5 Top tips for providing effective IT support

1. Evaluate how you currently work

Ask yourselves “is this the simplest we will do?” Are you continue to working with outdated or legacy processes? Have you been working a particular way thanks to the restrictions of the tools available? Are there small changes you'll make to enhance the support you offer your customers Don’t reinvent the wheel – there are already best practice guidelines you'll follow, like ITIL. The world of IT changes every day; don’t get left behind.

2. Utilise Self-Service

Implementing Self-Service won't only save your analysts time, by reducing the number of incoming calls, it'll mean they need longer to repair incidents, improving your SLA and customer service.

Out-of-hours help and support are often provided through a dynamic knowledge domain that provides your customer with the tools to resolve their own incidents

3. Reward and recognize

Apply gamification techniques to reward and challenge your staff to supply great support in the least times. You can drive and motivate your support staff in a more engaging manner by providing rewards for exceptional effort and challenges for agents to compete among themselves. Happy staff means happy customers.

4. Social media

Allowing customers a choice of platforms to contact you on enables you to supply a more responsive service. Tracking hashtags or keywords like name allows your organization to be more proactive in both customer incidents and customer feedback.

5. Growth of support

Look at other departments within your organization, like Facilities, Health & Safety, and HR, and review how you'll offer one effective support solution to the organization. This will not only reduce overall costs but also reduce duplication and improve the visibility of the support needs of your organization.

Why does one get to be digitally ready?

Small businesses are crucial to the worldwide economy, however, it is often difficult to grow and achieve today’s competitive markets. In fact, a study conducted last year found that over half of small businesses within the UK fail to survive longer than five years. There are tons of challenges that will inhibit their success; obvious ones, like gaining new customers, managing increasing costs, or securing repeat business, also as weird ones, like gaining access to the skill pool or having the experience to elevate a thought into an achievable business goal.

How small businesses manage increasingly complex processes they face is vital to business growth. Many don’t realize the impact that counting on inefficient processes, which makes them slow to react and susceptible to human error, can wear the rock bottom line. for instance, the lack to access documents remotely or from a mobile device, fragmented information silos, or uncontrolled paper trails, are all very big problems during a world where people expect immediate access to information wherever they're . Businesses are subsequently turning to incorporate digitization, the cloud, and multi-channel communications, all of which, when managed correctly, can provide long-term benefits.

Investing in digital

It’s fair to mention that today’s businesses are operating during a world where digital technology is increasingly expected. Take communications, for instance. While physical mail remains a crucial channel to speak with customers, the last decade has undoubtedly seen a shift towards more digital channels. More and more customers are choosing to be contacted via email, social media, and everything in between, and it’s crucial that companies have a well-managed, multi-channel communication strategy in situ that considers their customers’ preferences. Failing to try to to this risks alienating an outsized number of consumers and, subsequently, lost business.

Aside from customer demand, digital technology offers companies very real business-growing benefits. one of the most important is that it can provide a way more direct route to the intended recipient. Indeed, data communication can reach their destination instantly. The speed with which customer queries are resolved or invoices and contracts are sent are often the difference in securing repeat business and prompt payment, or losing bent a competitor.

Going digital also increases the accuracy and reliability of communications”

Going digital also increases the accuracy and reliability of communications. The processing, preparation, and sending of documents can all be automated, removing the chance for human error. Moreover, removing manual processes also decreases the burden on employees, who are then ready to spend their time on other vital business growing activities. 

Cloud technology

The cloud, especially, has the facility to simplify the way businesses run their business. While investing in the cloud could seem daunting, it provides very real benefits. It grants access to enterprise applications at a fraction of the worth and mostly without the necessity for any costly and time consuming IT services. Additionally, it lifts geographical constraints and improves efficiency. for instance, documents are often saved remotely and securely making them accessible from anywhere with an online connection. By failing to adopt cloud-based technology, organizations will undoubtedly find themselves one step behind everyone else.

The cloud is additionally useful when it involves archiving. Firstly, archiving within the cloud is less expensive. Paper records soon fill cardboard boxes and filing cabinets, which are then banished to the basement or the corner of the office. This takes up valuable space that's being purchased and will be better utilized elsewhere. Furthermore, by removing the necessity for physical onsite space for storing it enables businesses to only buy the storage capacity needed, providing greater pricing flexibility.

