IT support in the modern corporation or company has become nothing short of essential, and that means that the decision makers need to understand the various components that make up a solid IT support strategy. Here are 8 basic IT support skills that your company needs to thrive and fully harness the power of IT in business.
General Troubleshooting Skills
The most basic and important IT support skill your company needs is the ability to support and service the needs and requests of your staff. Knowing how to diagnose a computer that isn’t booting up or starting, or why a particular printer won’t release jobs and how to diagnose why, is a valuable skill for your company. IT equipment that isn’t working correctly can be frustrating to your staff and results in lost productivity and time. It’s not always possible to just keep spare equipment in the event of one of these IT equipment failures, so being able to diagnose problems that might arise in the office can be a useful basic IT support skill to have on hand.
Software Licencing Basics
Depending on the size of your company, understanding how to best licence software is something that you should invest some time into, particularly as big software licence agreements can get expensive quite quickly and non-compliance could lead to large fines. While navigating any large software agreement can feel incredibly daunting, knowing some of the basics can leave you in good stead when you’re negotiating the terms of these agreements.
This will also require an overview of your staff profile because most of these agreements will be licenced using the number of staff that will use the software, and further complicated by terms like FTE (or Full Time Equivalent – referring to how many staff you have employed that will use the software full time, and how many will use it part time).
Software Deployment and Management
Along with your software licences, a working understanding of the different methods of deployment and management of this software is useful too. Manually installing software might be viable while you still have only a handful of devices to manage, but automating deployment of software and updating of operating systems will become essential.
As your organisation grows and more staff are employed, the need to effectively manage software grows. Your company should have a strategy for testing new software versions for deployment, as well as limiting the software your staff are installing onto their computers that haven’t been approved.
There is a plethora of software and services available to businesses to streamline and improve work processes and to work collaboratively in an interconnected way. Even if only just to access email and internet, all of the computers and devices in your office will need to be connected together and to the internet.
This is where a basic understanding of networking can be a useful skill. This includes networking basics like physical cabling as well as network management of devices like switches and routers. You’ll likely want to have a WiFi network in place in your company’s building, so wireless networking can be a useful skill too. Networking is one of the more complex basic IT support skills that you’ll probably need to use often, and particularly during your company’s growth phase where employing IT staff isn’t viable, outsourcing your IT support might be a good option. If you’re looking for IT Support Kent, then Impreza IT can provide valuable and fast support for any IT support needs. They pride themselves on speed and efficiency, so they’re a company worth looking into.
An Understanding Cloud Computing
Gone are the days where companies require power hungry, expensive and loud servers and IT infrastructure on their premises to support their IT needs. These days, most of the heavy lifting for business applications and needs is done in the cloud by specialised providers who are able to provide these services at scale and for a fraction of the cost. Instead of running an email server like Microsoft Exchange in your building for example, you can take advantage of Microsoft’s Office 365 platform which provides a full Active Directory integrated Exchange email platform in the cloud, and often with huge cost saving benefits.
Thanks to the lack of owned hardware, you don’t need to budget for upgrades and replacements either, and if you need to scale up these cloud provided solutions, it can be done at the press of a button without further capital expense or complications. Cloud computing has revolutionised business IT and embracing it can be hugely beneficial to your business.
Cybersecurity is one of the hottest buzzwords in IT support and corporate IT departments at the moment, and for good reason. The threat that bad actors play against a corporation or individual through the theft of information is enormous. While cybersecurity implementations might require the help of a skilled individual, knowing and being able to identify the risks is a big part of proper governance of your IT assets as a business. Familiarise yourself with terms like phishing, malware, ransomware and penetration testing and make sure your staff do too.
It isn’t only the electronic assets that need protection either, as most hackers will start with a technique called social engineering, which involves the manipulation of your staff into parting with information that can be used to gain access to your IT infrastructure or physical location for nefarious means. Training your staff on proper data and information security is the first line of defence.
Website Hosting and Design
Your business can end up being invisible if it doesn’t have an online presence. Your potential clients or customers won’t look up your number in a phone book anymore because they’ll simply turn to the internet to find your website and contact details. Making sure all this information and your business products and services is available online is crucial. If your company is a retail operation, you’ll likely want to offer online purchasing and shipping too.
Having not only a solid website hosting provider and well-designed website, but active and maintained social media profiles is critical too. These profiles give you a way to directly and publicly interact with your business customers, which can demonstrate your service levels and commitment to your customers.
IT Service Management
There are many frameworks available for proper and managed IT governance within your organisation, the biggest and most widely used of which is ITIL. Supporting this IT governance and in turn your users – whether internal staff or customers – is another very important skill to have as a business. It starts with good incident management software and is made successful by rugged and comprehensive protocols and operating procedures. IT service management is a catch all term for end-to-end management of your IT assets and offerings and their interaction with non-IT staff. IT service management and its correct implementation forms the basis of any good IT strategy.
Understanding each spoke of the IT support wheel and what the benefits of allocating time and resources to each are is part of good corporate governance. In the connected 21st century, a focus on strong IT skills and support and leveraging the benefits of what it can do for your company and ultimately your profits is essential.