Tech Support, IT Professionals Weigh In On Working Through Christmas
December 25, 2013

Christmas Is The Season Of Tech Support Nightmares

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Many people will be opening high-tech presents this holiday season, but unfortunately not everything is going to work. Of course the normal solution is to call tech support for help. Therefore, in order to save Christmas for one person, another person will have to be on the other end of the line. As the world goes more high-tech, the more things can go wrong and someone has to be there to fix it.

Computer World reported on Tuesday, according to net management vendor Ipswitch, some 46 percent of IT pros will be on-call over the holidays to troubleshoot network, security and application problems.

"Be sure to thank your hardworking IT pro this holiday season, as they may be giving up downtime with friends and family to make sure your networks have uptime," said Ennio Carboni, president and general manager at the Ipswitch Network Management Division, in a statement as reported by Computer World reporter Ann Bednarz.

While IT pros might not appreciate the chance they could be pulled away from dinner to solve a problem, past experience has shown it may be necessary. Nearly one in every three IT pros has been called to respond to a major network outage during the holiday season.

Some are common problems. such as the inability to access a network remotely – cited by 51 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Ipswitch – as well as 26 percent of respondents who said poor application performance was a reason they were called. A total of 17 percent respondents were called regarding forgotten passwords, which suggests many employees may be looking to check email over the holidays.

Based on prior events, the most common reason for an IT call was for a server crash, and 41 percent of respondents said this had occurred in the past. Other common problems included a laptop that needed to be repaired (15 percent), an electronic key fob not working or someone being otherwise unable to access a building (8 percent), loss of company mobile phone (7 percent), and malware or virus (7 percent). The more serious attack on the network was an issue for seven percent of respondents.

The survey also asked IT pros about resolutions, and CIO reported many respondents said they would rather plan ahead, review and develop strategies.

“The top five New Year's resolutions were: to spend more time planning and less time fire-fighting (37 percent), to develop BYOD policies (36 percent) to tighten and review security policies (31 percent), to have greater visibility of what is happening on the network (29 percent), to know what is wrong with the network before users notice (24 percent),” reported CIO.

However, that is for next year. Those not called in to trouble shoot a problem said such concerns are still on their mind. The survey found 56 percent of IT pros said they will be worried about what could happen, even when they’re off the clock.

“It simply is not necessary for the hard working, under-appreciated people in IT to spend their time fire-fighting problems on their networks - regardless of the time of year - when they would rather be planning,” Alessandro Porro, VP of international sales at the Ipswitch Network Management Division, told CIO reporter Sam Shead. “It is evident that many these problems could be managed remotely by network monitoring technologies which could identify the exact sources of problems to prevent issues such as server crashes and poor application performance.”