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What responsive IT support looks like

Being “responsive” is frequently used doctrine at Umbrella Managed Systems, but we wanted to ask ourselves what does being responsive mean to us? Traditionally, when IT companies say they are responsive, they are referring to their standard helpdesk support services. Quite often these metrics include the time it takes to engage, respond, and resolve an issue. For certain, helpdesk responsiveness is important, so we keep a tight eye on helpdesk KPIs and publish our SLA metrics in our quarterly client newsletter.

While we agree that a responsive helpdesk is a critical component of world-class IT services, the need for true responsiveness extends beyond the helpdesk to areas such as cybersecurity, emergency response, and even long-term IT strategy planning.

At Umbrella, we pride ourselves on our culture of responsiveness by treating our client’s business as our own and making decisions accordingly. Take a few minutes and let us paint a picture of how Umbrella intertwines responsiveness into all our offerings.

Responsiveness in helpdesk support

We have already touched on the importance of a responsive helpdesk, but we need to dissect what this means for you. Our team works around the clock, 365 days a year, to provide on-call services, monitor your network, run updates/backups, and much more. Disruptions to IT impact business operations, so these services allow us to minimize downtime.

An internet outage in Topeka

Recently one of our clients located in Topeka, KS called to report an Internet Service Provider (ISP) issue. To keep it simple, their staff was unable to access the internet. Right away our tier 1 engineer started to work with their onsite contact and ISP vendor to perform standard ISP troubleshooting protocols.

The vast majority of ISP outages can be resolved remotely. But after spending several minutes completing the standard protocol, the tier 1 engineer threw a flag because a resolution plan wasn’t quickly identified. At this point, our Reactive Operations Service Manager made the call to dispatch a tier 2 engineer to the client’s site in Topeka to get eyes on the ground, just in case we couldn’t resolve remotely. While the second resource was en route, the first engineer continued to work the issue and gather pertinent information for the tier 2 resource. Our resource got about halfway to the client’s site and the ISP restored services and the client’s site came back online. We tested, confirmed the site was online and called our resource back. The client was thankful for the way we responded to this issue and quickly deployed a resource to assist, even though the issue was resolved before they ever made it on site.

Proactive responsiveness

Of course, responsiveness is baked into our helpdesk, but that is not where it ends. We manage major IT projects and roll out new hardware/software and updates for our clients, and these complicated projects can result in an influx of support requests. We like to respond to these beforehand and schedule an engineer onsite the day of project hardware/software rollouts to assist staff and deal with fallout.

Additionally, we deploy a Proactive Operations (ProOps) team that serves as an onsite IT resource for our clients. They regularly visit client sites, perform technology alignments, and look for any potential weak links in client infrastructure. We can identify and remediate potential issues without the client having to submit a helpdesk request.

Take a second and ask yourself, when was the last time your IT provider was onsite to support a major upgrade or proactively review your infrastructure for weakness?

Our leadership team constantly pushes for improvements and sets company SLA goals. Our reactive operations team meets regularly to review these numbers and response times. As a result, we are constantly exceeding our SLA targets. It is no wonder our helpdesk team was able to resolve 98% of support requests and achieve a 99.35% customer satisfaction rate.

Responsiveness in a cybersecurity incident

As cyber-attacks continue to increase at an alarming rate and grow in sophistication and frequency, you need to partner with an IT service provider that takes this threat seriously. Umbrella is committed to protecting clients and taking command of their cybersecurity. Responding to a cybersecurity breach takes planning, constant monitoring, swift action, and postmortem follow-up. We recently highlighted three Kansas City based organizations that fell victim to cybersecurity crimes and the fallout from the breaches.

To protect our clients, we build out responsive cybersecurity plans in layers to ensure our clients are thoroughly protected. This includes a full overview of their current standing and working with them to help them understand cyber liability insurance.

Of course, we deploy a range of network monitoring tools to detect any security breach in its early stages. These tools can locate, report, and even stop threats that make it past in-place security protocols. By throwing up alerts, our Security Operations Team (SOC) is also able to quickly respond to and isolate a security threat. We work to protect every channel of your organization including email, web traffic, proprietary data, and more.

In the rare instance in which a client may experience a data breach we’ve taken the steps to be ready to respond with our well-defined Incident Response Plan. Our layers of planning and preparation allow us to swiftly identify where the breach occurred, lock the network down, and mitigate exposure. True responsiveness is critical to identify issues, protect assets, detect threats, and ensure swift recovery.

Responsiveness to an unprecedented emergency

Although cybercrime often takes center stage, it’s not the only security threat that businesses face. Natural disasters, technical failures, and human error can all result in equally damaging downtime and data loss. To minimize the effects of these incidents, you must be ready to respond. Time and again, Umbrella has responded to these challenges.

A cold week in February

Umbrella is headquartered in Kansas City and any local will tell you we have no shortage of adverse weather conditions. This last February we experienced a week with sub-zero temperatures. These extreme conditions forced the local power company to roll out controlled power outages that impacted a third of our clients. If you pull the power on thousands of computers and servers, some devices are bound to not come back online properly. 

Once Umbrella was made aware of the pending outages, we responded by rallying the team. Our overnight resources were made aware, and we were on the ground at 6am with tier 2 and 3 engineers. With the team in place and ready we were able to bring the majority of these client sites back online by midday. It is this type of responsiveness that allowed us to provide top tier support in a situation that could have gone south fast.

In another instance, our client had a water pipe burst on the weekend in the server room, destroying all servers and networking equipment. Because of our proactive mentality, we were well prepared with an incident response plan, spare servers, and detailed client documentation that made it possible for us to start planning their recovery before even going on site. Backups were in place, and we were able to queue them up to start the restoration. By making ourselves ready to respond, we were prepared with the right hardware and BDR protocols. We quickly engaged the management and our support teams and were able to restore functionality by Monday.

Take a moment and ask yourself how responsive your existing IT solutions provider is

We have explained what responsiveness looks like at Umbrella and how it truly benefits our clients. If you’re seeking a responsive managed service provider in the greater Kansas City area, Umbrella Managed Systems guarantees responsive service, from helpdesk support right through to disaster recovery. Contact us today to find out more.

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