Generally, an IT help desk is slightly more administration-focused and can only solve simple IT fixes. IT support is more robust. There are typically 4 tiers of service at an IT support desk, while a help desk usually only has one. This, however, is only a quick overview of the key differences between IT support vs. help desk services.

The differences between the two go beyond that quick overview. There’s a reason why many managed IT service providers (MSPs) offer both services. Some issues can be solved by a help desk, and ticket administration isn’t left to specialists who need time to solve complex problems.

This article will dig into the key differences between these two services. This way, you’ll know exactly who you can talk to when specific issues arise.


“IT support is a customer service role as much as it is a techie job.” – Balaji Selvaraj, Director of IT, Sunco Communication and Installation


A Closer Look at IT Help Desks

What is an IT Help Desk?

An IT help desk serves as a single point of contact that intakes all IT support tickets. The help desk then logs, manages, and resolves the problems if they’re able. If not, they will connect you with the IT support service desk technicians who can.


Who Works at an IT Help Desk?

Help desk agents typically have some background in information technology, but they tend to be more customer service oriented. They won’t have the same level of technical expertise as someone who works at a support desk. However, there are some expectations for this at certain organizations.



A Closer Look at IT Support Service Desks

What is an IT Support Service Desk?

An IT support service desk manages incidents and resolves complex IT issues. They collect the more complex tickets from the help desk and do the work to solve them. There are 3 main types of service desks.

  1. Local service desks are tied to a specific organization and are usually located at or near their office.
  2. Centralized service desks serve a large region and several different clients. They tend to be their own entity instead of being tied to a specific business.
  3. Virtual service desks employ remote staff across multiple locations and do not have a physical location. This is currently the most common model.


Who Works at an IT Support Desk?

The IT support team is a group of tech-savvy professionals who focus on solving tricky technical issues. A degree in a tech-related field and relevant certifications are usually required to be a support specialist. Many began their careers at the help desk and moved on after gaining more experience.


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Why Are IT Help Desks and Support Desks Separate?

Truthfully, not every organization separates its IT help and support desks. Many companies combine the services so their clients can call one desk for both. However, there are some benefits to separating them.



Separating the help desk from the support desk can streamline the process of resolving IT issues. If it’s a simple problem, the help desk can resolve it immediately. If it’s more complex, the issue can be escalated to the support desk. This process ensures that issues are dealt with at the appropriate level, saving time and resources.


Resource Allocation

When help and support desks are separate, it’s easier for an organization to allocate resources effectively. The help desk may need more people but less training while the support desk may need fewer people but more training. Separating them makes it easier to allocate resources appropriately for each need.


Better Customer Satisfaction

With separate desks, callers can receive more personalized service. According to The World Financial Review, 90% of customers feel more satisfied with personalized support and 70% expect it. The efficient process of separating the two desks also makes customers feel valued as their technical problems are addressed more effectively.


When Should You Rely on an IT Help Desk vs. Service Desk?

While help desk technicians log and manage all support tickets, they aren’t capable of solving them all. Here are the cases where a help desk will solve the problem vs. when they’ll escalate it to IT support specialists.


IT Help Desk IT Support Service
Password reset
Software installation
Hardware malfunction
Network connectivity issues
Email issues
Virus or malware infection
Printer issues
Data recovery
System updates
Server issues
Troubleshooting application errors
Configuring new devices
Database issues
IT security breaches
Website issues
Data backup
System performance issues
Software upgrades
Hardware upgrades
User training and guidance

*Please note that the division of responsibilities can vary depending on the specific organization and how they structure their IT support.


Partner With a Canadian MSP Who Offers Both

After reading this article, do you:

  • See the benefits of having both IT support and help desk Services?
  • Understand why the separate desk system is more efficient?
  • Want to find a Canadian provider of both these services?

Sunco Communication and Installation is a great option for you. We’re an Alberta-based managed IT and telecommunications company that provides excellent IT support and help desk services. If you need us for that or any other technology trouble, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact us today to get started and learn more about how we can help.

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