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SysAid empowers organizations to deliver exceptional service – automagically. A comprehensive, next-gen ITSM platform, SysAid comes ready for action with generative AI baked into every element of service management, all wrapped up...Read more about SysAid

4.5 (441 reviews)

9 recommendations


Issuetrak is a flexible issue tracking software solution that can be configured to suit the needs of a variety of industries and usages, including IT Help Desk, Customer Support, Project Management, and more. Issuetrak can be dep...Read more about Issuetrak

4.6 (187 reviews)

6 recommendations

Zendesk Suite

Zendesk is a cloud-based help desk management solution offering customizable tools to build customer service portal, knowledge base and online communities. The solution offers a customizable front-end portal, live chat features an...Read more about Zendesk Suite

4.4 (3865 reviews)

5 recommendations


BOSSDesk ITSM Help Desk Ticketing System on the Cloud and On Premise Turning ticket management into an exceptional customer experience! With rapidly increasing service requests, is your company maximizing its investment in your ...Read more about BOSSDesk

4.6 (110 reviews)

4 recommendations

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SymphonyAI Summit is an AI-powered IT service management (ITSM) suite that streamlines service and asset management across the enterprise with machine learning and workflow-based automation. As a true multi-tenant solution, Sympho...Read more about Summit

4.4 (25 reviews)

4 recommendations


TeamSupport is a robust customer support solution designed to improve customer satisfaction, simplify workflows, and make agents’ lives easier. We empower teams of all sizes to consolidate channels, shorten time to resolution, col...Read more about TeamSupport

4.5 (844 reviews)

3 recommendations


Tidio Chat is a cloud-based live chat platform suitable for integration into any company’s website. It includes a customizable interface that lets companies make the live chat interface match the look and feel of existing online a...Read more about Tidio

4.7 (448 reviews)

1 recommendations


NinjaOne is a leading unified IT management software company that simplifies how IT teams work. MSPs and IT departments can automate, manage, and remediate all their device management tasks within one fast, modern, intuitive platf...Read more about NinjaOne

4.8 (207 reviews)

1 recommendations


Syxsense is a leading Unified Security and Endpoint Management (USEM) solution that delivers real-time monitoring and intelligent automation for vulnerability management, patch management, and security remediation in a single con...Read more about Syxsense

4.6 (61 reviews)

1 recommendations

EV Service Manager

EasyVista is a help desk solution for large companies in industries including accounting, banking, agriculture, manufacturing, non-profit, food & beverage, healthcare, transportation and many more. The software is offered through ...Read more about EV Service Manager

3.3 (12 reviews)

1 recommendations

TeamViewer Remote

TeamViewer is an online meeting and video conferencing solution that connects any PC, mobile, and server to each other globally. The solution is available in nearly all countries and supports over 30 languages. TeamViewer is suita...Read more about TeamViewer Remote


Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer service software that helps businesses provide effortless service across every customer touchpoint. Freshdesk empowers businesses to monitor customer conversations across email, phone, chat, soc...Read more about Freshdesk


Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform for teams of 20+ that is suitable for both large enterprises and SMBs. It supports remote work for various teams. This solution comes with Gantt charts, calendars, workload view f...Read more about Wrike


ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must-have platform for intelligent marketing automation. Customers from over 170 countries depend on ActiveCampaign’s mix of pre-built automations and integrations (in...Read more about ActiveCampaign


Notion is a digital workspace that lets small to large businesses streamline and manage notes, tasks, projects, records, calendar and more. Key features include portfolio tracker, designer templates, database management, documenta...Read more about Notion

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is a cloud-based help desk solution from Zoho Corporation, catering to businesses of all sizes. Key features include management of customer support tickets, a customer support portal, contract management and report creat...Read more about Zoho Desk

ConnectWise ScreenConnect

ConnectWise ScreenConnect (formerly ConnectWise Control) is a cloud-based operations management solution that allows technicians to perform remote support, gain remote access and run remote meetings. It acts as a meeting point for...Read more about ConnectWise ScreenConnect


Nimble offers browser widget and mobile-based sales force automation and social CRM solution for small and midsize businesses. The solution automatically populates customer profiles and interaction histories from contact lists, em...Read more about Nimble


LiveChat is an all-in-one customer service platform helping brands deliver superb customer service while boosting their sales. LiveChat is intuitive, easy to use, and fully customizable, to naturally blend in with any website. Wit...Read more about LiveChat


LiveAgent is an online Help Desk solution for e-commerce businesses at the small and midsize levels. The platform offers live chat application, ticket management, online self-service portals, and change and license management, all...Read more about LiveAgent

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

What's meant by the term "help desk software'" can be unclear. Go browse a handful of vendor websites, and you'll see the term "help desk" applied to two distinct groups of software—general customer service software and software for managing IT assets and services.

