Remote IT Support Services: 5 Factors to Evaluate an MSP

By Margaret Concannon | January 3, 2023
Margaret is the Content Marketing Manager at Ntiva, and has been a marketer for managed services providers since 2013.

Remote IT support services offered by a managed service provider (MSP) provides expert IT support to your employees across multiple locations, without having to maintain an in-house IT team. The best remote IT support service will also help you maintain high security levels even when your employees are working from home, traveling, or using personal devices. 

However, it can be difficult to find the right IT service provider for your business because there are so many options and many of them sound the same on the surface. 

In this article, we provide five factors to help you differentiate between IT managed service providers (MSPs). We also show how our remote IT support service from Ntiva addresses each factor. 

Ntiva provides fast, 24/7 remote IT support, advanced cybersecurity solutions, and expert consulting to help you align your IT environment with your business goals. To learn more about how Ntiva can help you save costs, increase productivity, and get the most out of your technology, book a consultation today

Factor #1: Whether or Not You Have Access to 24/7 Remote Technical Support

Many employees end up working outside of typical business hours in order to meet deadlines, accommodate vacations, etc. Remote employees in particular are more likely to work odd hours. If they don’t have IT support when they need it, it could halt productivity. 

Some remote IT support services are only available during normal business hours. The ones that do offer 24/7 support often staff their help desk with non-technical reps or low-level technicians. These reps may be able to help with simple issues but, more likely than not, you’ll end up waiting for a more experienced technician to call you back. 

Additionally, many 24/7 IT support services are staffed by reps located outside of the U.S. Many tech issues are complicated enough; adding a language barrier only makes it harder to resolve the issue. 

Recommendation: Look for a MSP with a 24/7 help desk staffed by U.S.-based IT experts. Ask about average response times. 

Increase Productivity with Ntiva’s 24/7/365 U.S.-Based Technician Help Desk

Ntiva’s help desk is staffed 24/7 by experienced U.S.-based technicians, which is why we’re able to resolve 75% of issues right away on the first call. Plus, your call will be answered in less than one minute, on average.

Instead of wasting time trying to figure it out on their own, your employees can call our team for quick troubleshooting. 

Factor #2: How Long It Takes for Support Tickets to Be Resolved

When issues can’t be resolved on the initial call, most IT service providers create a ticket for your issue and assign it a priority level. This priority level will be based on things like how many employees are affected, the degree to which the issue affects productivity, or some other irrelevant reason. 

If your ticket is assigned a low priority level, you may end up waiting days, weeks, or even months before a technician calls you back. When your ticket finally does get addressed, the technician may or may not have the expertise to solve the issue. If they don’t have the expertise or resources to solve the issue, your ticket will go back in the waiting queue. 

Recommendation: Learn about the MSP’s system for prioritizing tickets to make sure all issues will be resolved in a timely manner.

Quickly Resolve Every IT Problem No Matter How Big or Small

At Ntiva, if an issue is important to even one of your team members, it’s important to us. That’s why we address all issues—big or small—on a first-come, first-served basis. 

If a follow up call or on-site visit is necessary, our team is dedicated to getting it resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible (often within the same day). 

You can learn how Ntiva helped Streetsense expand quickly in a competitive environment by offering remote IT support to end-users across many locations in this case study

Factor #3: What Tools and Expertise Remote Tech Support Has Available

Many employers allow workers to use personal devices when working remotely which means their IT team needs to be able to support a wide range of devices (e.g., 2005 Windows PC or 2019 Mac Laptop). Most MSPs are well equipped to work with Windows devices, however, few MSPs can properly support Apple devices. 

Apple devices require different processes and support tools than Windows to accomplish the same tasks. If you try to adapt Windows tools for use on Apple devices, they may not function correctly and are likely to break. For example, many of the tools IT teams use to get remote access to a Windows computer will be blocked by Mac’s built-in security features. 

Even if Windows experts are able to create a solution for an Apple product, it’s rarely a long-term fix. Eventually, an Apple update will cause the solution to break and it will need to be reconfigured. 

Additionally, Windows and Apple use different functions to perform the same tasks and call the same function by different names. This can make it difficult for a Windows expert to understand what’s going wrong with an Apple product.

Finally, you want to make sure the remote IT team is large enough to support your entire company in a timely manner. Smaller MSPs may not have the bandwidth to continue offering attentive support as your team expands. For example, many MSPs will advertise that they have an Apple department, however, there may only be two or three technicians in that department. If they’re out of office or assisting another client, your problem will have to wait.  

Recommendation: Look for an MSP with a large department of experts for each type of device your team uses. If you use Apple devices, choose an MSP on Apple’s list of certified Apple Consultants. 

Get Full Support for Windows and Apple Devices with Ntiva

Ntiva has over one dozen Apple-certified technicians with over 20 years of experience. So you’ll always have an experienced technician available to solve issues with Apple devices and help you implement Apple best practices so each device operates at peak performance. 

Plus, our staff utilizes Apple-native tools so we can offer the same quality of remote IT support to your Apple users as your Windows users. 

You can view Nitva on Apple’s list of consultants where we’ve received five out of five stars on 50+ customer reviews.  

You can also learn how Ntiva provided IT support to PMMI across multiple locations with a mix of Apple and Windows devices in this case study

Factor #4: The Tools and Services Available to Maintain High Cybersecurity

Two of the most common scenarios that lead to data breaches are: 

  1. Employees that lack training in identifying and preventing data breaches. Most cyber attacks are aimed at employees and are designed to trick employees into opening or downloading malicious files or links and/or sharing sensitive information.

  2. Devices and software with outdated security features. Many companies struggle to keep their devices and software up to date so hackers will search out these weak points to try to gain access to your systems. 