With the archiving key to remaining compliant with government regulations, the cloud makes it easier for businesses by passing tons of the wants and responsibilities to the Cloud Service Provider (CSP). this is often particularly useful for smaller companies who don’t always have the time or resources to form sure they're adhering to today’s stringent regulations. for instance, the regulations require businesses to possess a particular level of record security, a price which is picked up by them if records are physically stored onsite. With the cloud, however, security is a component of the CSP package, thus ensuring compliance with none additional actions needed.

Digital and cloud technology is playing a crucial role in helping businesses overcome a number of the normal barriers to growth. Faced with strong competition, many new or small businesses face an extended, hard battle to determine themselves, which is why it’s so important that they need the foremost efficient processes in situ. Being ‘digital ready’ are some things all companies got to be brooding about – consistent with Gartner, all businesses will soon be digital businesses. By taking this step and implementing digital and cloud technology, businesses can reap the rewards of an efficient, streamlined communication strategy and be within the best position possible to beat the chances and 

Lifting the cloud on shadow IT

The cloud is streamlining operations for businesses of all sizes. It offers on-demand, distributed access to the knowledge and services that companies believe, fuelling new business models, increasing efficiency, and thus helping companies generate extra revenue. When used for file sync and share purposes, the cloud greatly improves the way during which lines of business operate, supporting instant collaboration between staff, and enabling sharing with customers.

Despite these benefits, business cloud adoption is usually behind where employees would really like it to be. As a result, employees find themselves turning to shadow IT – unsanctioned consumer IT solutions that undermine the safety and control of businesses’ IT departments.

Shadow IT usage in businesses

How businesses store and share information is one of the most important headaches for CIOs and IT departments and may cause serious security and compliance issues. If staff store and share corporate information using shadow IT services, there's an increased probability of security breaches. this is often because businesses lose visibility of who has access to certain files, which suggests they're unable to regulate their content.

However, the proliferation of shadow IT into the enterprise is essentially the result of business users trying to seek out the simplest thanks to doing their jobs. CIOs got to protect their companies from potential negative impacts, and enable staff to work at maximum efficiency whilst using the simplest technology to try to so. The challenge is striking a balance between empowering staff to be autonomous and efficient and ensuring the corporate remains secure.

CIOs got to protect their companies

The integrity and privacy of a business’ information require a secure, end-to-end cloud solution. Overlooking the safety architecture of the chosen solution can cause a corporation to incur significant costs – not just in financial terms, except for a company’s brand, reputation, and growth capacity.

A five-pronged security strategy

To satisfy the individual user and business as an entire, IT must introduce cloud agility combined with the safety of on-premises storage. this could be underpinned by a five-pronged security strategy that targets the safety of users, devices, networks, data centers, and content. This helps IT monitor the behavior of its whole business to assist reduce rogue applications and risky file-sharing behaviours.

Furthermore, because a business needs file sync and share services to stay up with demands and competitive pressures, it's important to deploy an answer which will adapt to changing security and compliance criteria quickly and simply. A pure-cloud (cloud only) file-sharing solution is restricted to one environment that's not flexible enough to adapt to evolving regulations and different security needs. A hybrid solution, where businesses can choose whether their data resides during a public cloud, data center, or on-premises, enables businesses to be adaptive and store their data within the most appropriate manner. Recent changes to the US-EU Safe Harbour regulations which determine how businesses from the US and EU must share and keep track of knowledge highlights the need for businesses to possess an adaptive file sharing solution in situ to satisfy the stress of the latest regulations.

Securing your business

IT professionals have a chance to be viewed as a partner to business users vs. a disruptor. To encourage user adoption of cloud file services across the business, IT departments should seek solutions that are easy to use across all devices and may be integrated with popular applications already employed by the business. Understanding how users work will help reduce shadow IT whilst allowing employees to continue using their preferred enterprise applications to securely access the knowledge they have, once they need it, no matter where it's stored. Only then can businesses lift the over-shadowing threat of unsanctioned app usage and its implications thereon security.

The password is passé

The password is dead. It’s time to admit it. After all, 75% of security breaches are right down to weak passwords and security experts have begun to accept that even strong passwords aren’t ok.

Security breaches became a daily news feature. The recent hacks of user accounts at eBay, Ashley Madison, and LinkedIn have highlighted the necessity of safer sorts of authentication. More recently, TalkTalk users were told their data may need been compromised during a cyber attack.

