Setting up an IT department to deal with infrastructure problems is beyond the budget of many small businesses. Indeed, having an IT person can be a stretch for many.

Outsourcing IT support can be a good way of saving money as it provides an expert to fix problems on a pay-as-you-go basis. But remote technical support can save even more money, as it removes the need for a techie to make the trip to and from your office. And there are even more benefits of remote support.

Quicker response

By using a remote desktop connection a technician can access the user's computer from a remote location, which reduces the cost of support.

The whole process becomes smoother using remote support that can access a device directly as opposed to someone trying to give instructions over the phone. The latter can lead to the IT operative blindly trying to deduce what is happening on the machine based on explanations from a user who is unlikely to have a grasp of the technology.

The user can just sit back and watch as the technician fixes the problem. Compared to the customary talk/walk through method, this considerably decreases the call time and increases the company's revenues through avoiding lost productivity.

One call to fix all

Sometimes a network fault can develop that eventually requires a technician to go on-site. But before that remote monitoring and management tools, alongside a proactive resolution process and a systematic ticketing system, will allow IT support to ping devices and the network and look for trouble.

This can sometimes prevent problems affecting the whole company, as detecting patterns among multiple users can help in coming up with a solution before the helpdesk it flooded with calls.

Anywhere in the world

If your users are working away from the office, either at home or on business, as long as you have internet access, IT support can service the user t as easily as if they were around the corner. There may be a lag on how quickly the remote desktop refreshes, but it will be a lot quicker than putting IT support on the first plane out.

Solving problems

Virtually all computer problems can be fixed and many other jobs can be completed using remote support. Malware removal, spyware scanning, driver installation, new business software installation and software upgrades are frequently run remotely. Even processes requiring a reboot are not much of a problem, as the remote technician can connect as soon as the computer has started up again.

While failing hardware would still have to be fixed in person, a lot of diagnosis can be carried out beforehand remotely. Of course, the one problem remote support can't fix is an internet or network connectivity issue, which tends to require at least a conversation over the phone.

Applications available

There are a number of remote support tools available to use. Among the most popular are Citrix's GoToAssist, TeamViewer and LogMeIn Rescue, but these can cost if used in a business setting.

Free applications can also be used to support users remotely, notably TightVNC, Windows' own Remote Desktop Services and Google's Remote Desktop which runs in the firm's browser application.