Plain English Guide to IT Support
IT Support Guide
Here you will find all the information and links that you need to fully understand GCC’s IT support.
See how you can get the most from your support contract.
Service Desk Overview
The GCC service desk is designed to deliver four key user support services as follows:
- Break-Fix – To facilitate rapid triage and resolution of the many types of incidents that can occur when using modern IT services and business applications.
- Service Requests – Provide capacity for requests in the day-to-day administrative management of your IT systems.
- Help and Advice – Provide day to day help and advice to ensure that all your users get the maximum value out of the installed IT systems.
- GCC Pro-active – Monitor, patch and update systems, security and IT solutions proactively.
Each of the types of user support listed above is delivered by our service desk according to well established principles, originally based on ITIL standards (ITIL = Information Technology Infrastructure Library).
User Requests and Incidents
All user requests and incidents are categorised using a methodology where all incidents are reviewed for the severity of the incident. Severity levels are based upon ‘impact’ and ‘urgency’.
See below for further information on how request and incidents are reviewed and processed.
Note: In order for us to provide you with a quality service, please ensure anyone who contacts the service desk is familiar with this information prior to doing so and agrees to adhere to the procedures and guidelines within.
GCC Plain English Guide to Support Contracts
A support contract with GCC provides help and advice in order to resolve the day-to-day issues that arise in the course of operating what can be complicated IT systems and business applications.
There are obviously limitations to this support and times where day to day support translates over to chargeable consultancy and sometimes the cross-over area / definition can be grey.
The below is intended to try and explain the basic reasoning behind these support service limitations.
What is the Support Procedure?
- Incidents are submitted by the customer via the GCC customer online portal accessed from the GCC main web site: GCC Customer Online Portal or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0345 260 1151.
- An Incident ticket number will be issued by GCC, upon receiving the Helpdesk query, and the reference number will be emailed to the customer.
- Based on the service SLA (service level agreement) of the support contract, and the information given by the Customer, GCC will classify the severity of the ticket. The ticket will then be elevated through the support teams, as deemed necessary by GCC, to bring resolution to the incident.
- To facilitate the resolution of the incident GCC will, if necessary, connect remotely to either the servers or the user’s device.
- Once a solution has been found and the fault or error is resolved, the ticket status will be changed to ‘solved’. Once the Customer has been notified that the Incident has been resolved, then unless the Customer notifies GCC otherwise, after 48 hours the ticket status shall be moved to ‘closed’.
What does Standard Support include?
GCC support contracts provide various support services to assist the customer in the smooth running of their IT systems.
- The support contract covers any hardware and software listed as a Supported Item on the asset schedule, listed in the support contract. This list can be modified (up or down) on a periodic basis and appropriate commercial adjustments made.
- Broadly speaking, standard support is defined as reasonable remote assistance for when a Supported Item that was previously operating correctly now malfunctions.
- Support also includes as standard, service requests (for example adding a new user) help and advice (for example showing where a report is stored in the menu structure) along with pro-active activities (for example updating / patching a server).
- This contract relies on and requires GCC to have a seamless remote connection access to the Supported Items. If GCC does not have admin access to the supported systems, then delays will occur.
What does Standard Support not include?
You can think of a support contract as an insurance policy. We are at your disposal every working day of the year. We know that sometimes customers will contact us less frequently and sometimes it will be more frequently.
If the system stops working, or you need help and advice, then we’re here to help. However, typically, if you want to change something, i.e. the system currently does X and you want it to do Y in the future, then that would be chargeable consultancy. We typically refer to this as ‘adds/moves/changes’
Similarly, to be fair to all our customers, there has to be a differentiation between ‘help and advice’ and ‘training’ We expect everyone that contacts the service desk to have had some training on the systems that they have an issue with. Help and advice does include access to our library of training videos, manuals, FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) lists and KBA’s (Knowledge Base Articles)
Also, typically if we show you how to access a specific function, it’s support. If you want us to process something, then this is typically chargeable consultancy
Finally we would further explain and point out if you want to add, move or change something on your existing system, there is risk involved and you should always think of the following (hence the need typically for additional consultancy):
- What are we trying to achieve, what might be the unintended consequences?
