What tier of IT support does your business need: 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th line?

It support tiers

Making sense of IT support means clearly understanding what your business needs. Larger, more complex organisations usually have more complex IT needs.

Digital transformation, staff using their own devices and apps, programmes to remove extensive paperwork and manual filing usually make companies more reliant on IT support, but this doesn’t mean you should sign up to complex, lengthy and expensive contracts.

When trying to plan IT support services, whether it means working with an internal IT help desk, external partner, or a mix of both, you may have heard of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Line Support. These are the most common forms of IT support, with the 4th line a reference to external software vendors or senior IT consultants with decades of experience.

You’ll also come across different terminology that means essential the same thing. Tier 1, 2 and 3 are the same as Level 1, 2 and 3; 1st, 2nd and 3rd line support are also the same.

So what tier of IT support do you need? Read on…

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Some IT companies also refer to 0 Line, which means self-service systems, such as FAQs, Bots and Knowledge Banks that don’t involve anyone with IT skills fixing a problem, since they are designed to ensure customers can resolve issues themselves.

With decades of IT experience, we’ve put together this quick reference guide for companies unsure what tier of IT support your business needs.

Tiers of IT support

Tier 1 Support Desk

Increasingly, we are seeing a shift from Tier 1 to self-serve, since traditionally, problems that Tier 1 handled now include things that customers can fix themselves, such as password resets. Automated software and systems are taking over a lot of the basic, easy issues, which means Tier 1 is about problem-solving and escalating to other tiers of