Tech support is a necessity for just about every business these days. The more technology you have, the more likely something is going to go wrong, and you have to have someone who can take care of those issues quickly. The longer your technology is down, even if it’s just one printer or one piece of software, the less productive your team can be. When it’s something major, such as a point of sale system, you can end up losing a lot of money.
When some people think of managed service providers, they may assume they’re something like tech support on steroids. However, MSPs are quite different from tech support. In fact, daily, onsite tech support isn’t something most service providers do. Instead, they focus much more on designing, implementing, and maintaining your IT infrastructure. With the right MSP partner, your local tech support team will actually have less work to do and fewer emergencies to deal with. MSPs don’t replace tech support and tech support staff typically are not trained to do what MSPs handle.
Let’s take a deeper look at how these two areas of technology differ and how you need both to make your company a success. When it comes to managed IT services, Wooden Spoon is here to provide you with custom solutions that will help your tech support staff work more productively.
What Does Tech Support Do?
Tech support is the first line of defense for issues with any sort of technology. Your tech support team may be there to help your employees, your customers, or even your customers’ customers in some cases. They are trained to diagnose issues with the software and hardware you use with the goal of resolving any problems so your employees can work smoothly and your customers can continue to use your products without problems.
What Does Tech Support Work On?
Your tech support staff may work on computers, laptops, cloud servers, mobile devices, and much more. They reset passwords, recover files, install software, run virus scans, and reset hardware. These employees are normally trained on just the systems and hardware you use or offer to customers, although many may know how to troubleshoot other technology from using it themselves or from working tech support for other companies.
Tech Support Education
Some tech support staff do have degrees, while others may have completed various certifications. If you’re hiring entry-level support team members, it’s possible all they will have is the training you provided to them.
In small businesses, tech support may comprise most of what your IT team does. In fact, you may have a single IT employee who just handles tech support. In larger corporations, there are often dozens or even hundreds of tech support employees. Sometimes they all operate on the same level, but in others, tech support is organized into tiers. Tier one is basic tech support, and they know how to diagnose and fix common issues. When employees or customers have problems they’re unable to fix, they escalate the ticket to tier two. These tech support employees typically have more knowledge and experience, so they’re able to deal with rare issues or massive problems. In some cases, they do have certifications and degrees, though some are tier one employees who have years of experience troubleshooting your products.
It’s important to note that tech support and an internal IT team are not always the same thing. In smaller companies, they likely are, especially if tech support only provides assistance to your employees, not to your customers. If you do have customer-facing tech support, however, they are likely going to be separate from your internal IT team. The IT team may provide tech support to employees, such as unlocking accounts and installing software. The tech support team, in this case, may focus solely on your customers and have cross-training in customer service and support.
What do MSPs Handle?
MSPs, on the other hand, deal with just about every other aspect of your IT infrastructure. While some MSPs do handle everything, some share responsibility with your own IT team. Many don’t deal with day-to-day tech support because they’re busy focusing on things that require advanced knowledge, expertise, and skills. These tasks include network optimization, cybersecurity, cloud migration, and compliance.
While you need tech support once your company is up and running, you may need to bring in an MSP before that. That’s because they can help you design and build your IT infrastructure. They’re also able to assist you with creating your overall technology strategy and other documents, including your business data continuity plan. These documents will ensure your IT infrastructure is built correctly from the ground-up, which will prevent issues later on.
Of course, many businesses do partner with an MSP long after they were founded. They need to bring in these experts for a few different reasons. MSPs typically have a team of experts that businesses may not have, so working with them gives the business access to these professionals. Some businesses may not have access to a cybersecurity expert or someone who fully understands how to integrate systems together. Your MSP partner could handle these tasks while you keep other technology tasks in-house. This type of co-managed IT also helps keep your budget under control.
MSPs may assist with major problems, such as viruses corrupting your system, hackers stealing data, or crashes that take down your entire infrastructure. Typically, however, they don’t handle minor tech issues or daily problems such as users needing their passwords reset. If you’re working with a remote MSP, your local tech support team or internal IT team may need to handle most of the hardware problems, though the MSP experts can consult.
Which One is Better?
There’s no contest between tech support and MSPs because they aren’t something you can compare. The two provide different functions for your business. Tech support will ensure that everything is operating smoothly, while MSPs will help you with implementing the right solutions. Some companies do everything in-house without using MSPs, which is always an option. However, they will still need a tech support department or team to handle issues as they come up. In this case, tech support will also have to handle the major problems, which can be a disadvantage because it can stretch your team too thin.
An MSP often can do more because they have experts with greater knowledge in specialized areas. They are able to do everything from create continuity plans and build new cybersecurity protections to monitor for suspicious activity and handle migrations to the cloud.
Your tech support staff, however, brings a level of customer service to your business. They can build rapport with customers by figuring out problems and implementing solutions quickly. That’s a skill your MSP providers may not have because they’re not as familiar with your products, nor do they have the time to get to know your customers.
Why You Need Both
By working with both an MSP and your own internal tech support team, you can ensure that your technology operates smoothly and without too much downtime. Your MSP will create a preventative maintenance plan that they will work with your IT team to implement. This plan will ensure that your software and hardware are inspected regularly and repaired or replaced before they fail. This means instead of losing over a day of productivity or profits when your server goes down, you intentionally take your server down overnight to replace old drives before they go out.
Of course, you still need your tech support team to help users who get locked out of their accounts or have issues with software or hardware. Your MSP will monitor for cyberattacks and breaches, while your tech support team ensures that your users, whether they’re employees or customers, are able to access the system and the resources they need.
By bringing in an MSP when you need them and building a strong tech support team, you can take advantage of the benefits of both. Your employees will have a stable, secure environment to work in, while they and your customers will have a well-trained team ready to tackle daily problems and resolve them quickly. The MSP assists you and your internal IT team in building a strong infrastructure and foundation, while your tech support crew keeps everything moving smoothly day to day. One can’t replace the other because they simply don’t do the same thing.
Partner with Wooden Spoon Today for all of Your MSP Needs
Wooden Spoon offers a wide range of managed IT services, including proactive support, IT planning and strategy, and responsive support. We will analyze your current IT infrastructure, develop solutions for any gaps in your security, assist you with optimizing performance, and more. When something horrible does happen that our tech support and internal IT team can’t handle, we’ll be there to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.
Whether you need a few experts to supplement your current team or want to split your IT duties, Wooden Spoon can be your ideal MSP partner. Contact us today via email or by calling us at 707-523-2222.