What is Remote Server Support? How to choose the best support service
Servers need to be maintained.
Or else it’ll break down; much like how your car would, if it’s not serviced.
But who would maintain it? Servers are notorious for its cryptic errors, and complex terminologies.
For an average user, administering a server feels almost like taking a PhD in computer science.
Big companies hire server specialists inhouse to take care of their servers, but their salaries can cost upwards of $6000/admin/month.
That’s too steep for small & medium sized businesses (SMBs), which is where Server Management Companies can make a difference.
Server management companies support servers remotely using an administrative interface, so that business owners don’t have to hire a person inhouse.
This is otherwise known as Remote Server Support.
Let’s explore more:
What is Remote Server Support?
Remote Server Support is a service provided by Server Administration Companies that includes on-demand administration, periodic server maintenance (updates, securing, optimization, etc.) and 24/7 monitoring & emergency support.
The engineers work from a remote location, instead of on your premises. It helps you cut costs, and reduce management overhead.
There are two popular ways to deliver this service:
- Dedicated Support – The support company assigns an engineer exclusively to the server owner. For all intents and purpose, this engineer works as a staff of the server owner, but at 1/3rd the cost, and without the excess baggage that includes salary administration, office infrastructure maintenance, hiring, training, and more.
- Shared Support – This plan provides a cheaper way to access 24/7 monitoring and management. A team of server experts manage a pool of servers belonging to many companies. The cost of support is shared among these companies, and thereby it costs lesser than dedicated support.
What kind of Remote Server Support plan is ideal for you?
Here at Bobcares, we provide server maintenance plans to web hosts, digital marketers, online publishers and other online businesses.
Our customers contact us with a wide range of requirements. To give you an idea of what plan is good for you, here’s a break-up of their support needs, sorted by which plans they chose:
- Dedicated Support
- Complex infrastructure – Some businesses have highly specialized software and use customized server systems to meet their needs. Such systems need in-depth expertise, which that can be delivered only by a person working exclusively in those systems.
- Customized support processes – There are companies that have multiple tech teams working with each other (eg. developers, designers, on-site engineers, etc.). So, infrastructure support will need a higher level of coordination than most companies, which is an ideal fit for dedicated support.
- High support volume – Some server systems, such as cloud hosting servers or SaaS servers need close monitoring and quick support to meet SLA targets. These systems generate a lot of alerts, and a dedicated support team is more cost effective in resolving these than a per instance model.
- Business & Technology consultation – A competent support company can help you make the right technology choices. Some companies use our engineers as consultants to design, implement and maintain their new systems.
- Shared Support
- Standard server configuration – The vast majority of online businesses out there use stock version of operating system and admin software. These systems may not need highly specialized support, and might be a good fit for shared support model.
- Occasional assistance – Website and App owners may need occasional support with upgrades, error troubleshooting or small changes. The shared support model uses a per instance (aka per hour) billing model which is a good fit for such a requirement.
- Periodic maintenance – All systems need regular patches and updates. The shared support model provides a great way for an expert to oversee and execute these maintenance activities, while keeping the support costs low.
- 24/7 monitoring & emergency support – The biggest reason companies look for support is to ensure 24/7 service uptime. With the shared support model, you get experts to keep an eye on your servers and rectify issues 24/7 at a low cost.
All said, these are just indicative of what plan server owners tend to choose.
To know what kind of support will be ideal for you, click here to get a free consultation with a service solutions expert.
How to choose the best Remote Server Support provider
Now, how do you know which company to choose to manage your server?
You want them to be available 24/7, and be reliable as a rock.
Here are a few pointers to choose the best support provider:
1. Is it a person or a company?
Individuals (eg. freelancers) can be unpredictable. They might get sick, could become unreachable, or just vanish one day without a trace.
On the other hand, companies won’t vanish one fine day. Even if one person quits or is unavailable, they’ll have a backup option.
Companies have the manpower to offer 24/7 monitoring & support, which means you no longer need to sleep with one eye open. A tech company will have enough experts around (collective expertise) to quickly resolve complex issues that might come up.
When choosing a support company:
- Check how long this company has been in existence. The longer a company has been in the industry, the more mature their systems will be to deliver 24/7 service.
- Look at their reviews in niche industry forums (eg. web hosting forums).
2. How experienced is the support company?
The benefits of contracting a company for server support goes beyond reliable availability.
A good outsourced support provider will be able to advice you on the best practices in the industry based on their experience in managing hundreds of other clients.
Which brings us to the question about experience.
If your support company has several years (or decades) of experience in your business, you’ll gain access to time-tested insights into how best to organize and run your business.
You no longer need to do trial and error on setting up new systems or implementing a new policy. Your support team will tell you what works best based on real world examples.
So, when choosing a support team,
- Look at how long this company has been in existence.
- Look for a company that has specific expertise in your business technology (eg. Suse Linux, Windows 2016, etc.)
- Ask for a free consultation on how to resolve your business problems. If you get insightful, practical advice, you know you are in the right company.
3. What are the qualifications of the support team?
These days vendors provide extensive documentation to resolve day-to-day server issues.
Suse Linux, Red Hat, Windows, IIS – all these have good docs, but no amount of documentation can cover all possible issues that can occur in real life.
Suggested fixes may not work. There won’t be a relevant doc for your specific issue. Or the doc could be too hard to understand.
That is why you need your support engineers to be an expert who has more than a superficial knowledge about your business technology.
Your support engineer should have a fundamental understanding of how computer systems work, how operating systems are built, the differences between them, and how to build one from scratch.
In short, you need your support person to be a Computer Science Engineer, who can deep dive into a problem and resolve the issue with or without docs.
When choosing a support team,
- Ask if the engineer is a Computer Science Engineering graduate.
- Ask for the work experience and resume.
- Request a free consultation to evaluate the knowledge of the engineers before you hire them.
Remote Server Support is a service provided by Server Administration Companies that includes on-demand administration, periodic server maintenance (updates, securing, optimization, etc.) and 24/7 monitoring & emergency support. Today we’ve seen how to choose a support plan best fits you, and how to choose the best support company.