As the technology needs of your company grow, business owners may struggle to decide whether to add internal IT staff or to outsource some of the IT responsibilities. There are several factors that will impact this decision.
Factors to Consider
- Efficiency — Certain tasks can be handled more efficiently in-house versus outside, and vice versa. For example, it may make sense to outsource straightforward end user application issues to free up internal IT staff for more critical business functions.
- Business Objectives — Planning the initiatives that will best contribute to the goals of the organization may be better suited for internal IT staff, although an outside party can provide IT consulting services towards this effort.
- Cybersecurity — With security breaches making headlines every day, all businesses have concerns about cybersecurity. Securing the company's data and systems may require skills and experience beyond the scope of internal staff.
- Compliance — Depending on your industry, there may be regulatory compliance laws or federal mandates to which your company must comply, and may require outside expertise, such as those for HIPAA and NIST.
It can be more cost effective to outsource some or all IT needs instead of continuing to hire internal staff as the technology requirements of the business grow. Leveraging the services of a managed service provider (MSP) provides you access to a wider range of technical skills than you would otherwise have with internal staff. This can be instrumental in making sure your company meets its business growth plans.
There are multiple benefits to be gained by using an MSP to supplement the workload of your internal IT staff. In fact, in our experience, this has been the most successful utilization of the MSP services model.
Typical services that can be handled by an MSP include managed monitoring services and IT helpdesk services. A common engagement may outsource all end user issues to the MSP’s network operations centers, freeing up your internal IT talent to focus on the strategy and planning of future IT needs at the company.
Six reasons to outsource certain IT tasks are described below.
1. Jack of all Trades
This is not intended in the derogatory sense, but rather, in the sense that an IT staffer who is responsible for all IT tasks is probably decent at everything, but not especially adept at any one thing.
The fact is you can get a better level of service from an MSP. If you have a small IT department at your company, they will be covering a wide range of responsibilities that require different levels of expertise, from the most basic level of end user support (why is my email not working?) to the most advanced cybersecurity threats that could cost the CEO his or her job.
An IT generalist has basic knowledge across a wide range of technology areas. But the technology infrastructure of any organization has become extremely complex. Newer technologies such as cloud services, Big Data, and IoT have provided great opportunities for companies to innovate, but have also exposed new risks to the network. This is the reason it has become more difficult to troubleshoot issues than in years past.
2. Major Projects
Many small companies can get by just fine with a limited IT staff handling day-to-day responsibilities. Trouble ensues when there's a big project, such as migrating all users from Microsoft Exchange to Microsoft Office 365. This type of project can tie up your IT group for an extended time. Learn more in "5 Reasons to Outsource Office 365 Migration Services."
Other types of projects that can be more effectively handled by an outside party include: security assessments and validation, major data center work, network redesigns and enhancements, and virtualization projects. By outsourcing major projects, you can meet your technology initiatives while maintaining business operations.
3. Specialized Expertise
Some companies with their own in-house IT staffs are successfully handling their daily IT needs, but may require specialized help on certain projects. If you have a one-time need for customized IT services, an MSP can fulfill this role. Implementing certain technologies requires specific training and can be more effectively handled by people with deep technical experience in that specialty.
An MSP can also be a good fit when specialized technical skills or certifications are required as in the fulfillment of new mandates or other compliance needs that require some type of assessment. For example, manufacturers are currently working to become NIST compliant with the NIST 800-171 mandate in time for the deadline of December 31, 2017. Without the specialized cybersecurity experts on staff, many manufacturers are outsourcing this activity.
4. Collective Knowledge
A significant benefit to using an MSP is the collective knowledge you gain from the MSP's technical team. Staff members at the MSP will have different responsibilities to deliver the most cost-effective services. Technicians responsible for basic end user support will have responsibilities in line with their expertise, while the more senior level engineers will handle the more complicated, specialized issues. Learn more in "What No One Tells You About Computer Network Support."
When you do have a major issue, your MSP has the collective knowledge of its entire technical team from which to draw, versus a small internal staff. This means any technical problems are solved efficiently and cost effectively — the correct people working to solve relevant issues as quickly as possible.
5. Employee Satisfaction
Let's face it. It can be frustrating for your internal IT staff to deal with repetitive end user issues day in and day out. Particularly when these mundane activities slow the progress of more rewarding initiatives.
It can also be frustrating for the end users when they know they are interrupting IT staff in the middle of more pressing issues to solicit help. Alternately, when there is a set process for contacting an outside party when issues arise, problems can be resolved more effectively to everyone's satisfaction. An MSP will provide a means for tracking of all issues and closed loop reporting.
6. Strategy instead of Day-to-Day Operations
The technology in use at your company should support the business objectives. If you outsource the day-to-day IT operations you can free up your internal IT staff to focus on building the technology infrastructure that will enable the company to meet its goals. This is the basis of ITIL practices, which ensures that IT services are aligned with the needs of the business.
You can leverage the services of an MSP with its own network operations centers to provide end user help desk support. By outsourcing help desk services, you free up your internal IT staff to focus on revenue producing activities. Learn more in IT Support Services.
Corserva provides managed IT services to enterprise and mid-market clients. The company’s services cover all aspects of IT needs including lifecycle management, managed services, managed security, and business continuity. Corserva’s staffed offices in Trumbull, Connecticut and Orlando, Florida house HIPAA and PCI compliant data centers as well as network/security operations centers that provide 24x7x365 monitoring of clients’ IT infrastructure. Our US based helpdesk services provide round the clock support for our clients. Contact Corserva today.