If you are considering which IT support company to opt for then there can be a wide variance in the levels of support offered. Some offer 24/7/365 support, whilst others offer support only in business hours. Once you start delving further, you are even likely to find variances between what 24-hour support actually means – with some services including staffed care at all hours and others offering an out-of-hours self-service troubleshooting portal, with skeletal staff support and not much else.
Not all businesses require true 24-hour support, whilst with others it would be a very risky move to do without. If you’re not sure whether your business needs round-the-clock IT support, then we’ve put together five helpful questions that should help you decide.1. Do you operate in a highly pressured and time-sensitive industry?
In some industries, time really is of the essence. In industries such as law and accountancy, minutes lost translate to billable hours lost. In private equity firms, deals often run late in the night – and any system downtime could hamper a deal closing.
In short, if your employees’ time is a highly-commoditised asset to your company or any downtime could result in loss of business or hamper your reputation, then 24-hour IT support is a must-have, not a nice-to-have.
2. Do you offer flexible and agile working?
Many companies now operate flexible and agile working practices such as BYOD and remote working to enhance productivity, cut unnecessary overheads and improve service standards, or they are looking to do so in in imminent future.
In the same way your business would not dream of employees waiting until the next day to resolve any IT issues during normal nine-to-five office hours – or with many businesses, any longer than an hour – if you wish to realise the benefits of flexible and agile working then 24-hour support is essential. The same applies if your employees often work long hours in the office.
3. Do your customers or clients access your IT systems?
To innovate and improve service, many organisations offer an external portal log in to enable clients/customers to track or even collaborate on documents. If this applies to your organisation, consider the business fall-outs of what would happen if your IT systems were not fully supported 24/7.
4. Is your industry regulated?
In some organisations, such as law firms or private equity firms, a business continuity plan is not just good practice, but is required by the regulatory body – and this extends to IT failures. If you operate in a regulated industry, check what the requirements are in respect of continuity of service, and whether you can objectively justify the decisions you have made in respect of your IT support.
5. Is a less supportive service worth the calculated risk?
The points raised in the questions above cover just some of the situations when business costs may indicate you require 24-hour IT support. However, there are plenty of others – from lost business opportunities, to reputational damage and more. When considering the level of IT support you need, make sure you consider the cost differential (it may not be that significant) against all the possible consequences that IT downtime may have on your business. Then calculate whether your business can afford that risk.
The level of support is just one of the issues that you should consider when choosing an IT support company – we cover this and more in our IT support company selection guide below: