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Almost every company needs an IT system and a strategy to manage the network, so it works properly at all times. IT support is not just for things that might go wrong, such as hardware and software issues, or the ever-present threats of cyber-attacks, but to help develop the system and make it better. Technology, after all, is constantly evolving, and businesses that don't adopt and implement changes and new procedures can find themselves left behind.
In devising a strategy to manage your network, what should it be: proactive or reactive IT support — whether you're running an in-house system or have IT support from a specialist firm? How do you know what’s best for your firm and your clients and customers? Let's take a look.
Proactive and Reactive IT Support
When something goes wrong with an IT system, you need help, and immediately. Otherwise, your business might grind to a halt, as you can no longer send emails, take online orders or keep your website online. You either need to pick up the phone, email or live chat with your IT support team and get the help you need to fix the problem. They're reacting to your urgent need for assistance, which is why this is known as reactive support.
Proactive support, on the other hand, involves working to identify issues before they have the chance to cause problems that lead to costly disruption. It could be working to ensure there are no compatibility issues with software that could make a system crash. Or it might involve examining hard drives to ensure there aren't any faults or potential problems. Proactive support also monitors a network for areas of weakness that hackers might be able to exploit and gain entry, thereby putting your valuable data at risk.
Essentially, proactive IT support is designed to keep a network running smoothly and cutting down or even eliminating the possibility of downtime or the system going offline. That doesn't mean you might never need reactive support if your team is working on a proactive basis because things can and still might go haywire and you need immediate assistance.
Pros and Cons of Proactive and Reactive IT Support
Every company wants to maintain its IT system at an optimal level. It wants to stay online and avoid attacks that could be expensive in terms of business lost, fines for breaching data protection laws and damage to its reputation that could be difficult to repair. This is why more firms are choosing to go down the proactive IT support route. It's a bit like having regular checkups at the doctor to spot any potential problems before they have a chance to develop into something serious.
Forstalling problems is one of the main advantages of proactive over reactive IT support. Carried out properly, it can help to ensure less reactive IT support time is needed — because any threats are dealt with before they can arise. Proactive support may be more expensive than reactive, however, as you need more technical people working on a system, but in the long run, it's sure to pay off.
A major benefit of reactive IT support is that it's really the only way to fix something that happens instantly — to help with a new problem you don't know how to fix. Customers and clients generally like to know they have help at hand, in the form of a phone call to an IT help desk, should their network encounter problems. It gives peace of mind in a digital world where there are always problems needing resolution — and experts to deal with them.
Proactive support can be delivered with a range of online information, resources and tools — such as knowledge bases, FAQs, videos, guides, tutorials and more. So, it can dramatically slash the need to call up an IT help desk, saving time and effort on both sides. Now, instead of spending lots of time on the phone and being walked through a problem, you can find the answer online and in a flash.
So which is better for you: proactive or reactive support? The answer most likely lies with a lot of the former and a little of the latter, when needed.