What do computer services include?

Computer services encompass a wide range of activities related to installing, configuring, maintaining, supporting and optimizing computer systems and networks. Some common questions about computer services include:

What are the main categories of computer services? Computer services can be broadly divided into hardware services, software services, and network services. Hardware services involve setting up, repairing and upgrading computer equipment like desktop PCs, laptops, servers, printers, etc. Software services include installing and configuring operating systems, applications, security software, etc. Network services cover activities like deploying routers, switches, WiFi networks, configuring firewalls, VPNs, etc.

Who provides computer services? Computer services are offered by IT consultants, managed service providers (MSPs), OEM vendors, corporate IT departments, computer repair shops, freelancers and remote tech support companies.

What skills are required to provide computer services? Key skills include troubleshooting, critical thinking, communication, operating systems knowledge, networking, security, cloud computing and keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies. Certifications like CompTIA A+, Network+, CCNA, Microsoft certs etc. are also highly desirable.

Why are computer services important for businesses? Efficient computer systems and networks are critical for most businesses today. Computer services maintain productivity by keeping technology infrastructure up-and-running. They also enable growth through deploying new solutions. Outsourcing to expert service providers is often more cost-effective for SMBs.

Categories of Computer Services

Hardware Services

Some examples of common hardware services include:

– Desktop support – Installation, maintenance and troubleshooting of desktop computers, laptops, printers, scanners and other peripherals.

– Server management – Configuring, upgrading, securing and monitoring on-premise servers or cloud servers.

– Data center management – Building, monitoring, upgrading and securing physical data center infrastructure.

– Computer repair – Diagnosing, troubleshooting and fixing problems with computers, laptops, printers and other equipment.

– New computer setup – Unboxing, assembling, configuring and installing new desktop computers, laptops or servers.

– Hardware procurement – Researching, recommending and acquiring new computer hardware based on requirements.

– Data recovery – Retrieving data from failed or damaged storage drives and devices.

– Phone system installation – Setting up business VoIP phone systems up for the local network.

Software Services

Common software-related services include:

– Operating system installation – Performing clean OS installs, upgrades or migrations for Windows, Mac or Linux.

– Application installation – Installing, updating and managing desktop, server or cloud applications.

– User account management – Creating, managing and deleting user accounts across devices and systems.

– License management – Tracking, renewing and consolidating software licenses.

– Cloud services – Provisioning and managing SaaS, IaaS and PaaS services.

– Security – Implementing antivirus, antimalware, firewalls, data encryption and other security solutions.

– Backup and disaster recovery – Configuring automated backup plans, performing periodic backups and restores.

– Scripting and automation – Creating scripts to automate repetitive IT tasks.

– Training and support – Conducting end user software training and providing ongoing how-to support.

Network Services

Network-focused services include:

– Network design & implementation – Architecting, planning, installing, configuring and testing networks.

– Network management – Monitoring, administering and upgrading wired and wireless networks.

– Firewall configuration – Setting up and managing network firewalls, web filtering, and threat protection.

– VPN setup – Configuring and deploying Virtual Private Networks for remote access.

– Email services – Configuring company email, spam filtering, archiving, and security.

– Load balancing – Distributing network traffic across multiple servers to optimize performance.

– Network storage – Setting up and integrating local and cloud storage solutions like NAS, SAN.

– Voice over IP – Deploying VoIP phone systems, including IP phones, PBXes and wiring.

– Network troubleshooting – Diagnosing connectivity issues, outages or degraded performance.

– Cabling – Running, organizing and labeling Cat 5/6 Ethernet cables or fiber.

Who Provides Computer Services?

There is a wide range of professionals and companies that offer computer services:

IT Consultants

IT consultants are technology experts who provide advice and project-based IT services for clients. They assist with activities like assessing current infrastructure, recommending solutions, systems design, procurement, implementation, testing, training, documentation and more. IT consultants often specialize in areas like cloud migration, cybersecurity, network design, etc. Many work independently as freelancers while others work for IT consulting firms.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

MSPs remotely monitor, manage, support and improve a client’s IT infrastructure on an ongoing basis. This can include services like helpdesk, desktop support, server maintenance, network monitoring, security, backup management and more. MSPs aim to improve operations, achieve IT goals and reduce costs for businesses lacking in-house resources.

OEM Vendors

OEM (original equipment manufacturer) vendors like Dell, HP, Microsoft, Cisco etc. offer computer services for their own products. Services may include warranty repairs, extended hardware/software support plans, consulting, training and customized services for complex deployments.

