What kind of support should come with computers for a small business?
No matter how high-end your office computer, just like a new car, it will not continue to run like new without appropriate protection and maintenance.
This popular question is easily answered if we break it down into two parts.
Part 1: What support needs do business computers have?
Part 2: What are the solutions to these support needs?
Most of these solutions do not come with the purchase of a new computer, however. They are deployed by either tech-savvy in-house IT gurus (for larger-sized small businesses) or by outsourced IT companies that manage multiple small businesses. We at QuickFix are one of these outsourced IT companies, and we have seen many examples of the below plan implemented exceptionally well but also amazingly poorly!
There are 2 main security items that all business workstations need at a minimum.
Monitored antivirus software is critical since many attacks can successfully lobotomize off-the-shelf antivirus software, and the user has no clue that it’s been effectively disabled. The antivirus icon still shows on the computer, but it’s doing nothing. If your tech team monitors your antivirus software, then they will see that it’s not scanning or reporting back to the monitoring system and will take action. We’ve seen companies use hacked business computers for many months with no clue that they were compromised.
Good content filtering is like “secret sauce” for your company’s IT team. A content filter will block more than 99% of all bad websites and malware delivery servers that are out there. This means that the ability for malware to even be deployed on a user’s computer and then an attacker to be able to gain access to the malware is severely limited. Also, a good content filter will do updates daily or even hourly with new lists of blocked websites and servers.
Out-of-date software is not only a security risk, but it also introduces glitches and potential usability issues. No user will check for out-of-date software or broken windows updates every day. The solution:
Monitored patch management is a powerful thing for a company. This ensures that (a) your business workstations are getting the security patches they need to reduce your chances of getting hacked. It also means that (b) your programs are getting patched for glitchy behavior. This reduces user issues and helps them stay productive. Finally, (c) patch management means that when an important update or patch fails to install properly, your IT team is alerted and can proactively fix this loophole before it becomes a problem.
All computers will have glitches from time to time. Just like a car may get a flat tire or develop a hose leak. Advanced knowledge of these issues allows for timely, inexpensive, or free repairs v/s costly “computer-down” resurrections.
Your computer’s event logs store all sorts of diagnostic information on hardware and software failures. Monitoring event logs keeps your tech team informed on issues. This sounds impossible to monitor logs on hundreds or thousands of computers, but it isn’t at all. Current tools that managed service providers (MSPs) have access to will parse through millions of log entries automatically and alert an actual person when it finds a bad one.
Your tech company can handle problem remediation not only with a tech guy but also with scripting. Some errors need an engineer’s eyes immediately. For instance, we have called many clients and said,
“Your hard drive is about to die… let’s make sure you are prepared for this or go ahead and swap it out with a new hard drive now!”
For widespread issues that have a small impact if fixed early on, MSPs can script out fixes that will automatically repair the problem!
Not having event log monitoring is like never changing the oil in your car’s engine and hoping for the best.
Most businesses must adhere to some form of compliance. If you accept credit card payments, then you must deal with PCI compliance, at least. Many business types have much more complex compliance to deal with just one compliance type though.
If your industry has compliance needs, then you need a compliance plan of action. This is a whole separate topic, so I can’t dive into what’s required for this right here. Just make sure to bring up compliance with your trusted tech advisor and get a plan in place.
Once you have a plan, you will then need to run a compliance audit to see what must be in place or is already set up on each workstation. Many items that are required for PCI (if you take credit cards), HIPAA (if you work with medical records), Gramm-Leach-Bliley (if you are involved in financial services or tax things), and others, are completed by the security and updates section above. However, you also MAY need to address the items below:
You will need to talk to your tech team to see what, if any, compliance needs you need to address.
User help and issue troubleshooting
From time-to-time, users need help, or their workstation will break. Even the most well-maintained computer can have issues. Just like a new car can snag a nail and get a flat tire. When this happens, you want efficient, loving support!
If a user doesn’t know the right path to request help, they may spend hours wasting time. Putting a how-to for getting support on each computer or by giving it to each user, they should be able to help themselves. For instance, we still have a few users that will email me directly instead of emailing our support address to request help. Since I sometimes don’t get to my email for days, they end up getting a slow-fix instead of a QuickFix! It is not just your job, but also your tech team’s job to help educate users on how to get efficient help.
Finally, when your team does get an engineer on the phone, you want to know that a good support team backs them up. Choose your company’s outsourced support wisely. They should be an MSP, or even better, an MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider). QuickFix has partnered with Corvid Cyberdefense to offer the Department of Defense level MSSP services to our clients. It is also good to talk to other businesses to see if they like their IT provider and to read online reviews. Often, tech companies that offer poor service will reflect this with very few or very poor reviews.
So, what kind of support should come with computers for businesses?
None. Get your business computer protected with the right tools and services, as listed above, using a quality outsourced IT department or your own quality in-house team, and your business will run efficiently and quietly. All of this will allow you to sit back and smile when you think of your technology.
As a managed services provider, our primary job is to be proactive. We monitor, backup, update, and protect.
We love taking care of our clients, and can help you take care of yours, too! QuickFix offers a robust reseller program!
76% of all malware attacks happen through Email. Not only is our email safe, but it’ll also be your work-horse.
We keep workstations running quickly and safely so that you and your team can focus on working instead of fixing.
Having a reliable, fast, secure network is like having a safe, fast, and secure ambulance. There should never be another way.
Our in-house web team provides white glove web maintenance, construction, and design.