- Who will the change affect, is everyone OK with the proposed change?
- Where is the written specification of the change? So that everyone on the service desk and at the customer site can see what the new functionality is intended for.
- Who has reviewed the proposed change from a technical point of view?
- Who has reviewed the proposed change from an end user process point of view?
- Who is going to test the change (and sign it off)?
- Where is the test system? – if there’s a change made on a live IT system, this can be high risk and is not recommended.
- Training – how do you ensure that every user knows how to use the new functionality properly?
Because all the above steps need to be thought through before initiating any addition, deletion, or other change to a system configuration, it invariably will involve chargeable consultancy time and cannot be delivered properly via the service desk.
In brief, any item / asset that is not detailed in the Supported Items list is not supported, however there are some areas that can be a little “grey” and so are expanded upon below.
Standard Support does not include:-
1. The provision of any on-site services or activities unless expressly listed in Supported Items.
2. Any incidents caused by the Customer changing the configuration of the Supported Items (for example adding or removing hardware or software to the Supported Items). If this kind of work is required to be undertaken by GCC, it will be considered as project work.
3. Support is not a substitute for Disaster Recovery (e.g. fire, theft, flood, etc) and extended Business Continuity (e.g. total hardware failure, malware attack) plans, these should be dealt with separately. Various Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) strategies are available to minimise and/or mitigate the risks involved with IT infrastructure and Business Application failure.
4. Home devices – we don’t support home ADSL/ PC’s / printers / Xbox etc. (unless it is of business quality and clearly defined and listed within Supported Items).
5. Mobile phones, tablet devices and the software on these devices, unless the device and the specific software items are listed in Supported Items. This support is not a substitute for support from your mobile phone and airtime providers, but to assist them in diagnosing issues.
6. The use of a support contract as a substitute for operator or administrator training. New employees should be trained as required. GCC can assist in defining and identifying the need for training – tickets can be tracked by user and reported to the customer as required to identify the training requirements.
7. Any hardware or software that is deemed ‘end of life’ by the manufacturer, as it will have very limited support capability. Software providers such as Microsoft will announce ‘end of life’ dates. Any ‘end of life’ support shall be given at GCC’s discretion and will be limited in nature.
8. The use of a support contract as a substitute for professional business advice such as accountancy practices, tax advice, IT system architecture advice or auditing, IT performance evaluation or IT licence reporting or evaluation.
9. The use of a support contract for cleaning/manipulating data or the creation/amendment of reports (Some business application contracts do include for limited report creation) or extraction of data. Service desk support for corrupt data is limited to restoring the latest backup of data to the live system. The service desk is not responsible for creating data backups.
10. Support for Microsoft Office or Google programs, or their equivalents, unless this is expressly listed in Supported Items.
11. Database administration, such as administration of SQL databases for Sage 200, Microsoft Dynamics CRM or SharePoint unless database administration is explicitly stated in the Supported Items list.
12. The routine supply and install of every patch, roll up, hot fix, firmware or driver upgrade issued by a manufacturer. However, patches are applied to Supported Items, as defined in the GCC patch policy document. Patches are also applied as required, to fix specific issues that the customer may be experiencing, but this is at GCC’s discretion.
13. The installation of and/or migration to a more recent version of the Supported Items. Ie Upgrades. Some business application software support, typically SaaS software, does include the basic upgrade of the core operating system and this is included where specified (eg Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central).
14. The connection, or installation of non-supported items to Supported Items.
15. Devices that do not meet the manufacturers recommended minimum specifications for connection to the Supported Items.
16. Data restoration to the exact time of corruption. All data is the responsibility of the customer. The standard support contract Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is that any data loss or corruption will be rectified by re- instatement of the last correct data from the latest backup media. The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is however long it would take to restore and verify the backup. If a customer requests that any corrupt data be repaired – this will be chargeable even if the data corruption is due to hardware/software malfunction. Various Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) strategies are available to minimise and/or mitigate the risks involved with data loss and repair.
