Should You Outsource Your IT Support?
Do you have this lingering suspicion that your in-house IT support is holding your business back from the success it deserves?
It’s an all-too-familiar story. You give your IT internal team a call to ask for help about a simple problem, only to be told they’ll call you back in a few hours. Your system’s servers are down for “maintenance” for the hundredth time, disrupting business operations yet again. You also feel you’ve had more malware attacks than your patience can handle this year.
If you feel that your in-house IT staff is being a burden rather than an asset, you have some tough decisions to make. After all, why continue paying for services that are not giving you your money’s worth? If you don’t make some changes soon, you may not have a business to come back to in a few years.
What are your IT support’s responsibilities in the first place?
Good question. After all, to make an informed decision, you need to have at least a fair assessment of how your IT staff is performing in relation to the responsibilities attached to their respective roles.
Here are four things your IT department should be doing for your company.
- Maintenance and backup: Your in-house IT support is responsible for keeping your business operational. Given how nearly everything is done digitally these days, your IT department plays a critical role in ensuring your company’s success and survival. From keeping the servers running to doing maintenance checks to tracking real-time data, you need your IT staff to keep everything running and on an even keel. Your in-house IT teams are also responsible for data security, implementing data backups and disaster recovery procedures in case of data loss and cybersecurity attacks.
- Technology deployment and upgrades: Your company needs to get things done to achieve its business objectives, and it is your IT department’s responsibility to deploy the right technology to carry them out. Your IT staff must also manage and stay on top of software and hardware lifecycles, implementing the necessary updates and upgrades that can keep your IT infrastructure and operations running.
- Tech support: Your IT staff should always be on hand to assist you with your technology issues and needs. Whether you deleted some important files by mistake or you find yourself unable to log in with your new password, your IT department should always be at your beck and call to provide you with the assistance you need. In a busy work environment, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your IT staff is there to get things back in order when you’re experiencing technical difficulties is a big deal.
- Stay on top of the latest trends: We’re living in an age of rapid digital transformation. If you want your business to stay relevant and competitive in the coming years, you need to adopt new and emerging technologies that will help your business meet the ever-evolving needs of your customers. As such, your IT department must keep their ears on the ground and be on the lookout for the latest technological trends that will give your company the edge over the competition amid the ever-changing business environment. Should your company migrate to the cloud to scale your business operations? Or should you deploy IoT to boost productivity and reduce operational expenditures? Your IT department should be able to spot the potential benefits of adopting such technologies. More importantly, they must take the initiative to carry out their implementation.
How to improve your IT
If you feel that your in-house IT staff are not fulfilling any of the above responsibilities, it’s time for you to take some action.
And we’re not talking about firing your entire IT staff. For one, they may not be entirely to blame. Given the rapid pace of digital transformation over the last decade, many IT people have struggled to keep up with and make sense of their expanding roles and responsibilities. The sensible thing to do is to cut them some slack. Meanwhile, here are a few things you can do that may help steer your IT staff in the right direction.
Communicate your goals
Sometimes all it takes to turn your IT department around is to sit down with them and remind them what your company’s goals are. By keeping them in the loop and making them feel they have a big part to play in achieving the company’s goals, you’re more likely to keep them engaged in their tasks and influence them to take ownership of their roles.
Improve internal communication
Poor internal communication has often sounded the death knell of many organizations, leading to disorganized workflows and disengaged employees. To improve internal communication, you must take the steps that will encourage the sharing of knowledge throughout the department.
Providing them with an online platform for knowledge sharing can give them a good head start. You can also create communication channels (newsletters, company meetings, etc.) that will help update employees with the company’s progress, as well as give them the platform to share their ideas and thoughts on how to better achieve their business goals.
If you feel that doing any of the above won’t be enough to turn your IT department around, perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing your IT services (or some of your IT functions) to a managed IT service provider.
3Coast/Uprite Services has been our IT Managed Service partner for several years now. They have a great team in place that has handled all of our needs; from the day to day grind to special projects throughout the years. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable and will tirelessly work on finding answers/solutions to any issue that arises. Overall, I can not praise them enough, I do expect to have them as our business partner for many more years to come.
What is a managed IT service provider (MSP)?
A managed IT service provider is an outsourcing company comprised of IT experts who remotely manage and monitor a business’s IT infrastructure and operations.
A managed IT services provider can serve many functions, including:
- Enhanced security and compliance support
- Backup and recovery solutions
- Developing programs
- Networking and infrastructure handling
- Software upgrades
- Cloud services
Why the huge demand for managed IT service providers?
IT processes are as complex as they are diverse, and it can prove difficult for any maturing business to stay on top of them. As an organization grows and matures, IT complexities become more ubiquitous, straining your resources and diverting focus from your organization’s key objectives.
