Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Answers and Explanations

  1. d. An internal IT help desk is a cost center and its value must be justified. It does not generate any revenue so it is not a profit center. Further, because it does not generate revenue, its value is often questioned.
  2. c. An incident is defined by ITIL as “an unplanned interruption to an IT service or reduction in the quality of an IT service. Failure of a configuration item that has not yet impacted service is also an incident, for example, failure of one disk from a mirror set.” The other answers refer to incident management.
  3. b. An incident is defined by ITIL as a “process of dealing with all incidents; this can include failures, questions, or queries reported by the users (usually via a telephone call to the Service Desk), by technical staff, or automatically detected and reported by event monitoring tools.” The other answers refer to an incident.
  4. c. The primary focus of help desk personnel in a large IT department is to provide support to end users. Many IT departments have administrators that maintain and configure services, as well as network infrastructure devices such as routers. These administrators might also be responsible for security tasks such as installing and updating antivirus software, or the organization might have dedicated security personnel handling this task.
  5. b. A training division is not a typical division in an IT department. However, help desk personnel often provide training to users, and other help desk personnel. Help desk personnel assist users. Infrastructure technicians maintain network resources such as routers and switches. Security personnel implement and maintain measures to prevent IT security incidents and detect them when they occur.
  6. a. Tier 1 is the first line of support for users. Tiers 2 and 3 are higher-level tiers within an organization. Some organizations identify tier 4 as an external entity.
  7. a. A service level agreement (SLA) is an agreement with an external organization that stipulates a performance expectation. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) or memorandum of agreement (MOA) is typically used between entities within an organization instead of a SLA. When SLAs are used, they are often referred to as tier 4 support.
  8. b. Help desk personnel would typically provide all the services mentioned except for upgrading a server. Other administrators would manage and maintain servers. Internal help desk personnel are regularly called upon to recover data and remove malware. Both internal and external help desk personnel will troubleshoot network problems preventing a user from accessing network resources.
  9. c. It’s important for help desk technicians to have a mix of both hard skills and soft skills. Without hard skills (measurable technical skills), they will be unable to troubleshoot and resolve problems. Without soft skills, they will be unable to communicate effectively to customers and within the organization.
  10. d. Communication skills are one of the important soft skillsets required of successful help desk technicians so that they can communicate with customers. The other skills are also required but are hard skills, not soft skills.
  11. a. Writing is a soft skill that is required of help desk technicians so that can accurately enter information such as problem symptoms and problem resolutions into an organization’s incident database. The other skills listed are hard skills.
  12. c. The technician should use troubleshooting skills to resolve the problem. It is unlikely that an organization will have flow charts for all problems, so technicians should be able to think on their own in some situations. The technician should attempt to troubleshoot the problem before escalating it. Operating procedures might require the technician to report the lack of a flow chart to management, but not before troubleshooting it. The resolution cannot be documented until it is resolved.
  13. b. Remote users typically connect via a virtual private network (VPN) and this is the most likely problem they will have of the given choices. Remote users will not connect via the organization’s local area network (LAN) to the remote location. Updating a computer and replacing hardware isn’t a common occurrence and if there is a need, users can typically have it done by coming into the primary work location.
  14. d. Help desk professionals escalate problems when they lack adequate privileges to resolve a problem. Technicians escalate the problem to the level where technicians have the appropriate privileges. Successful technicians can still help a customer, even if the customer is angry about the situation. Help desk professionals typically have in-depth knowledge about the systems they support. The privileges of the customer aren’t relevant to a help desk professional resolving a problem.
  15. b. Users are typically authenticated as valid customers in the validating step. During screening, the technician attempts to get more information on the incident, such as additional symptoms. Next, the technician prioritizes the incident based on the available information. Technicians escalate incidents if they are not able to resolve them.
  16. d. Metrics (such as the backlog and customer satisfaction ratings) are used to measure the effectiveness of a help desk. The costs vary widely depending on customer needs and how many customers are served. A help desk is a cost center and doesn’t generate revenue. Help desk technicians working at the help desk are not the best source to determine its effectiveness.
  17. b. The backlog metric is calculated as new incidents minus resolved incidents (or subtracting resolved incidents from new incidents). Subtracting new incidents from resolved incidents would almost always give a negative number unless both are equal. Resolution times refer to the amount of time it takes to help customers and is not related to backlog.
  18. c. Customer satisfaction is the best metric to determine the overall effectiveness of a help desk and is often measured by having customers complete short surveys. The final resolution time can be compared with the first resolution time to identify if tickets are closed prematurely but isn’t the best measure of help desk effectiveness. The backlog compares new incidents and resolved incidents to determine if the workload demand is being met, but without knowing customer satisfaction it doesn’t determine the overall effectiveness.
  19. b. An incident is closed when the organization has addressed it completely to the best ability of the organization. Customers are not always satisfied because they might not be able to get the help they want simply because the organization cannot provide it. Some help desk ticket systems allow customers to close the ticket, but this isn’t true for all tickets. A technician might escalate an incident or go off duty and turn it over to another technician, but this is not a reason to close an incident.
  20. d. A philosophy of taking ownership of problems can elevate technicians above others when working on the help desk or anywhere. Just closing incidents isn’t as important because they can be closed prematurely. Working with more customers isn’t as important because it can result in rushed assistance with one customer, while looking forward to working with the next customer. Escalating an incident is simply handing it off to someone else and should be minimized whenever possible.

