Maintaining your own data center can be a daunting and expensive task. After all, you'll be responsible for maintaining a staff of IT professionals, keeping up with the latest technology, and ensuring everything runs smoothly. Unfortunately, doing so isn't always cost-effective in most cases – especially if you're running a smaller to mid-sized company.
For this reason, more and more organizations are turning to co-location providers, which can provide the environment and resources needed to run a data center without the hassle of managing it yourself.
But even then, there are still specific tasks that you may need help with, such as hardware maintenance and system monitoring. That's where remote hands and smart hands services come in. The following guide will help break down the differences between the two types of support services so that you can make the best choice for your organization.
What Are “Remote Hands” Support Services?
Remote hands support ensures that a technician is on-site at the data center at all times to provide basic maintenance to help ensure uptime. For instance, as a part of a remote hands support service, an on-site technician may reboot a server if needed, replace hardware, ensure all cables are secure, monitor equipment status on-site, and more.
Remote hands support is a basic service but can be a great way to ensure that your equipment is monitored and maintained without needing to send an additional person to the data center to check on your equipment.
Remote Hands Support Services Pros & Cons
If you're using a colocation provider to maintain your data center off-site, you may want to consider using remote hands support. The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of remote hand support services to keep in mind when making your decision:
These are some of the advantages of using remote hands support services:
- Improve uptime: By having a technician available to be on-site at all times, you can reduce downtime by ensuring that your hardware is performing properly. Doing so helps to ensure your data center is running smoothly and efficiently.
- Save time and money: Remote hands support services allow you to save on labor costs. This is because you don't have to hire and train your own IT personnel to send to the data center for general maintenance and checkups on your hardware.
- Reliability: With remote hands support, you can be rest assured that your data center is monitored 24/7, giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your data center is in capable hands.
- Often free: Basic remote hands support is often included as part of the overall service agreement with your colocation provider. This means your data center is being monitored and maintained without you having to pay additional fees for the service.
These are a few of the disadvantages of remote hands support services:
- Loss of control: By outsourcing your data center management to a colocation provider, you give up a certain degree of control to someone else. Doing so can be a challenge for businesses that like to retain complete control over their data center operations.
- Limited support: Remote hands support services may not be the extensive IT service that you need. For example, they might not be able to troubleshoot a complex issue or provide in-depth maintenance.
Additionally, the technicians providing the support may not even be able to address emergency IT situations because they simply don't have the required skills to do so.
What Are “Smart Hands” Support Services?
Smart hands support services provide remote access from your managed service provider's location. These services allow you to have a team of trained IT professionals available 24/7 who can manage, monitor, and troubleshoot your data center on your behalf.
In contrast to simply doing general hardware checkups, these IT professionals can provide much more extensive IT support and troubleshooting.
Smart Hands Support Services Pros & Cons
There are many benefits to using smart hands support services, but as with any service, there are some drawbacks. The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of smart hands support service to keep in mind:
These are some of the advantages of using smart hands support services:
- Cost savings: By outsourcing your data center management, you don't have to pay for the costs of hiring and training your own IT personnel. This can help you save money on labor costs.
Address emergency IT issues immediately: With a smart hands support service, you can have an on-site technician available to address any IT issues as soon as they arise.
Without such support, you would have to send someone to the data center to address the problem. Depending on how far away you are, this could result in an enormous setback.
- High expertise: Smart hands technicians are generally more experienced and skilled than remote hands technicians, which means they can provide in-depth support and troubleshooting for any issues that occur at your data center.
These are a few of the disadvantages of smart hands support services:
- Loss of control: Just like with remote hands support, using smart hands support services means giving up a certain degree of control to someone else.
- It costs extra: Whereas remote hands support is often included in the overall service agreement, smart hands support services generally cost extra. This means you'll have to pay a higher fee for the added expertise and assurance that comes with the service.
It's not always available: Not all colocation providers offer smart hands support. Additionally, colocation providers will only provide the services that they are equipped to handle, which may not include all of the specific tasks you require.
As such, if you want an extra level of support, you need to make sure that you choose a provider that offers the smart hands support you require.
Remote Hands Vs. Smart Hands: What's The Difference?
