IT support refers to various services that organizations offer to clients of different technology products or services such as telecommunication companies, internet service providers, software and hardware manufactures, email service providers and others. In essence, IT support offers help to clients in terms of certain issues with a specific product or service, instead of offering training, modification or provision of the said product, or any other technical support services. To be more precise, IT support is actually provided by means of different types of service providers who work together with IT specialists and PC support professionals to resolve issues. There are also third-party vendors who specialize in assisting organizations to implement IT support solutions to enhance product or software performance and reduce their IT costs.
In short, IT support is not only about software applications. In fact, it includes not just software applications alone but also hardware components like motherboards, processors, hard drives, keyboards and monitors. Therefore, it requires an in-depth knowledge of the specific hardware and software used in a computer system. To gain this knowledge, specialists need to be specialized, as all IT support specialists are bound by a code of ethics, which stipulates that they should only deploy solutions from approved software vendors, or those with at least a year of experience in deploying such software applications. It further stipulates that they should only use components from reputable manufacturers and that they should conduct regular audits of their client’s hardware and software applications to ensure compliance with the security and quality guidelines.
The second requirement is that IT support specialists should possess the technical skills to provide effective assistance to their client’s end users. For example, an IT specialist could use their knowledge of operating systems to troubleshoot a slow running computer, whereas a PC support specialist could troubleshoot the issue on the hardware side. This helps clients in cases where they need their computers fixed but can’t find the time to visit a computer repair center for assistance. Therefore, in many cases, IT support specialists are the ones who find the clients in need of their expertise.
Thirdly, IT support specialists should have the knowledge and skills to carry out troubleshooting tasks. For this, they should possess a detailed knowledge of their computer system, including hardware components, operating systems, networking protocols, security protocols, firmware, drivers, etc., as well as the various technical issues that can occur in them. Furthermore, they must also possess information technology skills to troubleshoot network problems and resolve connection issues. The information technology field has become increasingly competitive these days and therefore, professionals are required who have both the technical skills to resolve issues and the interpersonal skills to deal with possible customers.
Fourthly, IT support specialists need to know how to use a particular piece of hardware. For example, if a PC support specialist is dealing with a PC repair issue, he will most likely need to be familiar with the manufacturer’s documentation and the specific details of the problem. He should also be able to install the specific piece of hardware that is causing the problem in order to repair it properly. In fact, IT support specialists are even required to follow a specific procedure in installing hardware because of the risk of causing more damage to the system by using the wrong tools.
Fifthly, IT support specialists should possess the skill to identify hardware malfunction and then work on it. This means that he should not just be able to repair or fix the hardware himself but should also be capable of re-modifying the device driver to resolve its problems. This will help him to solve specific technical issues that arise in his IT support responsibilities. On the other hand, when troubleshooting a PC, the support professional might need to be familiar with certain device driver software programs such as Direct MS Word drivers and System Tools. Such software programs will allow him to extract specific information from a driver package to use in solving issues.
On top of this, IT support professionals are also required to have solid knowledge about the different levels of technical support available. There are different types of support which they can apply to a customer like tier one support which is usually meant for basic computer issues while additional tiers of support are available depending upon the severity of the problem. At the highest level of service, you can find support which is commonly referred to as troubleshoot and fix services where your IT support company will help you troubleshoot your PC and resolve the issues found. At the other end of the spectrum, there are third party technicians who can also provide technical support to businesses.
The IT support specialists have to be well versed with at least some computer basic and operational skills as well. One of the basic skills that are required by all IT support specialists is the ability to use Windows Explorer in performing queries about hardware and software installations. Moreover, it is also important for these IT support specialists to understand certain computer processes such as disk defragmenting, backup data management and processing. More importantly, you should also hire a technical specialist who can give reliable advice especially if the issue at hand requires advanced knowledge on Microsoft products or a server running Microsoft Windows. On the other hand, a computer expert can also help troubleshoot network related issues such as dealing with Active Directory, KerbNet and WAN. In order to resolve hardware problems, you can also call upon computer experts who can troubleshoot memory and hard drive issues such as memory bleeds, hard drive failure, disk errors and physical processor problems.