The Difference Between Proactive and Reactive IT Support

With an increasing number of businesses becoming more reliant than ever on IT for the smooth running of everyday operations, you may find yourself painted into a corner in which you know you need to find an appropriate IT support provider, but aren’t sure what exactly you are looking for, and what will tick all the boxes of your company.

Small companies can often find themselves with limited options. Their financial situation may not allow for an in-house IT specialist to keep on top of issues for them, so they must look elsewhere for a service that will keep their systems in check without pushing them into the red.

When it comes to business IT support, there are two definitive kinds: Reactive and Proactive. Both involve several steps to fixing and/or avoiding technical issues, but one is preferential in keeping such issues under constant control.

What’s Reactive Support?

Rather self-explanatorily, reactive IT support involves identifying and solving a technical issue once it has already happened, i.e. you are directly reacting to the problem. Now this is all well and good, particularly if you don’t have the means to bring on-board a specialist to keep a watchful eye on the systems, but there are some instances in which ‘crossing that bridge when we come to it’, known in jargon-form as Crisis Management IT, is not such an advisable method.

With technology forming the backbone of many businesses nowadays, it is worth considering: what extent of damage would a technical issue bring to the normal day-to- day running of the company? If you are a small or independent company, it’s a fair bet that it would throw things off considerably. Maybe you’d have to call someone in on their day off, or postpone projects until further notice.

In this instance, remedying the situation with Reactive Support would involve these 5 steps:

1. A support call is lodged with the company’s support provider

2. The support provider responds via remote or onsite support

3. The issue is isolated

4. The solution is applied

5. The solution is explained to you in high-tech jargon

So this is all well and good, but could turn out to be a frustrating situation to find yourself in when you have a deadline with that really important client to meet, and every minute that’s wasted with IT support could be spent doing things that matter.

So what is the better option?

What’s Proactive Support?

Well, on the flip side of waiting for a problem to arise before fixing it, Proactive Support refers to taking a leaf out of the Boy Scout Book and always being prepared. After all, top quality preparation is one of the keys to top quality management. For all the brilliant jobs it does for us, technology is never 100% fool-proof, so why wait for something to go wrong when you could lay down an insurance policy?

It may take one more step, but it will be worth it. Employing the services of a proactive IT support service will typically involve the following 6 steps:

1. Establishing a strategic plan, in which the aims and boundaries of your business are taken into account and planned around

2. Requesting regular maintenance checks be performed on all networking infrastructure

3. Organising training sessions for staff about the IT system, so everybody is up to scratch

4. Scheduling upgrades regularly throughout the year, so all software and firmware updates can be applied to core infrastructure

5. Making sure to request software monitoring be integrated into your network, so immediate notification will be received should anything go offline

6. Don’t forget to keep a detailed log of any issues that arise, as this can be used to identify any trends which may lead to the root of the problem

It’s really that simple. Reactive Support is the old way of doing things. A well-functioning business should ideally use Proactive Support for the quickest, safest and most reliable IT systems, leaving the employees free to get on with their real work.

You can visit our IT support page here

Jake Simpson

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