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IT Help Desk Problems and Solutions

Though growth is a great thing for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), it also presents new challenges for their in-house IT help desk.

With the growth in revenue, you get a rise in the number of employees, offices, devices in the network (plus a more stressed network), and a plethora of other issues.

However, with just a team of two — maybe three or four — IT people on the payroll, dealing with a large number of problems is increasingly unrealistic. In this blog post, we examine why this is the case and, in turn, provide tips as to how your SMB can solve this problem.

Understanding The Most Common IT Help Desk Problems and Solutions

What are the Most Common IT Help Desk Problems?

In our experience, the most common IT help desk problems typically sit in one of these areas:

User-Induced Problems

Be it the inability to login to a device or application or accidentally deleting files on the hard drive, end user-induced problems are frequently occurring IT help desk issues.

In most of these situations, the root cause is usually the lack of end-user training for using the device or application in question. It could also be a lack of internal processes, such as the lack of policy for governing the use of the web at the office.

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Because of these gaps, you will have staff who will visit websites with malware downloads in order to stream the NBA Playoffs for free, or click attachments from phishing emails.

In any case, as the number of employees at your company grows, these individual issues will eat up the time and focus of your IT help desk. In turn, it will take your help desk longer to get through these issues, which will slow your workforce and your operations.

Network & Shared Device Problems

Next, IT help desk tickets often include requests to fix the Wi-Fi, printers, and other shared or common devices in the office. A down network or printer could bottleneck your operations, so solving them is usually an urgent issue for IT help desks.

network and shared devices

(Source: DepositPhotos)

Application Issues

Be it traditional productivity applications such as MS Excel, or web-based software as a service (SaaS) platforms, like JIRA; users will forward error messages, login problems, and other issues to tech support as well.

Virus Remediation

Generally a result of downloading malware through unapproved web browsing or from phishing emails, virus remediation is also a major task for IT help desks. In some cases, the IT team will only discover the virus after basic troubleshooting, i.e., the employee who brought the device in (complaining about computer problems) didn’t know about the virus.

Missing Files

Be it a result of a cyber breach or an employee error (or both), IT help desks will also receive complaints about missing files.

Disaster Recovery

Finally, a critical error or cyber breach could completely compromise your IT system and drive your business operations to a halt. In such situations, you’ll likely call on your IT help desk for support in restoring the system, including your applications and data.

How Do These IT Problems Affect Businesses?

As noted earlier, IT problems of this nature will drive your operations to a halt.

For example, a down network will prevent your employees from accessing SaaS apps such as CRM or client management portal. In turn, this could hamper your ability to communicate with clients, and as a result, harm your bottom line.

Thus, in general, unaddressed IT problems can harm your revenue, lower customer and client satisfaction rates, and slow employee productivity.

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Key IT Help Desk Troubleshooting Steps

Your business has growing IT problems, and limited IT staff to solve them. So, how can you go about dealing with your IT problems? From our experience, these two solutions work best:

Build Your Knowledge Base

First, build your company’s knowledge base. Your employees should have access to how-to and other training documents for your applications, hardware, and other IT systems.

Basically, if they run into a problem, they should have a route for troubleshooting and correcting it themselves before going to IT. For example, in the case of a laptop with Wi-Fi issues, perhaps a step-by-step guide showing the user how to turn the Wi-Fi on-and-off, remove the network and then re-enter it, etc., may help. You could fix many basic issues before needing an IT help desk.

You can also train your employees on cyber security best practices, e.g., recognizing phishing or spear-phishing emails, and properly escalating them to your IT security team (instead of just clicking on the links or attachments). This way, you can prevent many issues from occurring.

Outsource Your IT Help Desk Needs to an MSP

At some point, you must acknowledge that your in-house IT help desk has its limits — and that investing in its growth wouldn’t be a good use of resources.

Today, businesses with fewer than 100 employees spend 68% of their IT budgets on just their hardware and software — there isn’t much room for additional IT labor spending. Despite that, SMB IT challenges are growing in scope and complexity, requiring better IT teams.

However, expanding your in-house IT team is costly and risky (especially as your experienced IT people leave for higher-income opportunities). Keeping your IT team as-is will mean missing key competencies, especially in complex and specialized domains like cyber security.

Because it’s complex and constantly evolving, cyber security requires dedicated expertise — and that isn’t often available or accessible to SMBs. A cyber security analyst can get a starting wage of nearly $70,000 per year — which will climb rapidly with experience. An untrained IT admin will come for less, but they will know nothing about true IT security.

If you compound this with the need of also having a cloud hosting expert and other specialized IT professionals, your payroll will become unsustainable.

For Information on How to Control Your IT Costs While Making Your IT More Efficient & Secure:

But if you work with a managed IT services provider (MSP), you can draw on all of that expertise without supporting the payroll. Instead, you only pay for the specific services you need with a flat rate operational expense (OPEX) fee.

Your MSP will both help you make the right technology decisions — such as selecting the cloud platform that works for your needs — as well as configure and maintain it for you. You can then dedicate your in-house IT spending to generating revenue, such as software development.

Overall, the key is selecting the MSP that works best for your needs. In other words, does the MSP understand your industry? Are they familiar with the tools and platforms you need to use to drive your business operations? And so on.

At Power Consulting, we help SMBs route more of their IT spending towards generating revenue than catching-up on growing day-to-day IT problems. Call us today to put your company on the track towards growth and higher profitability.