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IT support case studies, presentations, and checklists

We would like to share with you a selection of our case studies, presentations, and other operating documents to give you a better perspective of what it is like to work with us in practice. This material is used to help our clients make sound decisions about their IT environment.

Workshop presentation on understanding cloud services

Takeaways about cloud services presented by Simply Smart Technology at SBA SCORE Chicago.

Cyber-security methodology

Simply Smart Technology protects clients against cyber-security threats as part of our comprehensive IT support services

The basics of hiring IT support discussed in plain English

What is IT support?

IT is short for information technology and IT support is the help your users receive when they have problems with their computer system.

These are examples of problems that IT support would prevent or fix: a computer does not start, an application crashes, users can’t access network resources or the Internet, blue screen, fan or hard drive noises, failed hardware, etc.

Is professional IT support important for my business?

Without dedicated IT support a business relies on their internal staff to troubleshoot IT issues. In general, IT support tasks will fall to IT savvy individuals whose primary job is another function.

When presented with an IT issue, these non-professionals usually take a bunch of time to Google around and find something to fix the immediate problem in the moment. In the event that the staffer finds a fix or workaround, the process for even the savviest end-user is painfully slow. And the bigger risk is that their work could obscure lager systemic issues that must be addressed at the root cause.

When users are left without guidance or access to professional help, there is no guarantee IT issues are fixed the right way and won’t cause bigger issues down the line. Even the most experienced end users have a difficult time telling the difference between a helpful tool and malware, or an isolated issue on a single computer and a bigger one affecting the entire system.

It is important for a business to have direct access to professional IT support help and receive both efficient on-demand fixes to technology problems and consultative advice that helps prevent issues.

What are remote support and onsite support?

Onsite support is when a technician is physically present at your business location.

Remote support is when a technician helps you or your employees resolve a computer issue without being physically present in the same office.

Remote support is enabled by installing a piece of software on client computers that enables a technician to establish a secure connection to the computer. Once an end user approves the connection, a technician will see exactly what the end user sees and can start working on the problems.

For most IT problems, remote support is the fastest way to get IT support because a tech can connect and start working on to fix a problem faster than walking over to a desk or traveling to a location.

What are my options for hiring IT support?

The most common ways to hire IT support resources for a business are:

  • Directly Hired Full-time Employee
  • Directly Hired IT Support Team
  • Break/Fix IT Support or Outsourced Consultant
  • Managed Service Provider (MSP)

There are benefits and challenges for each type of IT support resources.  The IT support model you should select will depend on the size of your business, budget, reliance on technology, and business goals.

There are detailed pro/cons section can help you narrow in on a model that works for your organization’s specific IT support needs.

What are the pros/cons of directly hiring a full-time IT support person?

Direct hired IT support is an individual person that an organization hires as a full-time employee to provide IT support.

The business takes on the hiring, training, and management of a direct hire. The responsibility for hiring this technology professional falls on your internal staff, vetting candidates for this position could be complex.

A single person has the benefit of being dedicated to the business and available during business hours, but faces the limitations of bing a single person. One person can only work on one IT issue at a time. If two people are having a problem at the same time, someone will be waiting for access to IT support.

Also a single IT person will come into an organization with their fixed set of skills. When they hit a problem that is outside of their skill set or out of their depth they have to rely on Internet research to find a fix or ask the business to pay for expensive training.

Even if an organization has hired and trained a this resource very well, there is a high risk to the business of loosing institutional knowledge or repeating the hiring, training, and management process again if there is turn-over in this position.

What are the pros/cons of directly hiring a team of IT support people?

When directly hiring an IT support team the business takes on the hiring, training, and management of multiple IT support professionals.

If you hire, train, and manage these technology professionals well, a team of people with a diverse set of skill that is dedicated to the business and available during business hours is ideal. But expensive!

  • $100,000+ – CTO for high-level strategy and decision making
  • $80,000+ – Systems Administrator for deep technical skills and server management
  • $80,000+ – Network Administrator to support firewall, switch, router, and network devices
  • $35,000+ – Desktop Support technicians to help end-users with day-to-day IT issues

There are exceptionally well run IT support Employed Teams, but is unusual to see an internal IT team focus on response times and customer service in the same way an outside IT support company would. And far fewer Employed Teams have access to enterprise class tools for proactive monitoring and maintenance.

If an organization has hired and trained very well, there is lower risk to the business of loosing institutional knowledge or repeating the hiring, training, and management process again if there is turn-over in this position.

What are the pros/cons of a break/fix IT support company or a single consultant?

A break/fix service provider is an external company specialized in offering IT support to other businesses. A single outsourced consultant is a single individual that specializes in offering IT support to businesses. These two types of IT support providers are grouped together because they generally present the same benefits and challenges.

Break/fix service providers and single outsourced consultants deliver a reactive, on-demand support once a computer problem has already occurred. Users must call to notify those break/fix providers for help and pay a fee for each specific service call.

Break/fix providers are only working (and paid) when there is an issue. In contrast, your business keeps employees working and productive when issues are prevented from happening in the first place. These two perspectives are conflicting. If break/fix support providers act in an advisory capacity to prevent a problem, they are taking future business away from themselves. It’s not a question about the integrity of the provider, it is just that the break/fix model puts the respective interests of the support provider and the business at odds.

Many break/fix providers are also single person shops and face the limitations of bing a single person. One person can only work on one IT issue at a time. If two people are having a problem at the same time, someone will be waiting for access to IT support.

In order to make sure they have consistent business, a break/fix provider or single outsourced consultant must keep on their roster a lot of clients who always have problems. These providers struggle to provide a responsive service to all their clients because they are constantly booked.

What are the pros/cons of a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

A managed service provider is an external company specialized in offering IT support to other businesses. MSPs focus is on issue prevention and limiting downtime to maximize productivity.

They commonly charge a flat fee for a plan that includes multiple services – e.g. server administration, security and policy management, help desk support, etc.

MSPs align their incentives with the goals of the business. Because their services come at a flat fee, any issue prevention makes both the business and the MSP more efficient.

MSPs have a set roster of clients with fixed monthly fees, so they can hire and plan for the right amount of staffing to remain highly responsive and support needs of their clients.

Simply Smart Technology is a Managed Service Provider.

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