Information Technology (IT) support, also known as technical support, is essential for the successful and efficient operation of organizations in the digital age. It helps ensure the stability, productivity and security of your systems and those of the people who depend on them.
Its importance lies in several key aspects such as maintenance of the technological infrastructure (this includes servers, networks, operating systems, software, hardware and other essential components); and ensure business continuity, implement and maintain security measures (such as firewalls, antivirus and intrusion detection systems); periodic updating and maintenance of the software, implementation and management of data storage systems, backup and recovery of data in case of failures; resource optimization (such as server capacity management), keep up to date with the latest technological trends and evaluate how these can benefit the organization and provide data and analysis that help to decision-making.
The 5 levels of IT support: description, functions and skills
IT Support Level 0: Self-service
IT support level 0, often called “self-service,” is the initial level of technical support offered to users so they can solve technical problems on their own without needing to interact with a support technician. This tier support focuses on providing users with the tools, resources, and documentation needed to address common technical issues on your own. Some key aspects of IT Support Tier 0 include:
- Self-service portal.
- Knowledge base.
- Guided self-service.
- Online community.
- Diagnostic tools.
IT Support Level 1: First person-to-person contact (basic support)
Level 1 IT support, also known as “first person-to-person contact” or “basic support”, focuses on solving the simplest and most common technical problems that do not require advanced technical knowledge. Common features and responsibilities of tier 1 support are described below:
- Incident logging and tracking.
- Troubleshooting common problems.
- Documentation and updating of the knowledge base.
- Coordination with other teams.
IT Support Level 2: Technical support
IT Support Tier 2, also known as “technical support” or “advanced support”, handles more complex and technical issues that go beyond the capabilities of Tier 1. Some of the main features and responsibilities of tier support 2 are:
- Root cause analysis.
- Development and maintenance of technical documentation.
- Interaction with suppliers and manufacturers.
- Training and mentoring of level 1 staff.
- Proactive monitoring and maintenance.
- Participation in IT projects.
IT Support Level 3: Expert support
IT Support Level 3, also known as “expert support” or “high level support,” is responsible for addressing the most complex and challenging issues that require deep technical knowledge and expertise. The most outstanding features and responsibilities of tier support 3 are:
- Research and development.
- Design and implementation of advanced solutions.
- Participation in strategic projects.
- The development of policies and procedures.
- Crisis management.
IT Support Level 4: Third Party Support
Level 4 IT support, also known as “third-party support” or “external support,” is reserved for extremely complex issues or situations where specialized expertise is required, which goes beyond what an organization can offer internally. Common features and responsibilities of tier support 4 are described below:
- Technology vendor support.
- Development of customized solutions.
- Technology integration.
- Participation in security audits and reviews.
- Service contracts coordination and management.
- Supplier relationship management.
- Trend analysis and strategic recommendations.
Establishing a tiered help structure
Implementing a tiered support structure involves careful planning and execution to ensure efficient technical assistance. Among the main steps to establish a tiered help structure is the choice of the appropriate IT Service Management (ITSM) platform, which is scalable and customizable.
Once the ITSM tool has been chosen, a self-service platform or a dedicated web portal must be configured there and the IT support levels of the organization must be clearly defined. In addition, the ITSM platform must include process automation, such as ticket routing, incident prioritization or reporting; providing updated documentation at each support level; tools to measure the performance of the IT structure and demand management to plan workloads.
Finally, to create an effective structure it is essential to establish effective communication channels and perform periodic evaluations to adjust the structure and processes to the changing needs of the organization.
Implementing a tiered help structure in an IT environment brings multiple benefits to the organization.
Benefits of Implementing IT support levels
Support levels enable efficient distribution of support requests, ensuring that issues are addressed at the appropriate level for resolution. This operational efficiency results in an improvement of user satisfaction and in cost savings by ensuring that technical resources are used more competently.
On the other hand, quick management of critical incidents provided by the help structure by levels, escalating the problems according to their nature to the different levels of support, allows to guarantee the continuity of the business. Finally, sharing documentation and knowledge allows capacity building among company personnel.
Adapting the structure to the needs of the organization
It is important to note that there is no single and universally applicable IT levels support structure. Each organization has specific needs and requirements, so it is essential to adapt the structure to its particular circumstances taking into account the size and complexity of the organization, the nature of the operations, that it carries out according to the industry to which it belongs, the needs of the users, both internal and external, of the company; the economic and human resources that the organization has and the technological changes that take place and that require a flexible infrastructure capable of adapting to technological and business evolutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Summary of frequent questions about IT support and careers in this field
What is IT support for?
IT support is a very useful tool, both for companies and individuals, to receive assistance in any of the tasks to be carried out in their corresponding IT environments. It guarantees that they will be able to meet their goals or continue to offer services to their customers even if they suffer hardware, software or network failures.
What are the IT support levels?
- Level 0: Self-Service
- Level 1: Basic support
- Level 2: Technical support
- Level 3: Expert support
- Level 4: Third party support
How do I start my career in IT support?
Of course, to get a job in this field requires technical knowledge of systems and processes. To begin with, you could complete related courses or get one of the necessary certifications.
What is remote IT support?
Remote IT support allows support technicians to provide their services to customers more quickly and effectively through remote control, email or chat. Even at a distance, they are able to diagnose any problem and provide the steps to follow to solve it.
What are the skills to work in IT support?
Of course, dealing with clients will always require professional and effective communication skills. Additionally, the ability to effectively troubleshoot and keep up with all IT news is critical for any professional IT.
Expert in journalism and social networks, Laura writes technical articles specialized in technology, innovation and IT entrepreneurship. She also coordinates contents in TicPymes, a media specialized in SMEs and startups.