Corporate IT Departments

Internal IT departments in companies provide computer services to business units within their organization. This includes daily user support, installing and upgrading systems, maintaining networks, managing cloud services, data backups, security compliance and new IT projects.

Computer Repair Shops

Local computer repair shops offer walk-in repair services for common issues affecting desktops, laptops, tablets, phones and computer peripherals for consumers and businesses. Services typically include hardware troubleshooting, operating system reinstallation, data recovery, virus removal, part replacements and more.


Independent freelance technicians offer computer services on a contract basis. Freelancers are common for basic services like setting up home networks, printers, building PCs, removing malware, data backups and recovering lost data. They are hired per project rather than as ongoing managed services.

Remote Support Companies

Remote IT support firms provide 24/7 computer support via phone, remote access, email, and chat. They assist with issues like internet connectivity problems, email configuration, printer setup, installing antivirus software, removing viruses, resolving Windows/Mac problems and general troubleshooting.

Skills Needed to Offer Computer Services

Providing quality computer services requires certain technical skills along with soft skills:

Technical Skills

Troubleshooting – Methodically diagnosing and resolving hardware, software, network and other IT problems.

Operating systems – Expertise in supporting and managing Windows, MacOS and Linux environments.

Networking – Installing, configuring and administering wired and wireless network infrastructures.

Security – Implementing solutions to secure devices, applications, networks and data.

Cloud computing – Migrating, deploying, managing and supporting cloud infrastructure and services.

Certifications – Relevant IT certs like CompTIA A+, Network+, MCSA, CCNA, AWS Certified Solutions Architect etc.

Tools knowledge – Proficiency using tools like Active Directory, SCCM, Intune, PowerShell, remote access, virtualization and backup.

Soft Skills

Communication – Clear written and verbal communication tailored to both technical and non-technical audiences.

Patience – Providing support with empathy, patience and positivity. Avoiding technical jargon.

Problem-solving – Logically and systematically approaching any technical challenge.

Self-driven – Being proactive and self-motivated for self-learning and providing proactive solutions.

Time management – Meeting deadlines and productivity targets through planning and prioritizing.

Adaptability – Continuously learning and adapting to new technologies, processes, tools and business environments.

Importance of Computer Services for Businesses

There are several key reasons why quality computer services are critical for businesses today:

Maintains productivity – With computers being essential to operations, prompt IT support maintains employee productivity, avoiding workflow disruptions.

Enables growth – As the business grows, computer services assist with expanding compute capacity, storage, network bandwidth and software capabilities.

Improves efficiency – Optimizing systems, automating tasks and migrating solutions to the cloud improves productivity and efficiency.

Enhances security – Experts can identify vulnerabilities and implement robust cybersecurity defenses to protect the company from threats.

Access to expertise – Given the wide range of technologies, outsourcing to experts allows focus on core business competencies.

Control costs – A managed services contract provides predictable IT expenses compared to break-fix or hiring salaried resources.

Reduces risks – Specialists are better equipped to assess risks, implement resilient IT infrastructure, backup critical data and ensure regulatory compliance.

When Should You Outsource Computer Services?

Here are some common scenarios where outsourcing to IT service providers may be beneficial for organizations:

– No in-house IT staff – Outsourcing provides smaller businesses access to IT expertise without hiring.

– Complex project expertise – Lacking skills to implement a new system, network, migration etc.

– 24/7 support needed – External providers offer continuous monitoring and after-hours support.

– Temporary needs – Covering staff leave or vacancies on a short term basis.

– Dated infrastructure – External expertise helps modernize outdated systems and processes.

– Major issues – Expert help to recover from catastrophic data loss, security breaches, network outages etc.

– Reduce costs – Eliminates expenses of hiring full-time resources for basic IT needs.

– Startups – Allows focusing resources on core business instead of building an IT team early on.

– Mergers & acquisitions – IT integration of companies during mergers and consolidating systems.

– Relocation – Assist in moving, setting up and supporting IT infrastructure at new offices.

Questions to Ask Potential Service Providers

Selecting the right IT service partner is key. Here are important questions businesses should ask when evaluating providers:

– What services do you offer? Look for a provider offering services matching your needs.

– What experience do you have in our industry? Prefer providers with proven experience in your specific industry.

– Are you able to provide references? Reputable providers should be happy to provide client references.

– What are your service level agreements (SLAs)? SLAs provide guaranteed response times and give insights into capabilities.

– How do you monitor systems? Understanding their standards for monitoring and preventative maintenance is useful.

– How do you respond to emergencies? Look for 24/7 phone support and a clear escalation process.

– What security standards do you follow? Important for providers who will access internal systems to outline their security practices.