While customer service and help desk software do share some common applications—a central ticket-tracking system, for example—they are by no means interchangeable. If you were to purchase customer service software to manage your small business's IT endpoints and networks, you'd quickly regret the decision. And if you tried managing your company's customers with software designed to manage computers and networks, you'd regret that all the more!

This guide is about cloud-based help desk software for IT management. If you're looking for customer service software, take a look at our customer service software buyer's guide.

But, if you're looking to manage and support your internal IT assets, you're in the right place. Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Online Help Desk Software?

Common Features of Online Help Desk Software

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Market Trends to Understand

What Is Online Help Desk Software?

Online help desk software helps companies manage their entire IT infrastructure, which can include:

  • Individual endpoints, such as desktop computers, laptops and tablets

  • Peripherals, such as printers, scanners and POS systems

  • Back-end equipment, such as servers and backup storage systems

  • Networks and networking hardware, such as LANs, routers and Wi-Fi access points

  • Any software that keeps the business running and employees productive

This is an IT-centric definition. From the point of view of the employees who rely on IT, online help desk software is more about getting support for IT services. It's a small but important distinction we'll discuss more below in the Market Trends to Understand section.

Like most software, help desks began as on-premise (i.e., locally installed) software. Today, online help desk solutions are cloud-based, meaning that they're hosted, updated and maintained by the vendor. Many of these tools provide both cutting-edge functionality and user-friendly interfaces.


RemedyForce is an online help desk solution that offers a user-centric interface

For most small businesses, online help desks are the smartest choice. They require little (or no) installation of local software, are automatically updated and patched by the vendor, have lower startup costs and provide the best end-user and administrator experiences.

Common Features of Online Help Desk Software

IT asset management

Tracks and manages all physical IT hardware owned by (or used within) a business.

Network monitoring and management

Helps administrators control and configure networks and network access, while monitoring traffic and connections.

Knowledge management

Organizes the information, or knowledge, used by IT department employees. Can be used as a self-service resource for employees.

Configuration management

Manages the settings and permissions configured on individual devices. Lets administrators apply configuration or settings changes to multiple devices at once.

Service catalog management

A service catalog helps larger organizations guide their employees to the IT staff that can best support them. Service catalog management functions help administrators create and maintain these catalogs.

License management

Helps companies track and make the best use of their software licenses.

Remote access and control

Allows technicians to access and control a workstation from a remote location, facilitating remote diagnosis and resolution with minimal end-user involvement.

Impact analysis tools

Analyzes planned changes for any potential conflicts, flagging possible conflicts before the changes get rolled out. Provides a “look before you leap" style safeguard.

Service level agreement (SLA) management

SLAs guarantee that issues of a certain type will be addressed or resolved within a certain timeframe, among other service guarantees. These features allow users to set prioritization triggers, automatic escalations and other custom rules to ensure applicable issues are handled in compliance with an SLA.

ITIL compatibility

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of IT service management best practices that ensure service management is aligned with business priorities.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Online help desk are generally used in two different business contexts:

Internal. This is traditionally the most common use. The help desk is the central platform for a company's internal IT department. It serves the company's local and remote employees. These buyers should look for platforms with core help desk functionality and determine requirements based on their company's IT environment, strategy and growth plans.

Managed service provider (MSP). Companies can outsource their IT services management to third-party companies called managed service providers, or MSPs. MSPs should look for help desk systems with more robust remote access and control applications and tools for managing and monitoring individual service level agreements.

Market Trends to Understand

Over the past decade, IT service management has undergone a change in perspective. It began as an IT-centric discipline in which problems and services were managed with a focus on the underlying assets and tools. With today's more modern approach, IT service management focuses on the workflows that the IT department supports.

This shift is also described as the consumerization of IT, a phrase explained in Gartner's "Elevate the Employee Experience With Consumer-Oriented IT Service Delivery" report. It states: "The consumerization of IT isn't so much about using consumer apps for business purposes. It's more about applying the tactics of consumerization to the IT fabric, so as to make employees more agile and engaged." (Full report available to Gartner clients.)

Selecting the right online help desk platform can go a long way toward managing your company's IT to improve the end-user experience, while allowing your IT teams to manage these systems more effectively and efficiently.