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24×7 True Network Support

Dave Hodgdon of PCG talks about 24×7 network support, what it includes, why companies should be looking at this service, and how PCG can help.

John Maher:     Welcome to Tech Tuesday brought to you by PCG, managed IT services company in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I’m John Martin, with me today from PCG is Dave Hodgdon. Welcome Dave.

Dave Hodgdon:     How are you doing today, John?

John:     Good, thanks. So Dave, today we’re talking about 24×7 true network support. So, what is true 24×7 network support mean?

What Is 24×7 Network Support?

Dave:    John, so many people hear 24×7, there’s a lot of unknowns. It’s kind of vapor. What am I really getting by 24×7? Is it an actual person? Is there actually somebody at the other end of the phone? Is it just monitoring? What really happens?

So over time, especially over the last few years, we’ve realized that people really do need to work after hours and on weekends and that’s really what it’s geared toward John is supporting people up to 10, 11 o’clock.

Not like three in the morning that I’m going to have a body sitting here waiting for you, but giving the people the support they need and supporting the users, supporting the network, supporting the line of business applications, giving them what they need so they’re staff can work.

Why Should Businesses Look for 24×7 Support?

John:     Why should businesses be looking for this type of service? What advantages does it have over more traditional IT management?

Dave:    I think a lot of people now aren’t always just working eight to five and you might have a deadline on a project at your construction company. You might be sick a few days and you need to get caught up on the weekend. We all know during the COVID situation, a lot of people are at home taking care of families and their kids. They can’t work their normal hours. So in today’s world, being more and more in the Cloud and on the internet, just not in the building, you need to make sure the resources are on, have the resources available to help those people. If they can’t get to an application, they can’t print, their email’s not working, if there’s a security breach, working eight to five just doesn’t cut it anymore for IT.

Just like your police. They don’t work eight to five. There’s always someone on call. Same with the fire department. You know, hopefully it doesn’t happen, but they’re there for you.

John:     Right, and like you said, with people working from home, they’re maybe not necessarily working the standard nine to five kind of hours. They’re doing a few hours in the morning. They’re taking care of some family things. Then they’re coming back and working in the evenings, that sort of thing. So you need to be able to be there to support them when whenever they’re using their computers.

Dave:    I think that’s a good point, John, especially in today’s working environment. Employers like to give the employees some flexibility in when they can do their work, whether it’s at the office, at home, the key is if you give them what they do, they deliver it, they give their hours. It doesn’t bother me if my tech is working eight to five or if he wants to work from three to 11. I know there’s stuff that they can do.

Is 24×7 Support Overseas or in North America?

John:     So Dave, is this 24×7 support overseas or here in North America?

Dave:    We have it in North America, John. In the past, we did our NOC and some of our services, and we tried help desk, we tried projects overseas, and you’re kind of forced to do this early on in our journey here of being a managed service provider because the resources weren’t here.

It’s very costly to do a lot of things here in the states and they made it very affordable. But after you’ve done this for a while, the communication seems to just not be the same. It was difficult with the different hours, trying to communicate with different people. You know, we tried, we had good intentions, but it just didn’t work as well.

So, we did the research. We have a great relationship now. It’s a lot more expensive, but the results are better for us and the results are going to be way better for the clients. It’s just a matter of better experience speaking in English.

And we’ve all been there when you do calls and you don’t know where it’s going to be and trying to understand the language barrier. I think a lot of people get frustrated. It’s very nice to be speaking English and you understand and you’re communicating and we’re all on the same page.

What’s NOT Included in 24×7 Network Support

John:     Right. Is there anything that the 24×7 support does not include?

Dave:    You might have some proprietary applications. Our job is to keep it running, but if there’s an issue within the application, that’s on their agreement. Our job is to get the point, “Oh, it appears to be here’s the issue. We’re going to have to deal with the vendor.” But if they’re not open 24×7, we can’t communicate on your behalf. They would have to go do other things.

So let’s say their line of business, it’s a manufacturing job, it’s down and it might be their end that’s down. It could even be on their Cloud or on their servers, John, we can’t help with that. So you really need to understand, but at least communicating what the problem is. At least the user knows what they are. We can’t control the power or if the Internet is up or down. We’ll act on their behalf. We’ll contact the internet provider.

Usually when we shoot for 24×7, we almost want to make the customer insist that having that second circuit in place, we’ve spoken about that in the past of having that redundant circuit, but if the internet is down, there’s nothing we can do and there’s nothing they can do.

If the powers out, a storm or potential storm, we’ve seen those come and go. Those are certain things that it’s all “best effort”. If there’s no power, there’s no internet, there’s very little we can do.

How Can PCG Help?

John:     And how is it that PCG sort of helps with that whole process?

Dave:    I think we kind of got to review the current agreement and understand what you’re trying to accomplish. I mean, what is your business environment? If you’re an eight to five shop having that stuff after hours might not be important, but it might be important for a few key people that want that service after hours. We need to know what your vendors you have in place and what they offer.

A lot of people on their internet, it’s not a managed circuit. So a lot of stuff through a Comcast or a standard cable provider, it’s best effort. There’s no guarantee on that service. You kind of need to understand all the players in there, not only on your equipment, on your network infrastructure. If equipment isn’t in place or has a warranty, if you’ve got a 24×7 contract and your server doesn’t have a 24×7 warranty in place, the server fails, it’s not good for anyone. So you’d want to make sure that 24×7 is in place. We’d act on the client’s behalf to contact HP, Dell, Lenovo, get that part expedited and get it replaced for them.

But I just think knowing about the issues John and communicating with the point of contact is vital and it just gives them peace of mind, instead of them just sitting, wondering what’s next. At least they know what’s going on. They’re not waiting around and they know that we’re on top of it for them.

The Biggest Values of 24×7 Network Support

John:     And what do you think are the biggest values?

Dave:    I think it’s about the company making money. If they can’t work, they can’t make money. I think you’ve got to give your staff the needed resources to do their job. I think it’s giving them the service they need, because otherwise your clients, if they can’t get to you, they might go to another provider.

So I think it’s important to allow you to service them. I just call it peace of mind, John. It’s just knowing that it’s there. It’s like having insurance. You’re not always going to use it, but for the short amount of money to upgrade to the full 24×7 and especially where IT, we all rely on that more and more, it’s a nice thing to have in place.

John:     All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dave. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dave:    You got it.

John:     And for more information, you can visit the PCG website at pcgit.com or call 603-431-4121.