– How do you keep up with technology? Go with providers who invest in certification and continuous skills upgrade.

– What reporting/dashboards do you provide? Reporting helps gain insights into the health and performance of IT systems.

– How do you determine client technology needs? They should have a structured process for technology assessment.

– How do you communicate with clients? Evaluation communication channels and tools used to interact with clients.

Key Performance Indicators for Computer Services

Tracking KPIs helps evaluate the quality and value delivered by computer service providers:

IT Service KPIs

– First call resolution rate
– Time to resolve tickets
– Ticket reopen rates
– Number of critical incidents
– Mean time to failure
– Mean time to recovery

Customer KPIs

– Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores
– Net Promoter Score (NPS)
– Number of complaints
– Tickets per endpoint

Security KPIs

– Number of security breaches
– Mean time to identify threats
– Mean time to contain threats
– Percentage of systems hardened
– Percentage of patched vulnerabilities

Financial KPIs

– IT expense against budget
– IT spending per user
– Hardware asset utilization rates
– ROI on IT projects
– IT expenses as a percentage of revenue

Compliance KPIs

– Audit findings
– Compliance failures
– License overages
– Training completion rates
– Policy attestation rates

Best Practices in Delivering Computer Services

Some best practices for effectively delivering managed computer services include:

– Set clear SLAs covering performance metrics like response time, uptime, reporting frequency etc.

– Use IT service management (ITSM) tools to track service quality and enable transparency.

– Schedule regular strategy reviews to align technology with evolving business needs.

– Implement security basics like patching, asset management, access controls, principle of least privilege.

– Automate repetitive, manual IT tasks through scripting and remote monitoring/management tools.

– Adopt IT frameworks like ITIL and DevOps to standardize processes and workflows.

– Conduct regular disaster recovery and security drills to validate resilience.

– Develop knowledge bases and self-help tools to enable end-user self-sufficiency.

– Hold regular client training sessions for new technologies, cybersecurity awareness etc.

– Get user feedback through satisfaction surveys, focus groups for service improvement.

– Hire specialists over generalists and invest in expert certifications like CCNA, AWS, Cisco, Microsoft.

– Build in redundancy for critical infrastructure components and internet connectivity.

– Document configurations, network diagrams, credentials etc. to streamline administration.

Pricing Models for Computer Services

IT service providers typically bill clients in one of these ways:

Time and Materials

Clients are billed based on hourly rates for work done by technicians and engineers along with costs for any hardware/software/services expenses.

Pros – Good for new clients with undefined needs or short term projects. Client has more control.

Cons – Unpredictable monthly costs. Could encourage inefficiencies from provider.

Managed Services Subscriptions

A flat monthly fee for a defined suite of proactive, ongoing IT services and support. Scales based on number of users or devices.

Pros – Predictable monthly expense. Incentivizes provider efficiency.

Cons – Service list needs to be comprehensive. Less flexible.

Service Bundles

Tiered monthly packages based on level of support. Basic services + options to add services a la carte.

Pros – More flexible than set MSP subscriptions. Scales needs.

Cons – Still less customizable than time and materials model.


Client pays an upfront yearly fee to guarantee provider’s time/resources. Additional projects are billed hourly.

Pros – Reserves provider time. Could be minimum cost.

Cons – Paying for unused services if hours aren’t utilized.


Billed as a one-time fixed cost after clearly defining project scope and expected outcomes.

Pros – Predictable cost for major upgrades, migrations, refresh projects.

Cons – Only suitable for project work, not ongoing services.

The Future of Computer Services

Here are some trends shaping the future of IT services:

– Expanding use of intelligent automation – AI-driven tools will automate IT tasks and enable self-healing technologies.

– Everything-as-a-service – More services moving to subscription-based cloud delivery model.

– Edge computing growth – Processing data closer to devices/users via local micro data centers.

– Increased specialization – Providers focused on narrow technologies like blockchain, cybersecurity.

– Focus on business outcomes – Partnerships with clients centered on strategic IT goals, not just tech.

– Hybrid models – Blend of on-premise infrastructure combined with multi-cloud solutions.

– Internet of Things – Supporting increased connectivity of devices, wearables, sensors, industrial systems.

– 5G deployments – New wireless infrastructure and devices requiring IT upgrades and optimization.

– Growing cyberthreats – Services to provide advanced security for cloud, mobile, social media and big data.

– Better remote capabilities – Remote monitoring, management and support capabilities improving provider efficiencies.

– The tech skills gap – IT talent shortages ensures ongoing strong demand for outsourced technical skills.

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