Computer repair and computer support can at first glance seem like much the same thing—both involve computer maintenance and both are designed to ensure your computer systems work as intended. However, there are some key differences between repair and support that are worth exploring—especially in a business context.
“When a business computer breaks, it obviously needs to be repaired.” explains long time Baltimore IT support professional, David Shaffer of Tier One Technology Partners. “But computer support can often help you avoid the need to get repair work done in the first place. Having access to both computer repair and computer support services is ideal, particularly when keeping your computer systems and networks operational is necessary to keep your business operational.” Shaffer says.
Computer Repair and Computer Support
Pretty much everyone is familiar with computer repair services. Computers break, both personal computers and business computers, and when they break they need to be fixed. You can take your computer to the average computer repair shop to get it fixed for a fee. It may take some time—since other customers probably got there before you—but eventually, you should be able to get your computer repaired.
Common computer repair services include:
- Installing hardware
- Installing software
- Repairing hardware
- Repairing software
- Uninstalling hardware
- Uninstalling software
- Troubleshooting hardware issues
- Troubleshooting software issues
“In a business setting, computer repair services need to be a little more predictable than they do in a consumer setting. You want to know that when a computer goes down you can get it fixed as soon as possible.” explains Alek Pirkhalo, owner of Chicago IT services firm, Infiniwiz in Rolling Meadows.
Large companies ensure minimal downtime by keeping IT staff that can perform repairs quickly—and they tend to have spare machines on-hand to swap out to really keep downtime to a minimum. But for small and mid-sized companies, keeping a significant IT staff is not financially practical. That is why many such businesses choose to managed IT services—giving them access to IT professionals when they need them, like when a computer breaks, without needing to pay for full-time employees.
In a business environment, keeping your computer systems and network systems in good repair is essential. Your technology allows you to keep your business running smoothly and to ensure that your business continues to generate revenue. Downtime is expensive, which is why all businesses should have some form of IT support—whether in-house or managed IT services. Of course, there are a lot of different ways that something can go wrong with your technology, which is why a comprehensive monitoring program is helpful to ensure that all your bases are covered.
Both Pirkhalo and Shaffer agree that computer support refers to the kind of ongoing support and monitoring that every business needs to avoid common and not so common issues with their computer systems and networks.
“It goes far beyond the standard break/fix arrangements that most computer repair companies offer.” Shaffer concludes. Computer repair may still be required at certain times, but ongoing support can lessen the need for repairs by addressing issues on an ongoing basis—much like routine maintenance can help you avoid catastrophic issues with your automobile. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the old saying goes.
Computer support services can include:
- Support for specific types of software
- Support for specific types of systems (Windows, Mac, Linux)
- Phone support during specific time periods (business hours, after-hours, 24/7)
- Maintenance of computer systems
- Estimating computer system costs for maintenance and updates
- IT budgeting
- Reference to specialized repair/maintenance/support services based on individual circumstances
- Remote monitoring
- Remote access to facilitate troubleshooting and repair
- On-site support when needed
“Computer support is a broad term that can refer to everything from helplines offered by software vendors to 24/7 support offered by managed IT services providers. Even when you have a managed IT services team, you often have the option of choosing the level of service and support you want and need.” Pirkhalo mentions.
You may be able to choose basic services like break/fix arrangements—charged based on each service call—or more comprehensive service plans that include break/fix and computer support for a fixed rate each month. What is best for your business will depend on your individual technology requirements.
Comprehensive Computer Support—More Secure and Economical
While basic computer repair services may be sufficient for businesses with limited technology needs, most businesses are better served by a managed IT services agreement that includes regular computer support in addition to computer repair services. There are several reasons why support is more beneficial, including:
Both Tier One and Infiniwiz put cyber security in the forefront of their IT service offerings. Hackers and cybercriminals are eager to access business data. While they are happy to go after personal data as well, they are well aware of the fact that compromising a business can be far more lucrative than compromising a business. The increased risk to your business from cyber criminals means that IT security should be of primary importance to your company. The right computer support services can improve your cybersecurity by:
- Applying patches as needed
- Applying hotfixes as needed
- Updating system security on a regular basis
- Monitoring systems for early signs of compromises
- Maintaining remote access to apply security fixes as soon as possible instead of waiting until they have physical access to your system
It can be tempting for small businesses to choose the computer repair and support option that is the least expensive. After all, you want to keep your costs down as much as possible. But the cheapest option up front is to pay for computer repair when something breaks. However, you can often save money by getting more comprehensive support for several reasons, including:
- Identify issues early on
- Fix problems when they are small and less expensive
- Avoid major, more expensive issues