Remote work environments are quickly becoming the norm across industries, allowing companies to reduce their overhead costs and expand the scope of their workforce. Thanks to cloud-based technologies, organizations are no longer limited by geographic constraints — rather than hiring from a pool of locally sourced candidates, companies can onboard the most qualified applicants from anywhere in the world.
According to research from Global Workplace Analytics, regular work-from-home has increased 173% since 2005, and shows no signs of slowing down in the new decade. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed business leaders to accelerate their remote work plans, leading to a surge of investment in new digital applications and teleworking platforms. While this transition has been a net positive for employers and employees alike, there’s one challenge that has some companies concerned about the future of work: IT issues.
Troubleshooting remote devices
Although business technologies have revolutionized how companies manage internal costs, build customer loyalty and increase profitability, these systems are far from perfect. Computer problems are common in almost every industry and employment level, which is why many organizations have in-house IT help desks that work to resolve end user issues. Of course, when employees are entirely remote, it can be even more difficult to troubleshoot their problems and keep their work devices running at peak efficiency.
Research from Zendesk discovered that internal support teams receive an average of 492 tickets per month and take roughly 24.2 hours to provide a first response. These estimates were based on a study of in-person work environments, where IT staff could provide hands-on troubleshooting and had direct access to employee computers. Given that many remote employees use loaned laptops or their own personal devices, providing this level of active support is often impossible without the right tools in place. What’s more, the cost-per-ticket for support teams ranges from $2.93 to $49.69, according to a report from MetricNet, meaning that slow ticket resolution can not only lead to reduced productivity and unplanned downtime, it can also increase companies’ overall IT management costs.
Top remote troubleshooting tools
Diagnosing computer problems can be a labor-intensive process, especially when IT staff are working with remote devices. That’s why we’ve put together a short list of remote troubleshooting tools every company can benefit from:
- Communication platforms: In-office communication platforms are the most basic and important remote troubleshooting tools available, as they allow IT staff and end users to share information about the issues at hand. Applications like Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business also come with screen-sharing capabilities, giving support professionals the ability to monitor and resolve problems in real time. This functionality is particularly useful when handling low-priority tickets and minor misconfigurations — users can slowly walk through their IT problems and provide visual examples of their workstations’ limited performance.
- Application management tools: Failed or stalled updates can cause significant performance issues for work devices, from slow loading times to complete interoperability. While device owners are responsible for ensuring their operating systems and business apps are kept up to date, many dismiss these alerts without understanding the urgency. With application management tools, IT administrators can maintain complete visibility over in-network devices and any installed software. This oversight can help reduce support ticket resolution times by allowing support teams to quickly check software and OS versions without any end user intervention.
- Automated patching systems: While the ability to oversee device and software updates is crucial, large companies may need a bit more control over employee workstations. Automated update tools like Faronics’ Deploy empowers organizations to proactively manage any number of computers independently, without choking local resources or bandwidth. For example, if a help desk technician were to identify a mismatched software version that caused issues for multiple users, they could send out batch updates to resolve the problem through one centralized console. Deploy’s advanced automated features can also allow IT administrators to scan all in-network devices and set up alerts when action is needed.
- Reboot to restore: Human error is one of the most common causes of workplace IT issues. Even minor configuration changes, whether intentional or unintentional, can lead to major performance issues and a deluge of low-priority support tickets. With reboot-to-restore technology, organizations can empower their employees to solve a variety of problems with a simple restart of their devices. For example, using Faronics’ Deep Freeze, IT administrators can lockdown loaned laptops in a pristine state that can be adjusted over time. If a particular IT issue is causing disruption, users can reboot their device to bring it back to that indestructible state. This can not only reverse configuration drift, it can also eliminate malware and other malicious or unused software.
Remote troubleshooting is more than a trend, it’s a valuable buffer against both simple and complex IT issues. In fact, research from MetricNet discovered companies that use remote support management tools tend to have higher average first-contact and first-level resolution rates. Even companies that aren’t planning to transition a significant portion of their workforce to a remote capacity need to have effective support structures in place, which is where Faronics can help.
Faronics’ Deep Freeze application can help organizations cut down on help desk support tickets and troubleshooting activities by making workstation configurations indestructible. End users can resolve their own IT problems with a simple restart, whether they’re working remotely or in office.