Virtually every business manages some combination of internal and external IT resources. Businesses with internal IT departments generally work with strategic technology partners or vendors. Even businesses that have completely outsourced IT must still manage their technology if only at a highlevel. A properly managed team will prevent avoidable setbacks such as down time, malware infections, poor performance or failure to restore data from backup.
SHOULD I OUTSOURCE MY IT STAFF?
Every organization is unique; there is no magic formula to determine when to outsource. Often businesses with less than 75 people find it most cost effective to completely outsource their technology; larger companies will likely have a combination of in-house staff and outsourced advisors.
KEY REASONS TO OUTSOURCE:
Many businesses choose to outsource their technology support in order to focus on their core mission. An experienced IT outsourcing company will offer these advantages:
- A larger pool of resources, for better coverage and economies of scale than an internal staff may provide.
- Technology monitoring and management tools that will save time, money and identify problem areas in advance. These tools are typically costprohibitive for an individual company.
- Continual investment in technology training and certification for its staff, resulting in greater knowledge and higher efficiency in managing IT systems.
CHOOSING AN IN-HOUSE IT DEPARTMENT
Managing an internal IT department requires time and attention from firm leaders. In addition, investing in ongoing education and training is essential to adequately equip internal IT staff to keep pace with the rapid changes in the high-tech industry. These changes will impact technology cost and capability.
EVALUATING A TECHNOLOGY PARTNER
When choosing to outsource or augment IT, select a partner who offers the expertise to match the firm’s needs. Two important factors to consider are the level of managed services offered and cloud computing. The stated goal of managed services IT is to prevent problems from occurring. Qualified providers utilize preventive maintenance techniques, remote monitoring tools, automation and other IT best practices to keep technology running smoothly. This means fewer issues and lower costs in the long run. Having the best IT people is still essential, but improved automation allows managed service providers to provide more efficient support, focus more time on proactive planning and spend less time reacting to things that are broken. Cloud computing offers compelling alternatives, but it is not an easy button; it requires careful planning.
PREVENT TECHNOLOGY FIRES
The key to identifying and correcting issues before they create downtime is utilizing properly managed software that checks systems around the clock and alerts the technology team when systems need attention. Manual monitoring can be time consuming, inconsistent and subject to human error.
CONTROL COSTS, KEEP SYSTEMS WORKING
Two advantages of partnering with IT service providers are improved functionality and lower costs. For example, if power or network connectivity is lost with an in-house monitoring system, it generally won’t be able to alert anyone if it’s located on-site. Of course, system-down alerting isn’t the primary objective. Managed IT providers deliver more efficient support and proactive planning, and spend less time reacting to things that are broken by utilizing improved automation. Whether choosing in-house or out-sourced IT, partnering with a managed service IT provider will be worthwhile. The automation tools and expertise these providers offer can be leveraged in either case. However you choose to staff your IT needs, it’s important that fundamentally sound IT practices are followed. Otherwise, you could encounter avoidable setbacks such as outages, malware infections, performance issues or failure to restore data from backup.