IT support teams are tasked with effectively and efficiently addressing a wide variety of issues affecting an organization’s computing environment. An excellent IT support team can provide multiple benefits to an organization. Team members can be instrumental in maintaining operational efficiency and promoting improved productivity throughout a company.

A typical IT support team needs to engage in many different types of activities to ensure system performance and assist employees in using the computing resources to perform their jobs. The team’s ability to handle whatever issues come up can have a tremendous impact on the IT environment’s capability to meet a company’s business requirements. The inability to resolve issues promptly can result in degraded system performance, lowered productivity, and lost business.

Two Different IT Support Strategies

Companies can adopt two very different approaches to providing IT support. Going with the wrong strategy can negatively impact a support team’s ability to promptly address issues. This can result in extended outages and long wait times for problem resolution.

  • Reactive strategies are essentially tenuous plans to address issues after they arise. Teams may decide to rely on their ability to effectively handle any kind of problem that comes up when it happens. This strategy may work for a while if the team is not faced with novel or particularly difficult challenges. A reactive approach may leave a support team scrambling to fix issues with repercussions that affect the general IT environment.
  • Proactive strategies take a more cautious and effective approach to providing IT support. A proactive strategy involves developing plans to address various types of issues before they occur. These plans later serve as a playbook that enables the team to quickly resolve issues before they become major problems and impact the business.

Another characteristic of a proactive IT support strategy is the implementation of programs that monitor the infrastructure for emerging problems. This may include performing periodic audits to ensure no new security vulnerabilities can be exploited by threat actors. The objective is to be as prepared as possible for any situation that affects the IT environment.

Advantages of Adopting Proactive Support Strategies

The best way to illustrate the differences between a reactive and proactive IT support strategy is to look at some examples of issues that typically affect a company’s computing environment. Stark differences are evident in how effective each strategy is in addressing a range of IT support issues.

Accidental or deliberate data loss

The potential for data loss is always present in an IT environment. Proactive support teams ensure that all important information is regularly backed up so data loss scenarios can be easily rectified. A reactive strategy may neglect backups and be forced to attempt to recreate the affected systems from scratch.

System and application security vulnerabilities

Vendors regularly identify vulnerabilities in their software and the firmware controlling infrastructure devices. A reactive support team will wait until a vulnerability is exploited and then take the necessary steps to prevent its reoccurrence and deal with any collateral damage to the IT environment.

A proactive strategy includes implementing activities such as regular patch management to ensure all known vulnerabilities are remedied. This approach can eliminate unexpected problems and outages that can affect the business.

A ransomware attack

Ransomware threatens virtually all businesses that process sensitive or valuable data in an IT environment. A successful ransomware attack can devastate a business by making it impossible to access data resources until the ransom has been paid or the affected systems have been recovered. This can make it impossible to maintain operations or provide services to customers.

A reactive IT support approach requires the team to devise and execute recovery plans for the attacked system on the spot. This is a dangerous strategy that risks an extended outage. A proactive team will have already developed and tested recovery plans for mission-critical systems so they can recover them quickly, regaining data access without paying the ransom.

Excessive data access privileges

Granting users excessive data access privileges presents an opportunity for malicious insiders to abuse them. They may exfiltrate or corrupt valuable company data resources for a variety of personal or financial reasons. A reactive approach to this problem addresses the issue by reducing privileges after data has been compromised in some way.

Proactively addressing this IT support function involves implementing strong Identity and Access Management (IAM) procedures that limit access to valuable data. This eliminates accidentally providing excessive privileges in favor of addressing individual requests for additional access when needed for business purposes.

Recovering from a large-scale disaster

The ability to recover from manmade or natural disasters efficiently is essential for businesses that rely on their IT environment. Most companies cannot withstand extended outages of business-critical systems and applications. Reactive support teams handle a disaster on the fly and do the best they can to recover the systems necessary to restore business operations.

The more effective proactive approach has the IT support team developing and testing disaster recovery plans before they are needed to rescue the day. Inefficiencies in the plan can be addressed during testing so that when a disaster strikes, the team can quickly recover the affected systems.

VAST Solutions Promoting Proactive IT Support

At VAST IT Services, we strongly believe that optimal IT support demands a proactive approach. We understand the benefits of being ready to handle IT issues before they become business-impacting problems. The best way to do this is through developing preparedness plans and implementing technical solutions that facilitate fast and effective support.

VAST offers a wide range of services designed to facilitate a proactive approach to IT support. Following are several examples of our services that align with a proactive IT support mindset.

  • Security lifecycle review – We help your team evaluate your existing security status and identify vulnerabilities that need to be closed to protect the environment.
  • Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) – This service offers organizations of any size a proactive method of preparing for and recovering from a disaster.
  • Infrastructure support – We offer managed support for your on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructure including storage management and high availability of your company’s critical systems.
  • Managed backups – Our managed backup service identifies gaps in your current backup strategy and ensures your valuable data is protected.

We can manage your IT environment for you or provide options that give your existing teams additional capabilities. Call us today and speak to our experts about how VAST can help implement a more proactive approach to your IT support.