If your IT help desk team isn’t highly trained in cybersecurity and isn’t delivering good customer service to your organization’s end users, you need to get back to the drawing board.
This is made especially true in this post-pandemic working environment in which employees are still highly reliant on technology – and the security of it – to do their jobs, according to the results of a new survey from IT trade organization CompTIA.
The survey suggests that help desks need to be staffed with high quality and highly available help as IT becomes critically important to organizations everywhere.
According to CompTIA, 70% of IT professionals surveyed say demand is increasing for issues related to cybersecurity, while 67% said the same for both securing networks and remote work. Meanwhile, 60% of respondents said there is increasing demand for mobile device support, and 57% said demand is rising for cloud-based services.
Likewise, the skills that organizations expect their IT personnel to have are also evolving. When asked what technology skills the organization deems critical or very important, 76% said cybersecurity as IT teams try to keep their entire organization secure as cyberattacks escalate during this hybrid work experiment.
You don’t need to be an IT expert to understand that cybersecurity should be your priority right now with an alarming number of ransomware attacks and other cyber threats clogging up news headlines.
After cybersecurity, skills in demand include software (71%), network support (70%), operating systems (70%), hardware (69%), cloud/SaaS (67%) and mobile devices (67%).
Seth Robinson, senior director for technology analysis at CompTIA, said in a statement that the help desk has to function at a very high level to support end users in a very tumultuous IT environment.
“This shift is good news for help desk workers because expanding their skills readies them up for more career advancement options,” Robinson noted. “The typical pathway has been to move from a support role to networking and infrastructure. Now opportunities are available in cybersecurity, software, data, project management and other areas.”
On a more human level, organizations are placing a greater emphasis on the customer service of their IT staff. The survey found that 65% of companies rate customer satisfaction as the primary metric for evaluating the effectiveness of their help desk.
Luckily, those satisfaction levels are high, with 83% of respondents completely or mostly satisfied with their help desk support. However, the survey also indicated that there are areas where help desk staff can improve, including better access to user systems, self-support resources, better procedures for hardware issues and more options for contacting the help desk.
Many of these issues can lead to end users taking their tech issues into their own hands and escalate shadow IT in your organization.
The survey also found that AI and automation are finding a larger place in the help desk. According to CompTIA, 72% of respondents said they use such technology for classifying and routing requests and 56% said the same for chatbots. Other AI uses include finding patterns in tickets (55%) and curating a knowledge base (50%). Automation is assisting with status updates (66%), single sign on (62%), ticket follow-up (59%), resetting password (57%) and asset upgrade notifications (50%).
“Help desk technicians are not being replaced by AI and automation,” Robinson noted. “By automating these things we are freeing up staff to do more valuable things.”
Now, a hybrid help-desk model combining in-house staff with outside assistance is becoming more common so routine tasks can be outsourced to free up the internal staff to focus on more complex issues. While 49% of organizations use internal teams exclusively, 46% rely on a combination of internal and external resources, the survey found.