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Remote IT Support: The Benefits and Challenges of Remote Support

Remote IT Support: The Benefits and Challenges of Remote Support in a Hybrid Workplace

The workplace has changed rapidly in the past few years—and the landscape of IT support has had to shift along with it. With industry trends ever-evolving, remote IT support has become a vital consideration for enterprises around the world. Remote IT support allows for a quick and efficient deployment of technical resources to resolve issues, reducing downtime, increasing employee and agent satisfaction, boosting savings, and leading to better overall productiveness.

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 66% of employers are redesigning their workplaces to accommodate hybrid work arrangements. In this new work model, IT teams no longer have access to the employee’s physical devices. Figuring out how to support these devices in a virtual world presents a unique set of challenges. In this new decentralized work model, remote solutions for problems like IT support become not just helpful, but essential.

Luckily, there are a bevy of tools out there for companies to tap into in order to enhance IT support, like ScreenMeet. But what practices are we describing exactly when we say “remote IT support”? After all, definitely gone are the days when a technician can just pop over to your desk. And while it seems like a no-brainer in the age of remote and hybrid work, what specific advantages and challenges might the practice offer?

What Exactly Is Remote IT Support?

Not everyone is a tech wiz—in fact, it’s a fair wager to assume that most people struggle with technology frustrations at least once a day. A computer or software issue might disrupt an employee’s workflow, perhaps even rendering them immobile as far as work is concerned.

In a remote setting, where IT support no longer has physical access to devices, the frustration only amplifies. Without immediate access, diagnosing problems is even harder than usual. Sure, you can call the help desk. But if the user can’t articulate what’s going on, how is the technician to solve their problem quickly?

Remote IT support offers an effective and efficient way to provide tech support, wherever your technicians and employees work from. Thanks to enhanced tools, location simply doesn’t matter anymore.

When an employee calls or chats into the help desk, the technician asks for permission to access their computer. Once the employee grants access, the technician connects directly to the device and can see what is on the screen. It’s like opening the door and inviting the technician in to take a look around.

During this virtual session, the technician can take control of the user’s keyboard and mouse to fix the problem. They can also advise on how to prevent the problem in the future. The employee can just sit back and watch the magic unfold, without worrying about performing the steps themselves.

Beyond basic troubleshooting, virtual support sessions enable a broad range of other support tasks. Remote support allows technicians to manage files on the user’s computer, update software, or run diagnostics. Some IT support systems can even grant access to a device even if the user isn’t present. But whatever the exact details of a specific system, it’s clear that remote IT support is a win-win for all parties involved.

remote IT support

Benefits of Remote IT Support

At even just a first glance, it’s obvious that enhanced remote IT support is the perfect solution for the problems posed by decentralized work models. Considering how one study from Upwork predicts that upwards of 36 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025—to say nothing of the rest of the world—this is a very real consideration many businesses need to account for from now. But what are some of the tangible benefits remote IT support can offer your team?

Empower Remote Employees

When something goes wrong, employees need to know that there are support mechanisms in place. Not every employee has the know-how to solve a problem themselves; those without remote support may just hobble on with the hindrance and be less productive. Others may even try to fix the issue themselves, despite not knowing what they are doing; these “self-service” fixes usually just lead to more technician time fixing the added issues.

Offering remote IT support gives employees the security they need to get through the day. They know that if there’s a problem, expeditious help is just a click away. Even if they never need IT support, just the awareness they have an option can give them the confidence to carry on.

Increase Productivity

Every business will eventually face some sort of IT issue that impacts productivity; it’s an inevitability. Remote IT service provides an instant response in these crisis periods.

Remote IT support resolves issues quickly so operations can continue with minimal disruption, eliminating the need for an employee to wait for a technician or third-party agency to come on-location. Providing these services helps businesses decrease downtime and focus on essential tasks, thus boosting productivity.

Faster and Easier Tech Resolution

ZenDesk reports that the average internal service desk receives 492 tickets per month, with an average response time of 24.2 hours. Virtual support helps trim that wait time down to mere minutes.

Remote IT support makes a natural fit for the 24/7 support model. Users are unbound from standard business hours and can get the help they need immediately. And instead of relying on the user to verbally relay what is on their screen, the technician can see the problem firsthand and get right to work.

Cost-Efficiency

Running a traditional IT support team costs a lot of money. Salaries, benefits, office space, utilities—these are just a handful of the expenses. Then there’s the cost of lost productivity with every IT crisis. Remote IT support helps slash these expenses, yielding savings that you can redirect to other operational areas.

Challenges Posed By Implementing Remote IT Support

The benefits of remote IT support are obvious. However, like implementing any new tool or strategy, making the jump effectively comes with its own hidden challenges. What concerns and potential snags should stay top of mind as you consider remote support solutions?

Difficulties Optimizing Your Support Strategy

Plugging a new support process into an already-established environment presents a number of potential hurdles. Most companies juggle myriad processes and workflows every day. What burden might you place on your employees when you add a new one without justification?

Employees may resent having to learn yet another process and resist using it. Some may get on board, but with minimal engagement. Still, others might attempt the process, but find it confusing and difficult to follow. When this happens, the systems that were deployed to help end up being more of a nuisance. This is why it’s critical to map out a clear and detailed onboarding strategy for any new support tool you adopt.

Management Buy-In

Many organizations are still warming up to the work-from-home culture. They are unfamiliar with the tools and processes needed for virtual support, and many stubbornly insist that the traditional way of doing things will suffice.