Define the Key Terms

The following key terms include the ideas most important to the big ideas in this chapter. To review, without looking at the book or your notes, write a definition for each term, focusing on the meaning, not the wording. Then review your definition compared to your notes, this chapter, and the glossary.

Key Terms for Chapter 1

  • business skills
  • cost center
  • escalate
  • help desk
  • incident
  • incident management
  • Internet service provider (ISP)
  • malware
  • metric
  • profit center
  • security skills
  • service level agreement (SLA)
  • technical skills
  • technical support
  • ticket
  • troubleshooting skills

List the Words Inside Acronyms

The following are the most common acronyms discussed in this chapter. As a way to review those terms, simply write down the words that each letter represents in each acronym.

Acronyms for Chapter 1

  • CAD
  • DoS (as in DoS attack)
  • DOS
  • ISP
  • ISDN
  • IT
  • ITIL
  • LAN
  • MAN
  • MOA
  • MOU
  • MS-DOS
  • NIC
  • OGC
  • PC-DOS
  • POTS
  • RAID-1
  • SLA
  • VPN
  • WAN

Create Mind Maps

For this chapter, create mind maps as follows:

  1. Create a mind map to outline the possible divisions of a large IT department. Start with a circle labeled “IT Department,” draw lines outward from the circle, and label these lines with common IT divisions. Next, add notes identifying the responsibilities of these divisions.
  2. Create a mind map to list the common tiers or levels of support provided by IT departments. List the knowledge and/or experience level required by technicians at each level.
  3. Create two separate mind maps to list the skills required by successful help desk technicians. Use one to list the common technical or hard skills and use the second mind map to list the soft skills.
  4. List as many of the steps in a typical incident process as you can remember. After you’ve listed them, place them in order from the beginning of an incident until the end.

Define Other Terms

Define the following additional terms from this chapter, and check your answers in the glossary:

denial of service (DoS) attack

local area network (LAN)

memorandum of agreement (MOA)

memorandum of understanding (MOU)

metropolitan area network (MAN)

mission-critical functions or services

virtual private network (VPN)

wide area network (WAN)

Case Studies

Case Study 1

Use the Internet to search “incident” and “incident management.” Define each of these terms using information you find from reliable sources on the Internet.

Case Study 2

Perform a search on the Internet using the term “help desk priorities.” List and compare the priority levels used by at least two organizations and their definitions. Notice that there isn’t a single definition used universally. Some organizations use numbers, some use words, and they often have anywhere between three and five priority levels.

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020