This is where a managed IT service provider comes in. By hiring an MSP, an organization can free up its resources and outsource IT tasks that may prove too much for your in-house staff to handle. This, in turn, helps your organization focus its efforts on more important IT functions, creating alignment in your business and impacting your bottom line.
Using Managed IT Services: The Pros and Cons
Before hiring a managed IT service provider, you may want to determine first if an MSP is the right fit for your business. Let’s go through the pros and cons of hiring one to help you make an informed decision.
Pros of managed IT services
Access to a wide range of expertise
One major drawback of working with an in-house IT staff is you find yourself relying on a limited pool of expertise. Typically, hiring a full-time employee is an investment that a company hopes will pay dividends in the long term. To make that investment pay off, you need to provide your in-house staff with ongoing training, which can get expensive.
With that said, given how fast technology trends come and go, it’s nearly impossible for any IT employee to master everything. Which is to say there will always be knowledge and skill gaps your in-house IT staff won’t be able to fill.
When your company is lacking expertise in a certain area that could give you a competitive advantage, outsourcing tasks through a managed IT services provider might be the fast and cheap solution you’re looking for. After all, MSPs hire IT professionals across various specialties, providing you with a wide range of expertise to meet your every need.
Hiring in-house can get expensive. Besides having to pay each employee an hourly wage for 8 hours per day and 5 days a week, you also need to pay for healthcare benefits, certifications, ongoing training, and more.
Outsourcing IT services through managed IT services, on the other hand, can help you save a significant amount of money. Since you’re not hiring them full-time, you only have to pay for services rendered and nothing else. What’s more, MSPs can give you access to the latest technologies at no additional cost. Hiring an MSP is like maintaining a Netflix subscription. Pay them the required monthly or annual fee and you get to receive the full benefits of their service.
Round the clock service
An in-house employee can work for only 8 hours a day znc five days a week. Which can only mean that outside of those hours, your business becomes vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Managed IT service providers, on the other hand, can work beyond business hours, ensuring that your systems and servers are being managed, monitored, and maintained even while you’re sleeping.
Given the democratization of technology over the last several years, it’s now too easy for SMEs, startups, and freelancers companies to devise new business models that can meet the changing expectations of customers.
However, it can prove difficult for an in-house team to adapt to changing demands if it’s being weighed down by its internal infrastructure. It’s difficult to move forward at a respectable pace when bureaucracy creeps up everywhere like so much dead weight.
That’s not the case with MSPs. By hiring a managed IT service provider, it’s much easier for an organization to stay lean (no need to hire 12 full-time employees!), allowing you to move faster than your competitors. And because working with an MSP gives you access to an extensive pool of IT professionals and the latest technology trends, they can help you deploy and implement new programs and processes with amazing speed. This, in turn, can help position your brand as a disruptor on the market.
Cons of managed IT services
If any of the following is a deal-breaker for you, you may want to think twice about hiring an MSP.
Loss of a dedicated team
Not many outsourced service providers can match the dedication exemplified by most in-house IT teams. When you’re working with people you get to eat lunch with and regularly meet at the water cooler, it’s so much easier to get emotionally invested in what you do. What’s more, In-house employees find it easier to share the core values of the organization they’re working for because they are baked into the company culture. That’s not something you will expect from a managed IT service provider. Don’t get me wrong. There are MSP employees out there who are dedicated to their work and their clients, but you have to work a little harder to find them.
Lack of control
When you’re working with a managed IT service provider, you have no complete control over how the tasks are being managed and monitored. Because MSPs aren’t working on-premise, you can’t help feeling like you’re being held hostage to the whims of an external provider. Granted, you probably have nothing to worry about when you find a managed IT service provider with a good track record and exemplary credentials, but we can’t blame you if the lack of control makes you feel suspicious all the time.
Another common deterrent that makes companies think twice about hiring MSPs is the potential for security breaches. When working with an MSP, you have no choice but to give them access to your company data and your clients’ confidential information. This can be risky as it leaves you vulnerable to cyberattacks and data leaks. As such, you need to make sure the MSP you’re working with has tight and stringent security protocols and measures in place. Before you hire the services of an MSP and give them access to your company’s proprietary data, make sure that you evaluate their security procedures thoroughly.
Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons, it’s time to make a decision. Should you keep your in-house IT support or should you outsource your IT services through a managed IT service provider?
If you can’t decide one over the other, I have some good news: You can have both through co-managed IT. By retaining your in-house IT support and outsourcing other tasks to a managed IT service provider, you can have the best of both worlds, ensuring that the unique IT needs of your business are covered.
For more information about co-managed IT services, contact Uprite Services at (281) 956-2280.