What is Remote IT Support? Definition, Scope, and Tools

Melisa Wrobel May 24, 2023
- 11 min read

In the last few years, remote IT support has become a central part of IT Service Management (ITSM). With the amount of remote work significantly increasing in a wide range of industries over the last years, the need to provide support from and to different locations has become a must.

It also has also become substantial to enterprises as they start getting larger in employees and facilities. In this context, a remote support offering help organizations improve employee productivity and ensure business continuity when managing remote workers or teams throughout different locations and time zones. 

In this article, we will define remote IT support, explore its full scope, and explain some of the tools that can help you properly implement it to have a smooth and well functioning support system running in your organization. Finally we will see how InvGate Service Desk and InvGate Insight provide you with a whole package of capabilities to offer high quality remote IT support to your customers.

So, let’s dive in!

 

 

What is remote IT support?

Remote IT support (also known as remote technical support) enables IT professionals to provide assistance and resolve issues for computer systems and software applications without needing to be physically present on site. It is typically offered through multiple communication channels such as phone, email, chat, and specific remote desktop software. 

In order to work properly, it must give IT agents the necessary permissions to remotely access and troubleshoot a wide range of devices, applications, and systems, including servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and networks. This way, they are able to quickly diagnose and fix issues without having to physically visit the location of the device.

Who needs a remote help desk?

A remote help desk brings important benefits to a large variety of workers and organizations throughout different industries. Buy you may particularly be in need of it if your organization ticks any of the following boxes:

  • Remote or hybrid employees - If your employees aren’t going every day into your facilities, they will most likely need technical support at some point from wherever they are working in order to avoid interrupting their productivity for too long.

  • External staff - External staff present a similar situation, as they commonly visit the facilities only once in a while, that is, if they do it at all.

  • Many facilities - Organizations that have many facilities don't usually have an IT team in every one of them. So, if this is your case, implementing multi-site support will help you attend issues across your different locations.

5 benefits of providing remote IT support

As we have mentioned, remote IT support offers many benefits for organizations, IT professionals and end-users. These are our top five:

  1. Increased efficiency - IT professionals can quickly troubleshoot and resolve issues, without the need to travel to the location of the device or system. This can save time and augment productivity, allowing IT professionals to handle more requests in less time and decreasing the amount of time end-users aren't able to use their devices.

  2. Cost savings - It can optimize the investment in salaries. When agents are able to handle more issues at a time, you don't need as many agents to attend to all end-users. It can also reduce the need for offices for IT teams in every single facility.

  3. Increased flexibility - It enables IT professionals to provide support from anywhere, at any time. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for organizations that have employees working in different time zones or in remote locations.

  4. Improved customer service - End-users will be more satisfied with the support system, as they will receive help more quickly, without needing to wait for an IT professional to arrive on site or to move themselves into the office.

  5. Enhanced security - It allows IT professionals to remotely monitor and manage systems, applications, and networks to identify potential security risks and prevent security breaches before they occur.

4 challenges of providing remote IT support

Although this practice can bring you many benefits, there are also some challenges that agents may encounter and that must be addressed before implementing the new practice:

  1. Technical limitations - IT support relies heavily on technology, which can sometimes fail or be limited in certain situations. For example, if the end-user's internet connection is slow or unstable, it may be difficult for the IT professional to troubleshoot the issue remotely.

  2. Communication barriers - Without face-to face interaction, end users may have difficulty explaining the issue they are experiencing, while agents may struggle to explain the solution in a way that is easy to understand.

  3. Limited hands-on assistance - Agents cannot physically manipulate hardware or replace components in a remote context, which may be necessary for certain issues.

  4. End-user dependence - It requires end users to follow instructions and provide access to their devices or systems. If they are not comfortable or have certain basic knowledge about technology, they may be hesitant to provide the necessary access or find it hard to respond to commands, which can make it difficult for agents to provide effective support.

What does remote support entail?

Remote IT support involves a wide range of tasks and responsibilities that are performed by IT teams to troubleshoot and resolve issues. Some of its main tasks include:

  1. Troubleshooting - Agents use remote access software to connect to the end-user's device or system to diagnose and troubleshoot issues. This can involve running diagnostic tests, checking settings and configurations, and identifying software or hardware errors.

  2. Resolving issues - Once the issue has been identified, IT professionals can remotely resolve the issue. This includes updating software, adjusting settings, or providing guidance to the end user to resolve the issue themselves.

  3. Software deployment - This practice involves installing or updating software on the end-user's device or system. It can be done remotely using software deployment tools.

  4. Providing technical guidance - Agents may also provide technical guidance to end-users, helping them understand how to use specific software or troubleshoot issues themselves in the future.

