 

Remote IT support is available through avenues such as the help desk, email, phone, or chat and is offered by dedicated groups of IT professionals. The wide areas of remote IT support include hardware, software, network equipment, telephony, applications, and cybersecurity, among others.

The hardware support will involve diagnosis and rectification of computer hardware problems, and problems with items like printers, scanners, and other peripherals. The software support will involve identifying problems related to software, the installation of software, and guidance on how it is used. When we talk about cybersecurity support, we're talking about intrusion detection systems, firewalls, antivirus software, and procedures that go against the finest data security practices.

Overall, while specific services may vary by provider, the fundamental principle around remote IT support remains consistent — delivering comprehensive technical aid without the requirement for physical presence. 

How remote IT support works 

These are the important steps that are key for remote IT support to work effectively, for any size of business:

The first step involves users contacting the IT support team with their issues or a demand for help through phone, email, chat, etc.

The next step is diagnosis. Here, the techie will call back the user to diagnose the trouble so that they know what happened, like if there was an error message or symptoms.

The third step is remote access. The technician (s) will use remote connection software to gain safe access to the user's computer.

The final steps are troubleshooting and resolution. Through remote access, the technician can view the user screen and look at the system settings and run some diagnostic tools to find out what the problem is.

The technician finds the proper solution after diagnosing the problem. Common solutions may include tuning the configuration, installing updated versions of a software product, or removing malware.

For an example of remote IT support in action, picture an employee sitting in a business office with a problem in their computer. Unfortunately, they can't fix this problem by themselves. This behooves them to call or email the responsible IT professional. Then, the IT professional will take over and repair the problem on the employee's computer from their remote location. 

The IT professional can do this while the employee is watching through real-time video and ask questions in any case. Once the problem is resolved, the IT professional will disconnect from the employee's computer, and then the employee goes back to work. 

Benefits of utilizing remote IT support

Utilizing remote IT support offers numerous benefits for businesses, including these important ones.

1. Remote IT support is cost-effective

Travel expenses and related costs are reduced to significant levels when remote IT help replaces the need for on-site visits. 

Since remote support specialists can operate from any location, your business can save a lot on overhead costs like equipment and office space. Employing this economical strategy enables businesses to invest in other aspects of operations and distribute resources more wisely.

2. Remote IT support increases efficiency and productivity

With remote IT support, troubleshooting problems becomes easy. There are no major delays, which is a common occurrence when users have to wait for a technician to physically come to the premises. 

Remote access tools make it convenient to solve problems in real-time, therefore reducing downtime. That, eventually, leads to improved productivity and efficiency.

3. Remote IT support enhances flexibility and accessibility

Remote IT support provides flexibility for support teams and gives more freedom to users. Technicians can help the user from everywhere and whenever possible. 

Users also enjoy the luxury of access to support services from any location without the need to wait for on-site assistance. Moreover, a majority of remote support providers work on a 24-hour basis which implies that users have access to expert support 24/7.

4. Remote IT support bolsters scalability

Remote support solutions are scalable, and as such, businesses can easily adjust based on what is necessary and changes in requirements that may be at hand. 

From covering a small team to a whole large enterprise, remote support software and technologies are capable of flexibly responding to changes in demand levels. No need to drastically change or invest in infrastructure.

Talking of software, you can learn more about the major types of software for organizations

5. Remote IT support enhances security and data protection

Remote support solutions make use of encryption protocols and authentications to ensure that sensitive information is not exposed at any given time during the remote session. 

This existence of a strong security system implies that firms that use remote support are safe in their data use and that the risk of exposure due to unauthorized access or breaches is minimal.

How to implement remote IT support

You can easily implement remote IT support into your organizational infrastructure through these key steps: 

  • Existing Infrastructure Assessment: Evaluate the current IT infrastructure, including network abilities, protocols of safety, and systems software to determine compatibility with remote support tools and technologies.
  • Select a provider: Of course, not all companies can afford to have in-house remote support teams. In such cases, you will need to rely on companies that offer remote IT support services. So it's important that you select a provider that will be able to meet the unique support needs of your organization. 
  • Select remote support tools: Search and select appropriate remote support software with regard to the needs and requirements of the organization. Some of the factors that may be considered are security features, ease of use, compatibility with, and scalability.
  • Training and Education: Proper training needs to be provided to all IT staff and end-users involved. They should be well-versed in the protocols relating to remote access, security precautions, and basic troubleshooting skills.
  • Set Remote Support Procedures: The procedures and protocols related to the launching and carrying out of remote support sessions should be developed with clarity. Define clear roles for IT technicians and end-users, their responsibilities, communications, and possible escalation procedures in the event of more complex issues.
  • Security and Compliance: Leverage appropriate strong measures to safeguard sensitive data, thus ensuring adherence to relevant industry regulations, standards, and data protection. These can be practices including data encryption, access controls, authentication mechanisms, and frequent security audits such as SOC 2.
  • Integrated Service Desk Operations: Remote IT support capability is integrated into ongoing or existing service desk operations. This is important in order to effectively streamline ticket management, prioritize support requests, and track times to resolution. 