17. Complete restoration of a major hardware failure. It is important to note that in the event of a hardware failure, any on-site warranty (such as an HP CarePack or Cisco SmartNet Service or Cisco Now Service) has a limited scope of repair. This typically includes restoration of the hardware back to a basic operating position. This manufacturers standard warranty repair (and some enhanced repair options) usually excludes the installation of the factory default Operating System (i.e. Windows Server 2012, 2019 etc). Hardware warranty will not include for the configuration of other devices or any reloading of operational (i.e. Microsoft SQL) or business application (i.e. Sage 200) software, as this usually requires an on-site visit by a technician. As the range of software and configuration is considerable, it is excluded from this support contract unless re-installation is specifically included in Supported Items. Additional charges to complete the rebuild will be incurred.
18. Time to affect repairs to your Supported Item caused by spyware, trojans, viruses, ransomware, or other such malware is excluded. If repairs because of cyber-attack are needed, then the Supported Item (eg a PC) may need to be returned to GCC or the manufacturer for a rebuild, if the supported item is a server then this may require a site visit. All rebuilds / site visits etc would involve additional costs to be advised at the time. Note – recovery from cyber attack often takes days if not weeks, all depending on he size and complexity of your company’s IT infrastructure. However, if you have a good backup and recovery plan in place, you can minimize the downtime and get back up and running as quickly as possible.
SUPPORT NOTE: Cyber Security
Cyber security is the means by which individuals and organisations reduce the risk of becoming victims of cyber attack.
Cyber security’s core function is to protect the devices we all use (smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers), and the services we access – both online and at work – from theft or damage. It’s also about preventing unauthorised access to the vast amounts of personal information we store on these devices, and online.
Cyber security is important because smartphones, computers and the internet are now such a fundamental part of modern life, that it’s difficult to imagine how we’d function without them. From online banking and shopping, to email and social media, it’s more important than ever to take steps that can prevent cyber criminals getting hold of our accounts, data, and devices.
A proper Cyber Security strategy is essential in today’s world and is additional to any support contract.
Contact GCC for further details.
Support Boundary Matrices
To further assist customers we have support boundary matrices with a quick reference guide as to what tasks or issues are typically included within a standard support contract, and which would be considered additional consultancy.
This is by no means a definitive list of all tasks, but it does include the most commonly raised questions.
Click here to see the Support Boundary Matrices.
We’re here to assist.
GCC Customer Support Portal
The GCC Customer Service portal lets you quickly access support as soon as you need it. As well as providing a direct line of communication between you and the GCC team.
Our quick response commitment mitigates costly disruptions to your operations.
We offer a variety of support services across the online incident portal, and we recommend all of our customers utilise the incident management portal.
Via our self-service portal you can:
- Log support tickets
Log a support ticket for your software, hardware, connectivity, or other IT system as soon as you need it.
- Full ticket reporting management
Open, edit and close tickets easily – plus you can view your complete incident reporting history.
- Information & training resources
Build your own expertise with a comprehensive library of online guides and documentation.
- Service desk performance
Access full company analysis of incident reporting history and assess service desk performance.
GCC will publish any updates to IT solutions and support services for users to view at their convenience.
As well as being a hub of information and self-service resources, the portal complements our service desk, with the capability to raise, monitor and manage support tickets.
Registering is quick and easy and provides your employees with 24/7 access to support material to keep your business running as smoothly as possible.
A few of our delighted customers who use the Customer Online Portal
Services – Support Services
Support Services help your business and users run at peak efficiency.
GCC understand the pace and change when it comes to technology – GCC support ensures your business is making the most from its investment.
The GCC customer online portal provides a direct line of communication between you and the GCC support team.
Here you will find all the information you need to fully understand GCC’s IT support.
A quick reference guide as to what tasks or issues are included in support.