  5. Monitoring systems - Monitoring systems and networks for potential issues or security threats can be done remotely using network monitoring tools and other software.

2 types of remote IT support

There are two types of remote IT support, and each one has its own set of specific characteristics and advantages to consider. Let’s see them in more detail.

1. Attended remote support

Attended remote support involves an agent working with the user in real-time to diagnose and resolve the issue. It requires a remote connection between the technician and the user's computer, allowing them to control the system, run diagnostics, and perform any necessary repairs or configurations.

It is often the preferred option for complex issues that require the technician to interact with the user and gather additional information. It also enables the technician to demonstrate and educate the user on how to perform certain tasks or avoid similar issues in the future.

2. Unattended remote support

Unattended remote support, on the other hand, allows the agent to access and resolve issues on the user's computer without the user's involvement. This type of support requires pre-installed remote support software on the user's computer, which allows the technician to access the system from a different location.

It is ideal for proactive IT support practices and routine maintenance tasks, such as software updates, security patches, and backups. Besides, it is useful for fixing issues that do not require the user's input or attention, such as server crashes or network outages.

Remote IT support software

To provide effective remote IT support, agents require a variety of tools and capabilities to empower them to diagnose and resolve issues from different locations. These are some of the most popular types of remote IT support software functionalities that you can't miss.

Help desk software

Help desk software tools provide you with a centralized platform to manage and respond to user requests for support. InvGate Service Desk includes automation features to streamline the whole support process, allowing agents to triage tickets more efficiently, avoid repetitive tasks, and focus on more complex issues. This is particularly useful when you have a high Ticket Volume coming from different locations with different complexities.

You can also create multiple help desks and configure them with different languages and time frames that respond to the client’s specific working situation. Automatic ticket assignment rules can then be set accordingly so each one can attend the different categories in your service catalog. The tool also provides a range of integrations -native, third-party or via API- that will enable you to offer omnichannel support, further responding to the users needs and preferences.

InvGate Service Desk's agent ticket backlog view.

Self-service capabilities

The key when you're working on a decentralized organization is to offer 24/7 support for users so that they don't have to wait long hours to resolve an issue. But this doesn't mean that you need humans at all hours available to respond.

Self-service capabilities — such a self-service portal and a knowledge base — allow you to offer a tier 0 of IT support to provide the first response (especially to common issues) and reduce the agents' workload if problems are resolved before submitting a ticket. 

Remote desktop 

Remote desktop tools are essential for you to provide both attended and unattended remote support since they let you access and control a user's computer regardless of the agent's location, thus saving time and easily providing real-time support and troubleshooting.

It's important for the process to be set up smoothly and work intuitively, specially for the person who is requesting support. In line with this, InvGate Insight includes several remote desktop integrations -RDP, TeamViewer, AnyDesk, VNC- to easily access the device straight through the asset profile.

access-devices-remotely-invgate-insight

Remote monitoring tools

Monitoring tools are used to identify IT issues, observe system performance, and detect any security threats. They allow you to act proactively and identify and resolve issues before they become major problems, ensuring that systems are running smoothly and securely. 

InvGate Insight allows you to install an Agent in your devices that works along the Discovery feature in order to constantly monitor your whole network and notify you if something alarming comes up.

Profile view of assets on InvGate Insight.

Software deployment

Software deployment is another important part of proactive remote support as it enables you to deploy software updates and patches from a distance, ensuring that end-users have the latest version of the software without requiring them to manually update their systems. This can also be done straight through InvGate’s Agent. You can also save scripts to run them as many times as you need on different devices.

Wrapping up

Remote IT support is a cost-effective and efficient way to provide high quality technical assistance and troubleshoot issues for individuals and organizations across various industries, locations, and time zones, minimizing downtime and improving productivity. In today's world, it has become an ITSM must.

The type of remote support that you choose will depend on the specific needs and circumstances of the user, and a combination of different types may be required to provide comprehensive support and address the different types of issues that arise across your organization. Having the right tools will help you to optimize your support process and cover all the fronts. 

InvGate Service Desk and InvGate Insight will allow you to manage your requests and remotely monitor your devices. So ask for a 30-day free trial and start implementing remote IT support in your organization!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are examples of remote support?

Examples of remote support include remote desktop support, phone support, email support, chat support, and video conferencing support.

What is the difference between remote support and in-person?

Remote support is provided over the internet, and the technician can access and control the end-user's computer from a remote location. In-person support, on the other hand, requires the technician to be physically present at the end-user's location to diagnose and fix the issue. The first one is often more convenient and cost-effective, while the second may be necessary for more complex issues or hardware repairs.

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