Unattended remote access and security considerations

Unattended remote access is a type of remote IT support in which IT professionals control an endpoint remotely, even when there is no end-user present at the endpoint. This requires total endpoint visibility

This type of remote support is mainly designed for running routine maintenance, troubleshooting and health checks. The most common devices where this approach is most used include laptops, desktops, servers, smartphones, IoT, and operation technology (OT).

Security is at the core in everything concerning unattended remote access implementations. Some of the key security considerations in this regard include: 

  • Vulnerability and patch management of the exposed systems
  • Internal lateral movement after initial compromise
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Session security and controls
  • Audit and logging.

Challenges in remote IT support

Most businesses are finding remote IT support to be so central to their operations, especially at a time when most workers are compelled to work from home post the pandemic (COVID-19). 

However, the service is not without some challenges. The following are the most common challenges you can expect: 

  1. Network Infrastructure Challenges: The network infrastructure of remote workers varies significantly. Companies have no control over the type of network equipment employees use, especially if the employees are using their own devices at home and not company provisioned devices and networks.
  2. Cybersecurity Threats: Remote work expands the attack surface, making organizations susceptible to cyber threats during remote support sessions. Learn more about attack surface management
  3. Varying IT Literacy: Remote workers have diverse levels of IT knowledge and experience thus complicating diagnostics and repairs.

To overcome these challenges, it’s important that you standardize network configurations and offer secure connection guidelines. Equally important is to implement robust cybersecurity measures likeVPNs and regular training to mitigate cyber threats. Finally, provide remote IT training that is tailored to various skill levels to improve overall IT literacy.

Emerging trends and innovations in remote IT support

The world of remote IT support is bustling with innovation, pushing limits in unimaginable ways. Imagine a technician virtually «stepping in» to your company’s workspace through AR glasses, guiding employees through repairs in real time. 

Or, picture them configuring routers using VR while seeing your environment remotely. These technologies will revolutionize how we interact with remote support.

Here's a glimpse into the exciting trends:

1. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Imagine a technician virtually «stepping in» to your company’s workspace through AR glasses, guiding employees through repairs in real time. 

Or, picture them configuring routers using VR while viewing the entire environment remotely. These technologies will revolutionize how we interact with remote support.

2. AI-powered Service Desks

Service desks are getting smarter with AI and machine learning. Imagine virtual agents diagnosing common issues through chats, directing teams to the right expert, or even proactively identifying potential problems before they cause disruptions.

Learn the difference between service desk and help desk

3. Cybersecurity Integration

As threats evolve, remote support will seamlessly incorporate advanced security measures. Think real-time vulnerability scanning, automated threat detection, and secure connections that protect devices during support sessions.

4. Self-Service 

Expect user-friendly interfaces and self-service options within the service desk. Employees will be able to resolve simple issues like password resets on their own, track ongoing support requests for remote computers, and much more.

These trends promise a future where remote IT support will be more personalized, secure, and efficient more than ever before. Get ready for a support experience that goes beyond the screen and directly into the company’s remote computing environment.

Remote IT support is the new normal!

If your company depends heavily on technology, and many companies do these days, then you will probably agree that IT support is a strong pillar that must always be at its best. It's also true that traditionally, the IT support personnel always operated from within company premises. They always went physically to the affected devices to solve issues.

But the immense proliferation of efficient technologies and devices coupled with the emergence of the remote work trend has birthed an ecosystem that is too complex for the traditional on-site model of IT support. For one, the technologies that companies use these days are too many (for) and complex. While this is all good for business, it also means that for some companies, it will be so expensive to invest in a fully in-house IT support team that is capable of dealing with all these technologies. As for remote work environments, the support has to be remote.

With all these scenarios, it's clear why remote IT support has become so central in the modern business environment. It’s quickly becoming the default mode of support. 

Before you leave please take note of the things you need to know in order to offer best IT support experiences for remote locations

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