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What is first line IT support? Why every business needs it in 2024

In a growing company, every pitch, order or customer call matters. Computer failure or network problems can cause serious consequences, from lost business to damaged customer trust. In fact, IT downtime costs companies $400 billion every year. 

First line IT support is a vital step in ensuring IT issues don’t impact business operations. It is typically the initial point of contact when something goes wrong. First line IT experts help employees or customers troubleshoot and resolve issues quickly, usually over the phone.

In this article, we will explore exactly what first line IT support is, how it compares to other tiers of support, and how outsourcing IT support can provide multiple benefits.  


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What is first line IT support? 

First line IT support — also called level 1 support or front-line support — is the first place that end-users contact when experiencing technical issues. 

Support teams handle general IT issues, carrying out: 

The primary goal of first line support is to quickly address user issues or escalate them to higher-level support if necessary.


What are the other types of IT support?

IT support typically splits into multiple levels or “lines.” Each of these addresses different levels of complexity and specialisation in problem-solving, escalating in expertise and capability.

Second line IT support 

Second line IT support, also known as level 2 support, deals with issues that first line support cannot resolve. Second line technicians have a deeper understanding of systems and software, allowing them to handle more complex problems. 

They often work closely with users to: 

Third line IT support 

Third line IT support, or level 3 support, consists of experts with specialised knowledge in specific areas such as network engineering, software development, or database management. They tackle the most challenging and uncommon issues that require significant expertise. 

Third line support teams often include developers and engineers who can:

Fourth line IT support

Fourth line IT support involves external expertise that an organisation might not possess internally. This level includes vendor support and specialised external services. When issues are beyond the scope of internal teams, fourth line support is called upon to solve unique or highly technical problems. 

Fourth line support may involve collaborating with:

Zero line IT support

Zero line IT support refers to self-service options provided to users to solve minor issues independently. The goal of zero line support is to empower users to resolve common problems without needing to contact live support. This can reduce the load on higher support tiers and provide immediate solutions to users.

Zero line support channels can look like: 


What are the benefits of outsourcing first line IT support? 

Savvy businesses are increasingly outsourcing IT support to third parties in 2024. This allows them to enjoy multiple benefits — from 24/7 support to heightened security measures — without the costs and stress of building out an internal IT team. 

Reduce staff costs  

By outsourcing first line IT support, companies can significantly reduce the costs associated with hiring, training, and maintaining an in-house support team. 

For example, instead of hiring a team of five full-time IT support staff, a business can partner with a first line provider and pay a fixed monthly fee. This can result in substantial savings on salaries, benefits, and training.

Save time 

By partnering with an outsourcing provider for first line IT support, companies can streamline their operations and save valuable time. Instead of spending time building out and managing IT teams, as well as dealing with IT problems internally, third-party providers shoulder this responsibility.

One UK solicitors who partnered with Arc Systems to outsource IT support said they have “saved so much time…and are always on hand to assist with their knowledge and expertise.”

Access IT experts  

Outsourcing provides access to a pool of skilled IT professionals who have extensive experience in handling a wide range of technical issues. Companies with limited internal IT departments may face delays when they cannot resolve an issue in-house. 

An outsourced team has specialists certified in various systems and software. This ensures that your employees receive expert assistance on any issue, from email problems to network connectivity.

Increase productivity and revenue 

With reliable first line IT support, employees can quickly resolve technical issues and minimise downtime. If a sales team’s CRM software crashes, an outsourced support team can quickly diagnose and fix the issue. It allows teams to get back to selling without significant delays. 

This not only helps companies avoid lost revenue, but as they scale they can also easily increase their support capacity without huge additional costs or delays. 

Get support 24/7

Outsourcing first line help desk support often comes with the benefit of round-the-clock service. This can be particularly beneficial to global companies with offices in different time zones, ensuring that all employees have access to IT support at any time. 

24/7 availability is crucial for maintaining productivity and addressing urgent issues promptly, regardless of when they occur. With 90% of customers rating an immediate response as important, companies must upgrade their customer IT support to stay competitive.

Strengthen security

Cyber attacks affected half of UK businesses and a third of charities in the last 12 months alone.  Outsourcing managed cybersecurity to reputable IT support providers ensures that the latest security measures and protocols are in place. 

IT support providers give you access to dedicated security teams who can:

A proactive approach helps protect sensitive company data from breaches and ensures compliance with industry standards and regulations, such as GDPR.


Save time and stress & outsource first line IT support today 

First line IT support is crucial to maintain smooth IT operations and deal with general issues as quickly as possible. It plays an important role in the whole ecosystem of IT support and depending on your internal capabilities can be done in-house or outsourced externally. 

Many companies choose to outsource fully managed IT support services to make sure that whatever happens, they receive timely assistance to fix hardware, software and network issues. A trusted IT support provider, like Arc Systems with 30+ years experience and key partnerships and certifications, offers all tiers of IT support services. These include data protection, 24/7 communication, Cloud services, and IT infrastructure.

If you are a UK business looking to outsource first line IT support, speak to a specialist at Arc Systems for IT support in London and IT support in Essex today.


What is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line IT supports?

When a user faces a technical IT issue, the first person they will contact to resolve it is 1st line IT support, 1st line support can help resolving simple problems like password resets and login issues. 2nd line IT support, addresses more complex issues that level 1 is not able to, and 3rd line IT support, or level 3 support, comprises experts in highly specific areas who tackle the most challenging issues.

How do you troubleshoot IT issues?

Troubleshooting an IT issue involves identifying and understanding the problem, diagnosing the root cause — perhaps through checking hardware connections or software configurations – and implementing a solution, like restarting a device, updating software or replacing faulty hardware. 

What is a L1 and L2 support engineer?

A L1 (Level 1) support engineer is a front-line technician who handles basic IT support tasks. They are the contact point for users experiencing common technical issues that need general assistance. A L2 (Level 2) support engineer is a more experienced technician who handles more complex IT issues that L1 support cannot resolve.