It’s standard practice for MSPs to help you implement and manage multi-factor authentication software (MFA), virtual private networks (VPN), and basic antivirus software. Some MSPs will also help you keep up with software and security updates.  

However, very few MSPs will train your employees on phishing prevention, which leaves you on your own to implement ongoing training, document it (for insurance purposes), and ensure it’s working. 

Additionally, most MSPs only provide definition-based antivirus software, meaning you enter descriptions of the type of viruses that should be blocked and everything else is let through. It’s very difficult to include every type of software virus, so experienced hackers can usually break through definition-based antivirus software.  

Recommendation: Carefully evaluate the security features offered by an MSP and look for features like advanced antivirus software, phishing prevention training, and more.  

Close Your IT Security Gap with Ntiva’s Fully-Managed Phishing Prevention Training, vCISOs, and More

For nearly 20 years, Ntiva has been helping companies maintain high security standards—even when employees are working remotely or across many different locations. Nitva provides a full suite of cybersecurity services including MFA, VPN, proactive intrusion detection and response (IDR), vCISO consulting, and more.

Two of the features Ntiva clients appreciate most are: 

  • Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) backed by a 24/7 security operations center (SOC): EDR uses AI and machine learning to recognize activity that could be a virus (even when your devices are outside the office firewall). Unlike definition-based antivirus software that only blocks known types of harmful activity, EDR is able to detect and help you block new types of cyber attacks and viruses. If any suspicious activity is detected, EDR immediately sends a notification to our SOC, where our experts analyze the activity and take necessary action to further secure your IT systems. 

  • Phishing prevention training: Implementing phishing prevention training is time-consuming and tedious whether you create your own training from scratch or buy a pre-built program. Both methods typically involve creating fake emails and sending them as tests, training employees when they fail, carefully documenting each step, and much more. Most teams struggle to maintain the necessary training needed to prevent cyber attacks. Plus, insurance companies often ask for detailed proof that you kept up with proper phishing prevention training before paying the claim. Ntiva handles all aspects of phishing prevention training for you, including documentation, so that it’s easy to back up your insurance claim.

Related: What Your BYOD Policy Needs

Bonus: Full Support for Onboarding and Offboarding Employees

How you handle onboarding and offboarding employees is critical from a cybersecurity perspective because, if done wrong, your company is left vulnerable to possible data breaches. For example, new employees typically haven’t been fully trained in cybersecurity or they may be using old passwords and accounts because theirs haven’t been set up yet. 

That’s why it’s crucial to have a detailed onboarding and offboarding plan. But most MSPs will leave the entire process up to you. 

On the other hand, Ntiva helps you create and implement a comprehensive onboarding and offboarding plan. Having worked with hundreds of companies in many industries, our team can advise you on best practices to maintain network security during any employee transition—whether remote or in-person. 

Factor #5: What Happens If a Server Fails

Most technical issues can be resolved remotely, however, some issues (like server failures) require onsite support. For many companies, server failures can cost thousands of dollars or more for each hour of downtime. That’s why it’s important to have access to quick onsite support. 

To have the option of onsite support, many MSPs will charge you a recurring fee whether or not you actually use the service. In the long-run, it’s more cost effective to only pay for onsite support when you need it. 

You’ll also need to make sure that you have a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery plan in place. When a data breach occurs or servers fail, many companies go under because they lose critical data or don’t have the proper procedures in place to recover efficiently.

Recommendation: Look for an MSP with staff that can reach your physical location quickly and that only charges you for onsite support when you need it. Also, make sure the MSP can provide a data backup solution and help outline a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.  

Get Up and Running Fast with Ntiva

At Ntiva, we believe you should only be charged for services that you actually use, which is why we only charge for onsite support when you need it. 

Ntiva has a physical presence in many of the major cities in the U.S. and we partner with many local IT providers to ensure you get fast, on-demand onsite support.

Finally, we work with your team to find the most effective data backup and disaster recovery plan (BDR) for your business. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to BDR, which is why our IT consultants work with your team to build a custom solution. 

A Washington, D.C. based nonprofit organization experienced an outage right before their biggest event of the year. You can learn how Ntiva helped them get up and running before the event in this case study

Increase Productivity with Ntiva Remote IT Support Solutions

Ntiva’s remote services include: 

  • A 24/7 help desk service staffed by experienced U.S.-based technicians who answer in less than one minute, on average, and resolve 75% of IT issues on the first call.

  • Full support for Microsoft Windows and Apple software, computers, and mobile devices.

  • A Full suite of cybersecurity features including enhanced virus and cyber attack detection, fully managed phishing prevention training, VPNs, MFA, vCISO, SOC, and much more.

  • An IT support team of 200+ experts and a network of partners located all across the U.S.—so you can get onsite support right away when needed.

  • And more…

At Ntiva, we’re dedicated to helping you to get the most out of our IT solutions, which is why we provide a comprehensive onboarding experience. During this time, we clearly present all the ways Ntiva can help your business and we set up your IT infrastructure so that all your employees—whether they work from home or in the office—receive exceptional support. 

Because it may be several weeks before you’re able to take full advantage of our services, you won’t be charged during the onboarding process. 

If you think Ntiva could be the right MSP for your remote IT needs, book a consultation today.  

Want to learn more about Managed IT Services for your business? See Ntiva’s Managed IT Services.

Managed IT Services and Support

Managed Backup & Disaster Recovery Service

IT Support for Employee Onboarding & Offboarding

IT Help Desk Services and Support

Managed IT Procurement Services

Network Monitoring & Management

On-Site IT Services & Support

Managed Remote IT Support Services

Server Management and Support Services

Tags: Managed IT, Remote Work