At a glance, remote hands and smart hands may seem like very similar support services. However, there are some very big differences between the two. The following is a breakdown of each type of support service:
Remote hands support is provided free of charge in many cases as part of your managed service agreement. However, sometimes the provider may charge a fee for the service, especially if their remote hands support is slightly more extensive than other providers.
Some providers may charge a monthly fee, some may charge you for a certain number of hours per month or year, and some may bill you in 30- or 60-minute increments.
In contrast, smart hands support services come at an extra cost, as they are a more advanced and specialized service requiring additional training and expertise. The price of smart hands support will vary depending on the provider and the specific services you need.
Some providers have monthly plans, while others bill by the hour. Some even allow you to prepay for a set number of hours and then use those hours when needed.
Tasks Covered In Each Support Service
When it comes to remote hands, the support provided is usually kept at a minimum. Meaning the IT personnel at the data center will only handle basic tasks such as:
- Rebooting servers
- Checking and securing cables
- Installing hardware upgrades
- Power cycling
- Monitoring and reporting equipment performance
- Handling shipping and receiving requests
- Managing and labeling inventory
Smart hands support is much more extensive. You can expect smart hands support technicians to perform the following services:
- Move equipment
- Set up and maintain backups
- Handle complex cable configurations
- Set up firewalls
- Configuring network routers and switches
- Provide rack and stacking services
- Test devices and address errors
- Detect threats and respond to them
- Install operating systems and servers
- Perform server restarts
- Power cycle
- Provide on-site and off-site technical support
- Provide troubleshooting
- Pack and unpack equipment for shipping
Both remote hands and smart hands support are provided around the clock, even when your own IT personnel may not be available (such as at night or during the holidays).
However, smart hands support staff typically have more experience and training than remote hands staff. They are often more adept at responding to complex issues. This means that if you need fast, efficient service during an emergency, smart hands support will often be available to troubleshoot or provide support within as little as 30 minutes.
They may use several communication channels, such as WebEx, Zoom, Teamviewer, Slack, WhatsApp, to name a few. Of course, specific service availability (and the communication channels used) varies from provider to provider.
How These Services Impact Your Business
Even if remote hands support requires an extra fee, it can be well worth it. Without such support, you would be forced to routinely send your own IT personnel to the data center to perform basic tasks (such as general maintenance and performance checks).
This costly endeavor can also be highly time-consuming, depending on how far away it is. The cost of travel, the time it takes to get there and do the work, and the cost of paying for the personnel's time can all add up quickly. As such, remote hands support is a no-brainer, even if it requires an additional cost.
Smart hands support, however, can save you time and money in the long run. With smart hands support, you don't have to worry about waiting for your in-house team to respond to complex issues or technical problems.
Instead, smart hands support technicians can provide fast and efficient service, which can mean the difference between solving a problem quickly or a long, drawn-out process that can cost your business both time and money. With smart hands support, you are also free to focus on other tasks, such as developing strategies and services to grow your business.
Choosing The Best Service For Your Needs
When it comes to choosing the best remote hands or smart hands support for your needs, it is essential to consider what type of services you need and your budget.
In general, remote hands support is suitable for companies that require basic maintenance tasks and help with everyday data center operations. In addition, these services are typically more affordable. They are ideal for companies that do not require highly specialized support staff.
On the other hand, smart hands support is designed for more complex tasks and often requires a higher level of expertise.
As such, smart hands support is typically more expensive than remote hands support and can be invaluable when you need quick and efficient service, such as during an emergency. It is also vital to consider the communication channels that your chosen provider uses, as this can make a big difference when you need quick and reliable support.
It's also worth noting that you can take advantage of both types of support. Just because you need smart hands support, it doesn't mean it replaces remote hands support, especially if remote hands support is included in your contract.
This means that you'll simply get the remote hands support as part of your service, in addition to the more specialized smart hands support when needed (especially if the provider bills you incrementally for smart hands support instead of charging you for a monthly plan).
How Hummingbird Networks Can Help You
Both remote hands and smart hands support can be invaluable tools for any business, large or small. With the right provider and services, you can ensure that your equipment is in top shape and that any IT problems are addressed quickly and efficiently.
At Hummingbird Networks, we are here to help you make the right choice based on your specific needs. Our staff has the experience and expertise to help you find the best service levels for your company, and our customer service team is always available to answer any questions that may arise.
Let us help you provide the technology you need for your business. Check out our services here.