In any business you own, there’s a good chance you’re involved with technology in some form. Moreover, as businesses become more advanced, the systems used to run them on a day-to-day basis become more complicated. That’s where the right kind of IT comes in. Sooner or later, every MSP has to ask themself the same question: Is it worth outsourcing IT, or should a company do it internally? Even though it seems like we say “outsource” as a matter of course, the truth is that there is never a clear-cut answer to this question.
Just as is so often the case with company-related questions, the answer is ” well it depends”. The requirements of your business, your budget, the extent of the SaaS applications you use – they all play a role in what form your IT should take.
In the following, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of in-house IT and outsourced IT services, as well as the factors you should consider when making your decision.
We also encourage you to contact us to discuss how our services could work for your business and whether outsourced IT is right for you.
Internal IT systems means the hardware, software, network and telecommunications equipment and internet-related information technology infrastructure owned or leased by the Company or any of its subsidiaries and used in their businesses.
IT outsourcing is the use of external service providers to effectively deliver IT-enabled business processes, application services and infrastructure solutions to achieve business results.
The key benefit of in-house IT services is that they are delivered by people who understand the unique needs of your business.
There are some MSPs who want to take the easy way out and treat all customers the same, while others don’t ask the right questions and don’t fully understand their customers’ IT environment. When you maintain an in-house IT team, you have the guarantee that you’re working with people who are on the ground day in and day out and know exactly how you’re using your IT resources.
Having in-house IT also gives you more control over your data, especially in industries that are subject to strict regulations, such as finance and healthcare. Data backups and restores are paramount to ensuring business continuity during and after a disaster.
Partnering with an MSP means you must have complete trust in that external organization – and sometimes the survival of your business is at stake. Sharing sensitive and confidential information with an MSP also increases the attack surface for malicious actors and increases the risk of a data breach.
While operating an internal IT department has distinct advantages, it is not without its drawbacks.
Having an internal IT department comes with high acquisition costs. Add in the cost of servers and hardware, software licenses, training, certifications and other necessities, and you’re looking at a quarter of a million a year for a small IT department.
You have direct control over your data. Yes, that was one of the advantages, but it’s also a disadvantage. Direct control over your data means you’re solely responsible for things like backups and redundancy, data security and encryption, and so on. You need people who know what they’re doing and hardware that can handle it. More importantly, you are solely responsible in the event of a failure or security breach.
You will need at least two IT staff; one “IT guy” is not enough. One help desk person is sufficient for your customer support to assist customers or software users, but they won’t know what to do with high-level administration and development. A developer or network engineer might get bored or frustrated if they have to spend a lot of their time on support. An internal IT department often needs 2-3 people to cover all areas.
It is easy for a small IT department to become overwhelmed as it grows. Scaling is essential for any business process. SaaS applications are powerful because they can usually be scaled with the click of a button or a single phone call. Internal departments may need to purchase and set up new hardware, hire and train new employees, and manually complete lengthy licensing processes.
It can be difficult to find talented IT staff. Small businesses have small budgets, and high-quality IT staff demand high salaries. Even worse, many of the best IT employees are moving to technology hubs, leaving rural areas, small towns and less tech-savvy cities with a shortage of qualified employees. Just finding talented IT employees can be difficult and expensive.
To most companies thinking about managed IT services, cost is a major consideration. MSPs tend to be less expensive because you don’t have the costs associated with full-time employees: benefits, health insurance, hiring and onboarding, and more. Working with the right MSP can give you a fresh look at your situation, a new perspective that you may have been missing.
Additionally, one of the benefits of IT outsourcing is the difficulty of building a strong internal IT team. When you rely solely on an internal IT team, employees need to be “jack of all trades,” which can be hard to find in the job market. The longer employees have been with your company, the more familiar they are with the idiosyncrasies of your IT and the less familiar they are with industry best practices and trends.
Even companies that run their own server infrastructure, for example, outsource other tasks like networking and VoIP. When you outsource your IT services to the right MSP, you get full access to experts in many different areas, rather than having to rely on the knowledge of a few internal employees.
Outsourcing also provides you with flexibility and scalability in terms of your IT capacity and capabilities. Depending on your budget and business needs, you can easily expand and change the services you receive from your MSP.
Ultimately, outsourcing is particularly attractive for companies that don’t have specific business requirements in terms of workstations, anti-virus and anti-malware software, Wi-Fi connectivity and server infrastructure. Experienced MSPs have worked with many customers like your company and can get you up and running with ease.
While outsourced IT is an advantage, there are some definite disadvantages to hiring an MSP for some companies.
Having less direct control over your IT department. If a specific member of staff botches a job, is rude to a co-worker, or is sloppy in their work, you can’t reprimand them personally. Instead, you have to handle everything through your MSP contact. That may mean you have to deal with an unhappy company culture.
If you want to make changes to your IT processes, you need to go to the MSP, who is less focused on errors. Sometimes he will allow it, but sometimes it goes against his own established processes and he will refuse. You may even have to deal with a particularly busy MSP and the delays caused by an overloaded phone system. The time lag between identifying a need or request and discussing how to address it is longer with an MSP than with an internal department.
Of course, you can avoid this by choosing a reputable and knowledgeable IT company.
Some outsourced IT companies fail to customize their service to their customers. This is more of a failure of a particular MSP than MSPs in general. Some MSPs treat companies as interchangeable. They offer a “one-size-fits-all” or kit-style service package with little or no room for customization. If your business has specific needs, they may not be able to customize. It may take some time to find the right MSP for your business.
Your IT company has access to potentially sensitive company data. As mentioned earlier, as part of controlling your own data, an MSP has access to any data you process or store through them when you hire them for outsourced services. While most companies have contracts that outline the rules for accessing this data and the penalties for violations, it’s still an obstacle that some business owners don’t want to deal with.
Still deciding between an in-house team and outsourcing? Be sure to research and deeply understand what’s most important to your business. Be sure to ask yourself questions like:
What are your IT needs? Do you just look for basic hardware maintenance and patching, or do you need a full suite of IT services? Establishing an in-house IT staff becomes more difficult the more you have to do.
Do you already have the IT skills you need? Small businesses with a tech-savvy workforce may not need as much support as larger businesses with many non-technical users. Having fewer employees with more technical skills makes it less likely that you’ll need to outsource your IT functions.
During which times of the day do you need IT support? Will you need IT support and maintenance around the clock, 365 days a year, or only during business hours? Does your IT staff need to cover everything when someone goes on vacation?
Are you in need of personalized support? IT support staff who are available to assist you in person have several great benefits, including better relationships, easier troubleshooting, and faster resolution times. If you prefer outsourcing, you can also narrow your search to MSPs based in your region.
Simply having an in-house IT staff doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to work with a managed service provider. There are many situations where supplementing your internal staff with a managed service provider can be of great benefit. An MSP can simply fill in the gaps so your IT team has time to focus on strategic projects.
We know that cost savings are an important part of your goals – and we can help you achieve them. With an RMM tool, you can monitor all your requirements from one central location. You can get started with an RMM tool today! You can start by using it on your own and later transfer the work to an MSP. Try XEOX and make your life easier.