Support and enthusiasm for new policies in the workplace have a trickle-down effect: if management is excited about a new tool, they will actively gin up support among employees for it. Conversely, if they are ambivalent, why would an employee care?

Winning this buy-in takes time, especially in larger companies with more complex structures and processes. But it’s critically important to win over management and prove how useful the new tool will be. The sooner you get this support, the smoother your transition will run.

Client-Side Connectivity Issues

One unfortunate side-effect of employees working from home is that there is no performance guarantee for any of the apps they use. They are at the mercy of their internet connection to determine how fast or slow things work. An employee’s internet connection can quickly create a bottleneck in a process already fraught with frustration.

There’s no easy solution here. Home network devices are beyond an organization’s control. One of the easiest and most obvious solutions is giving employees internet subsidies to upgrade their connection speeds. Companies like Twitter and Facebook have already taken this approach. But whatever strategy you choose, ultimately you are going to have to find a way to ensure each employee’s internet meets acceptable standards for work.

Unrealistic Resolution Timeline Expectations

Remote IT support is touted as “immediate” access to help. However, employees often take the word a bit too literally. Many assume that just because they have instant access to help, they’ll get an immediate fix. While that may be the case in most instances, sometimes it isn’t. But when those (unrealistic) expectations aren’t met, employees may unfairly judge the process as inadequate.

Education is key to addressing this issue. Given it is a new technology and a new process, employees may not fully understand how things work. While they may think of it as the silver bullet to all their problems, IT sees things differently. Their goal is simply to make the process more efficient.

In short, you must establish clear, sensible expectations for resolution times. Once users understand, they will be better prepared to handle situations where the resolution they need may take a bit longer than normal.

Security and Privacy: BYOD

In the office, IT has total control over WiFi security, encryption, and device security. With employees working from home, these things are left up to individual users. As Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives become more popular, more and more employees use their personal computers for work—which only complicates matters further.

Most employees don’t know how to implement adequate security measures for their equipment. Without proper measures in place, you’re at risk from hackers with easy access to the network on these devices.

  • Unsecured Computers: Employees share a lot of company data each day. From proprietary data to sensitive customer information, there’s a lot at risk! Sending all this data between computers unencrypted increases the risk for “man-in-the-middle” attacks.
  • Smartphones: Beyond computers, there’s also the issue of the personal smartphones employees use for work. These devices also lack security measures to protect company data.
  • Printers: Perhaps the most surprising item on this list is the personal printer. Many of these printers have WiFi features—which, while convenient for home use, also makes them an ideal entry point for hackers.

Security and Privacy: Home WiFi

How often do you change your default WiFi password at home? Many people assume because it's their home network, everything will be fine. But they forget—or don’t know—that the initial password for these devices is just a standard password used for any router. As a result, anyone with access to the WiFi connection can tap into the network.

One of the best ways to combat this issue is encouraging the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when working. Have employees use the VPN exclusively to log in, as it provides a secure direct connection to the corporate network.

Employee Fears

The thought of giving someone control over their keyboard and mouse might understandably make employees hesitant about the technology. They’ll be suspicious of letting someone take over their computer and locking them out. Others may be concerned because they work with sensitive information that isn't meant to be shared. They’ll want assurance that the information they work with won’t land in the wrong hands.

Those working on a BYOD model are especially wary of remote IT support. Their personal devices contain personal information that they don’t want exposed. These concerns are more than understandable—but if employees are uncomfortable, they may hesitate to seek help. This ultimately could lead to more issues as problems pile up because users are afraid to contact the help desk.

Take this opportunity to educate employees on the security measures the tool offers. Give them whatever information they need to feel safe—email literature, store it in a knowledge base, or post it as FAQs on the intranet. That way you show employees that you are aware of their concerns and are taking measures to reassure them.

 

A Success Story for a Major ITSM Tech Company

ServiceNow, a leader in the IT Service Management space, found themselves facing productivity issues when supporting their 19,000 employees globally, and needed to replace their legacy solution which the 150 IT Help Desk agents rarely used. After much research, they decided to implement the cloud based Remote Support solution which is seamlessly integrated with ServiceNow ITSM from ScreenMeet

The results were astounding and include:

  • A 32% increase in first contact resolution
  • A decrease in average case handling time by more than 50%
  • An increase in employee productivity
  • And a ROI within just a few months

Read the case study here, and watch this short excerpt from the ServiceNow Employee Experience Innovation Manager, Liran Daniel. 

HubSpot Video

 

Level Up Your Remote IT Support With ScreenMeet

As remote and hybrid work only become more and more popular, businesses have to pivot the tools they use in order to better accommodate the model’s needs. This includes IT support—gone are the days when one could just call up someone from the next office over. Thankfully, remote IT support tools like ScreenMeet can deliver a handy solution.

ScreenMeet is a collaborative screen sharing tool that will enhance your remote IT solutions to meet the modern moment. With video calling, screen sharing, and remote desktop features all rolled into one package, ScreenMeet addresses all your support needs at once. Technicians can hop right into users’ devices and solve the problem in the moment—no laborious back-and-forth needed. And the cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model provides top-notch security and allows you to scale services according to your needs.

Are you ready to cut costs while leveling up your IT support? Reach out to ScreenMeet and see how remote screen sharing options can make your IT team more efficient today.

Watch the Brief Video of ServiceNow's  Experience with ScreenMeet

Interested in the full 30 minute on-demand session? You can access it here.

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