Recently I was called by a business that had been experiencing intermittent performance issues with their office network for months. After visiting their office for the first time, I learnt that staff lost hours of productivity each day due to ‘slow’ access to key information. The problem was quickly identified, and monitoring was implemented to provide alerts and information around future network performance.

After this event, I was asked by the manager, what the difference is between proactive and reactive IT support. This is a good question that I am asked regularly by small business. Surprisingly some of these businesses asking already had what was called proactive support… without the ‘proactive’ work been carried out!

A good article on the difference between proactive and reactive support can be found here:

In summary, proactive support acts in advance to deal with issues before they have an impact to the business.

The client’s business would be interrupted by downtime that could have been avoided with proactive monitoring and support

Early on in my career the problems faced around proactive support were typically around limited tools that would effectively and efficiently monitor core infrastructure. As a result, the client’s business would be interrupted by downtime that could have been avoided with proactive monitoring and support. As technology has progressed, so have our monitoring tools which have addressed the majority of business needs.

As of late, I have found the same problems exist in small to medium business as they did many years ago. The main difference between now and then is that there are easy, accessible solutions available now, where previously there were not.

Many people today still face downtime that negatively affects their business, caused by an event that could have been avoided with the correct tools and support. If you have been faced with an event similar to this, I would recommend reviewing your current support arrangements to ensure they are still aligned with your business needs.

I believe the ideal support arrangement is one that is aligned to your business needs, enables a strong relationship with the support provider, and ensures that both parties have a clear understanding on the roles each play in supporting the business in the short and long term.