Yet, it appears that, despite these well-publicised attacks, users and repair providers are slow to tackle the difficulty of inadequate password protection head-on. Cyber attacks are easier to manage, and far less likely to occur within the first place when users are prepared.

Most Internet services are often accessed with just a username and password. Email addresses are often used as usernames, making it fairly easy for a hacker to seek out a legitimate login through brute force. The trend for businesses to use standardized email platforms (e.g. Gmail) is merely amplifying security issues. to form this worse, passwords themselves accompany several problems.

Is it a case of user error?

The number of active monthly Facebook users is nearly 1.5 billion. Recent research found that a big share of those users aren’t aware that they're on the web when using Facebook. this is often particularly true of emerging markets, where the figure is often as high as 65 percent. this might be explained, a minimum of partially, by the very fact tons of|that several"> that a lot of of those countries have leapfrogged the fixed-line connections a lot of folks will have grown up with and moved straight to a mobile environment. That said, in the US, the share of these who didn’t know that Facebook depends on the web was still five percent. This shows how the spread of the web across the world has not been amid awareness of how it works, resulting in low levels of IT security awareness. 

Another factor is that folks are still unconvinced that strong, unique passwords are essential to guard data. Unsecure passwords abounding, users are making themselves, and their employers – susceptible to attack. 

users are making themselves, and their employers – susceptible to attack

Strong passwords are often seen as an annoyance and overly complicated. A ten-digit password with a small letter, capital, numeric and special characters is difficult to return up with and even harder to recollect.

And frankly, once we entrust our bank balance to a four-digit pin, it's understandable that a lot of wouldn’t understand why Facebook photos got to be protected with complex passwords.

Put it on a Post-it note

We’re told over and once again that our password shouldn’t be a pet’s name, date of birth, or another easily guessed phrase. IT departments often set requirements for, or maybe generate, secure passwords for company IT services. the matter with these passwords is that they're only as secure because of the way they're transmitted and stored. Passwords are hardly secure if they’re scribbled down on post-it notes and stuck to computer screens.

Slightly better than the pen and paper storage method, although even as far away from secure, is when the generated passwords are emailed unencrypted to the user to be stored on their computer and mobile forever.

Situations like this don’t just happen within the office. When users check in to websites outside of labor, confirmation emails showing the username and password are sometimes emailed to the user, proving the password is stored, unencrypted, by the service provider. 

It’s time for 2FA

What’s clear from all of the above is that passwords alone are not any longer enough to guard data. While PINs might sound sort of a very simple approach to protecting bank accounts, they're actually a way of two-factor authentication (2FA). it's supported the user having both the cardboard and knowing the PIN that goes with it.

2FAhas been around for several years but has mainly been employed by large enterprises due to the value of ‘tokens’ like RSA SecurID. With smartphones becoming more common, however, the value of providing authentication devices is often reduced significantly. 66% of adults within the UK use smartphones, making them an inexpensive and handy medium for 2FA.

By employing a combination of apps and algorithms, we will generate Time-based One-Time Passwords (TOTP) with equivalent security as a physical token. These passwords are often used just one occasion and are only valid for a brief period of your time. they're created employing a constant shared between the client and server, and a variable: time. Smartphone users can download a free app to their phone to get TOTPs for multiple services.

While the amount of individuals with smartphones is growing, 2FA can still be employed by people without one. for instance, text messages are often wont to send just one occasion use codes to users. you'll have experienced this when asked to authenticate your Google account, for instance. 93% of UK adults use a mobile so codes sent via SMS might be employed by the bulk of the population.

What’s next?

It’s clear that traditional passwords are not any match for the subtle tools hackers now have at their disposal. The industry must encourage the migration towards 2FA by explaining the importance of strong authentication. More importantly, it must make 2FA more appealing to users by providing simple, easy tools instead of making people jump through hoops to secure their data.

The industry must encourage the migration towards 2FA

Some companies have already begun to take this step. Some banks, for instance, require 2FA to transfer money or log in to online banking. Several web-based companies have also taken this approach and made it as simple as possible for his or her users to urge to grips with 2FA. Making the method clear and straightforward for non-experts is vital to making sure 2FA is employed.

Two-factor authentication isn't used widely yet, but it’s only a matter of your time before it'll be seen as a must-have, not an optional extra, and become a habit for all folks. After all, there’s no such thing as being overprotected when it involves data.

Then the sole issue that is still is ensuring that those we entrust with our data keep it safe at their end.