IT Support 24/7: The Value of an On-Call Team

by / Thursday, 03 October 2013 / Published in Business

IT Support

Time has become increasingly valuable to businesses in our modern age. Technical issues do not have a predictable timeframe and for many businesses it becomes imperative to ensure that you have competent and dedicated support around the clock to keep vital aspects of your business operating smoothly. The value of a 24/7 on-call team to tackle any issues that creep up, whether it be at the height of the day or during the late hours of the evening, is important to many operations.

The on-call team should be able to address complications that spring up at unprecedented times. With acute efficiency, they understand time is of the essence when a server unexpectedly goes down two hours before you’re set to open your doors in the morning. Having the assurance your information systems are in good hands around the clock is a great value for businesses requiring 24/7 support. From software glitches to hardware malfunctions, being able to quickly diagnose an issue and take the necessary steps to a proper resolution is crucial to get your systems up and running with optimal performance.

But, being reactive to a technical hiccup is not where the true value of a 24/7 support lies. A proactive process of actively monitoring your system is essential to safeguard your systems from unanticipated events in the first place. The importance of having a well-managed Network Operations Center (NOC) is a prerequisite to a successful proactive approach to monitoring a system. The ability to closely monitor and maintain tight control over a network can be the definition of preparedness. The luxury of being able to rest and feel assured that your system is covered day and night is ultimately what a 24/7 support feature should give you. Backing up the support with detailed documentation helps alleviate additional stress in the future if complications should occur. A good MSP will address your issues in a timely manner, but a great MSP may make you wonder why you need them in the first place when your devices never seem to fail, thanks to their excellent proactive approach to managing your system.

Proper documentation can provide detailed information about how the problem occurred and steps the on-call team took to resolve the issues. Documentation should be accessible to all parties involved to communicate about complicated problems as well as allowing the in-house technical contact to monitor the status of the issue. Whether it’s documenting a malfunctioning piece of hardware or a bug within a program, proper capture of information can help reduce or all together negate downtime.

A detailed SLO, or Service Level Objective should be established when an on-call issue arrives to determine a responsive and informative time-frame. The SLO provides a mutual understanding between the parties and acts as a guideline for responsiveness. With an SLO, a company will be aware of how their issues will be handled and know what to expect from the on-call team.

An MSP offering 24/7 support should address documentation tracking and communications, and set the expectations and procedures through a detailed SLO. Addressing these concerns should provide a system for quick response times, complete availability, fast resolution, and detailed tracking

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