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7 Things You Should do Before You Contact IT Support

Something’s wrong with your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. It’s not an uncommon situation, with one study finding that the average employee loses a lot of time to IT-related issues. Whether it’s a mysterious error message, an intermittent blue screen, or routine freezing and hanging, the first instinct is to pick up the phone and call your IT support desk.

That is, of course, the right thing to do. Your IT help desk has the knowledge and skills to help resolve almost any IT-related issue… but before you make that call, there are some things you may wish to try that could help instantly resolve your problem, and which will, in any event, make the process of getting help for your problem faster and smoother.

Try basic troubleshooting

For many tech-related problems, there are a few steps you can take yourself that will resolve the vast majority of problems. Let’s start with one you’ve probably already heard of: turn your computer off and turn it back on again. It may sound basic, but it really does resolve a lot of problems – by some estimates more than half of reported IT-related issues can be resolved in this way.

If, on the other hand, a piece of hardware doesn’t seem to be working as it should (or if your computer appears completely unresponsive) it’s worth making sure it’s plugged in correctly. Ensure that it hasn’t been unplugged since last you used it and that all cables are firmly in place.

2

Run a Google search

For minor issues, a quick Google search can often work wonders. Some problems arise because you may accidentally have changed a setting or moved a vital file. A Google search for a description of your problem or any error message you’ve received can help resolve the problem instantly.

While this is a great solution to some problems, unless you’re able to find a simple and well-explained fix that you can fully understand, it’s still worth contacting IT support – it’s their job to monitor issues and maintain the health and efficiency of devices in your workplace. A Google search is only an appropriate way to tackle relatively minor errors.

3

Run a virus scan

Your computer should be equipped with anti-virus software. If you’re still able to, it’s a good idea to run a full scan of your system. You should have regular scans scheduled as part of routine maintenance, but running a scan when you encounter a problem can catch anything that has struck in the hours since the last scan.

Some anti-virus software will be able to quarantine and remove threats on its own. If it can’t, IT services will nonetheless find the information and logs it’s able to provide useful in neutralizing the threat.

4

Save error messages

By this point in the list you’ve run through some basic troubleshooting measures and your problem still hasn’t been resolved. It’s time to put in a call to your IT help desk. Before you do, however, there’s some information you can gather to help get your issue resolved quickly, and get back on track as soon as possible.

If you get an error message, for example, make a note of exactly what it says. Although it may sound like nonsense to you, many error messages contain a lot of information which an IT professional can use to help diagnose a problem.

5

Make a note of what happened

While your memory is still fresh, try to map out what lead to the issue. Were you updating something? Were you using a particular piece of software? Did you notice anything strange in the hours leading up to the issue, such as your device running slowly, or making system noises? The more information you’re able to provide, the easier it’ll be for the IT helpdesk to make a clean and clear diagnosis, and the quicker you’ll get to a solution.

6

Can you recreate the issue?

Does the problem occur on a regular basis? And if so, can you pinpoint what it is that makes it happen? Knowing that a problem occurs when you try to run a certain piece of software, or when you try to shut down your computer, for example, can really help narrow down the field of possible issues, and get you to a prompt solution.

7

What are you working with?

Finally, it’s extremely useful to know what machine, what operating system and what software you’re working with. Some devices have this printed on their casing, or on a sticker, while others will provide it under the heading of “About”. If you’re able to, make a note of this information before placing your call. Knowing how up to date the hardware and software can be instrumental in resolving IT issues.

Conclusion

It’s never fun having to deal with IT problems, but by following these steps you can resolve some simple issues for yourself, and ensure that when you do have to call your IT help desk, they can get you to a solution quickly and easily. With luck, you can be back at work within minutes rather than hours.

4 reasons SMB owners should use managed IT services

As a small business owner, you wear many hats and have a wide range of skills. Unless you’re an IT guru, however, you probably have someone else take care of your IT needs. For many, that means keeping an IT person on staff or paying for hourly help, two less than perfect solutions.

If you’ve thought about managed IT services but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, here are four things that you should consider.

“. . . establishing a strong, strategic partnership with your MSP is essential.” – CIO

1. Cost

Small business owners worry about the cost of everything. You have to in order to keep your business running. Managed IT services may sound expensive but, in reality, they can offer you significant savings.

Businesses that switched from paying an hourly rate for IT to managed services saw their costs drop by up to 50% or more. 13% saw that level of savings, while 46% saw savings by 25% or more. A quick analysis of your expenditures and a consultation with a managed IT services provider (MSP) will reveal how much you can potentially save.

2. Security

Choosing managed IT services leads to better cybersecurity for your data. As you are painfully aware, hackers are growing more skilled at illegally accessing data. In the first three months of 2017, for instance, 950,000 records, including sensitive data, were accessed by outsiders, putting companies and their clients at risk.

By making the shift to a managed IT service provider, your company data will gain the protection of more sophisticated cybersecurity measures, making it less likely your data will be stolen.

“71% of SMBs are not prepared for cybersecurity risks.” – TechRepublic

3. Fast repairs

When your computers go down, your productivity can slow to a crawl or stop entirely. You can end up paying your employees for a day when they can’t get anything accomplished.

The cost of downtime can be monumental when you combine the lack of production and the harm to your reputation. In some instances, a company can lose approximately $84,000 for every hour their system is down. Even a one-person shop can sustain serious financial losses.

Managed IT services providers can immediately begin working on your IT problems. Because your MSP knows your system, they can quickly diagnose and address problems. An MSP can also identify other potential issues that might cause problems in the future.

4. Recovery

If your small business manages its own IT, you know that adequately backing up your system can be challenging. If your system crashes and burns, recovering your data can be costly. In fact, every year, 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States alone. Paying for a recovery attempt can cost approximately $7,500 for a service that may not be successful.

Any kind of data disasters can seriously harm your business. In fact, in the months immediately after a data disaster, 60% of companies go out of business.

Managed IT service providers make sure your data is backed up and easily recoverable. A disaster on-site at your business doesn’t have to cause long-term damage.

“With an MSP . . . you get to bring in the big guns and benefit from the resources and experience of a company focused solely on IT.” – Forbes

Are managed IT services right for you?

Managed IT services make sense for small business owners on a number of fronts. You can improve your bottom line by utilizing affordable, reliable outsourced IT help.

And really, that’s what it’s all about—equipping you to run your business as effectively as possible. If managed IT services help, then it’s worth your time to talk to a few managed IT services providers and see what options are available.