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The important role of the help desk

Modern businesses rely on computers and other information technology for many processes. Entire organizations are structured around and often based upon the internet. Consequently, the maintenance of these assets is a fundamental requirement for many organizations’ success. Failure to allocate the necessary resources that support a company’s equipment, software and networking will hamper or prevent mission accomplishment. One dynamic that has increased dependence on technological resources is the mobility of the workforce.

More than ever company employees are on the move. The use of cellphones, tablets and laptops for working while on the go is clear evidence of more mobility in operations. These have added yet another layer of equipment and software to the mix. Keeping all the screens and keyboards productive and up to date is the role of the help desk. Help desk personnel handle all sorts of hiccups and snags with information technology around the clock. Meeting the demands of a workforce on the go may best be accomplished with a mobile help desk app that enables assistance for employees and their equipment.

Maintenance responsibilities for IT infrastructure have expanded as the equipment and software powering modern businesses has grown. Today’s help desk personnel face a large landscape of challenges. These include lost or forgotten passwords, inability to access the internet and hardware failures.

Lost or forgotten passwords

The number of work-related services and programs or applications requiring security protocols is astounding. Electronic mail accounts, specific cloud-based applications, as well as locally hosted applications may all include unique password protection for access.  Adding a layer of mobile hardware and software has only increased the number of individual security gates through which users must pass to do their jobs. Requirements to constantly change passwords only adds to the confusion. Memorizing all those passwords becomes a daunting task that few can keep up with.

A degree of automation has been attempted in this process in the form of password managers. However, these are often paid services that have flaws and weaknesses of their own. Biometric security such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition are also available but come at a cost as well. Until some other elegant solution is discovered, recovering and changing passwords will likely continue to be part of daily life for help desk technicians.

Inability to access the internet

Much of the technological horsepower that drives business today resides somewhere on the internet remote from users. The infrastructure of the internet depends upon many layers of both hardware and software and any broken connection means that work comes to a halt. Managing networks is a significant fraction of the workload carried by the help desk. This includes hardware such as routers and modems and software that enables connections and the flow of data over those connections. Wireless technology has helped by eliminating some hardware (mainly wires or fiber optics) from the loop. Help desk technicians must have some level of expertise in troubleshooting networking problems to maintain access for users.

Hardware failures

The hardware in use today includes all kinds of equipment distributed among the workforce. Each of these pieces is susceptible to failure and may require regular maintenance. Printers are a good example. While the paperless office was a highly touted benefit of computer technology it has yet to materialize. Most organizations still rely on printed materials in some form. The ability to produce those is an important part of business operations. If a printer fails it must either be repaired or replaced and reconnected to other equipment. Other pieces of hardware like cellphones, PCs, monitors and hard drives are also susceptible to failure and the help desk is typically responsible for attempting to manage these assets as efficiently as possible.

Today’s business environment relies more than ever on information technology. The help desk plays an important part in the operations of successful businesses. This function within the organization helps to maintain the computer assets that employees depend upon to get their jobs done. Whether it is resetting passwords or troubleshooting the company’s network help desk technicians are vital members of the team.

Photograph by Public Domain Pictures