In today’s interconnected world, remote support has become an essential component of efficient and effective IT management. The days when technicians had to be physically present to resolve technical issues or provide assistance are swiftly disappearing, and modern support teams must adapt.
Thanks to significant tech advancements, the way we look at IT support has changed drastically in the past decade. Where remote support once may have been a luxury, it is now a growing necessity, especially for businesses operating with a remote or hybrid workforce.
Modern improvements in support are helping businesses overcome geographical barriers and improve their operational efficiency. In this article, we will explore the evolution of remote support, tracing its journey from on-premises solutions to cloud-based platforms.
The Emergence of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) Tools
Around a decade ago, the first major revolution in remote support occurred with the introduction of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools. These tools were primarily developed for managed services companies, offering them the capability to remotely connect, monitor, and manage on-premises servers, desktops, and laptops.
RMM tools (Ex: Datto RMM, Kaseya, etc.) opened a world of opportunity for support teams, helping them to elevate their services and make a major dent in resolution times. But the real achievement RMM tools unlocked came from the remote capabilities for access and troubleshooting, which made the need for on-site technicians less compulsory and disrupted the analog support services methodology.
Cost Considerations and the Shift to Cloud-Based Solutions
One of the driving factors behind the adoption of remote support solutions has always been cost. Smaller companies often face a dilemma regarding limitations in the number of IT staff they can afford to have on-site. This lack of resources can hinder their ability to provide comprehensive support and management for their IT infrastructure. In many cases, prohibitive costs contribute to a lack of depth in support teams. Resources for high-level experts with specialties in areas like network or endpoint management can come with a large price tag. The complexity and security concerns of managing and maintaining VPNs and gateways also added to the overall cost of maintaining remote work and support capabilities.
The cost-effectiveness of remote support solutions changed the game. It allowed organizations to leverage external expertise and gain access to specialized skills and knowledge without the need for full-time, in-house staff.
The Rise of Cloud Platforms and Single Sign-On
In the past five years, remote support has experienced another significant shift with the emergence of cloud platforms like Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. These platforms have facilitated a move away from on-prem infrastructure and the migration of applications to the cloud, enabling businesses to leverage Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) models.
Moreover, with single sign-on capabilities, users can seamlessly access multiple cloud-based applications, eliminating the need for separate credentials and simplifying the user experience.
Updating Outdated On-Premises Applications
The transition to cloud-based solutions has also led to a shift away from outdated on-premises applications. These legacy systems have often suffered from neglect and lack regular updates and support.
By moving applications to the cloud, businesses have the opportunity to benefit from the latest features, security patches, and ongoing support provided by cloud service providers. This not only ensures better functionality and reliability but also reduces the burden on internal IT teams to maintain and update complex on-premises systems and ultimately strengthens a business’s security profile.
Adapting Managed Services to Modern IT Environments
For companies with a mix of on-premises and cloud resources, there is often a challenge that lies in adapting their managed services approach to the evolving IT landscape. Some businesses choose to outsource their entire IT operations to modern managed services providers, while others opt to extend the capabilities of their on-site team by outsourcing specific areas of expertise, such as network management or security.
The decision often depends on factors such as budget, required skill sets, and the need for on-site presence for certain tasks.
Building a Strong Support Team
Regardless of the approach chosen, building a strong support team is crucial for effective remote support. For remote support, subject matter expertise plays a vital role. Having team members who are knowledgeable about the specific applications and systems used within the business or unique industry allows for faster and more efficient troubleshooting and issue resolution. Subject matter experts can provide better service to end-users, ensuring their needs are met promptly and effectively. Not every person can be an expert at every piece of technology, so it is crucial to find partners in areas that can build out your business’s capabilities.
Elevating Employee Expectations
From an employee’s perspective, modern remote support services have raised expectations for IT assistance. Employees now anticipate quick response times, seamless connectivity, and efficient issue resolution. Support teams must adapt with the goal of providing the same level of service employees came to expect while physically working in an office.
Because remote support has become more streamlined, technicians are now enabled to resolve problems remotely, reducing downtime and minimizing disruption to employees’ workflow. The shift to cloud-based solutions has also made support more accessible, empowering employees to seek assistance from anywhere, and enhancing productivity and flexibility.
Enhanced Security and Simplified Access
Cloud-based remote support brings additional benefits beyond improved efficiency. Cloud platforms often incorporate robust security measures, providing enhanced data protection and reducing the risk of breaches or vulnerabilities. With centralized access controls, cloud-first businesses can ensure that only authorized individuals can access systems and applications remotely. This not only enhances security but also simplifies access management for IT administrators.
Centralized tools available in Microsoft Azure through Intune and Conditional Access give administrators the ability to manage their users while simultaneously protecting the business’s data and IP.
The evolution of remote support from on-premises solutions to cloud-based platforms has transformed the way businesses manage their IT infrastructure and provide assistance to their employees. The introduction of RMM tools and the migration to cloud platforms have improved efficiency, reduced costs, and expanded the reach of support services.
Businesses must adapt their support strategies and build strong support teams with specialized knowledge to meet the changing expectations of employees. As remote work becomes more prevalent, cloud-based remote support will continue to play a crucial role in ensuring smooth operations and enhanced productivity for businesses across various industries.
If you’re curious about how modern remote support can improve your business, drop us a line. We’ll be happy to explore the possibilities with you.