Should You Outsource Your IT Support to a Managed Services Provider?
The IT landscape is constantly changing, and with new technologies and solutions emerging every day, it can be difficult for businesses to keep up. This is where IT outsourcing comes in. One question any growing business will eventually face is: "Should I switch from in-house IT to an outsourced IT provider?"
Managed IT services providers (MSPs) are third-party companies that remotely manage a business's IT infrastructure, end-user systems, cybersecurity, and more. Many businesses entrust some or all of their IT to reliable MSPs like Digital Boardwalk, but how do you know if outsourcing your IT is the right move for your business?
In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of IT outsourcing so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is right for your business.
Pros of Managed IT Services
Receive Essential Functions and Software
If your company depends on a handful of in-house IT professionals, you are probably constrained by the skills and availability of those few individuals. By outsourcing your IT to an experienced IT support provider, your business will gain the experience and availability of a team of specialists who receive ongoing training and information on the newest technologies. And if you're searching for an IT provider with a more strategic approach, consider going with one that offers Chief Information Officer (CIO) - level consulting services.
In addition, with technology evolving so quickly nowadays, it can be difficult to keep up with the most recent advancements in the industry. Many outsourced IT providers have connections with vendors that can provide your business with the technology it requires, often for less money than you would have spent on it yourself.
Proactive Monitoring & Security
One of the most significant advantages of IT outsourcing is that it gives you access to proactive monitoring and security services. Often, in-house IT staff are required to wear many hats in order to meet as many of a business's needs as possible. This typically leads to them taking a more reactive, rather than proactive, approach to many IT tasks. Unfortunately, this could lead to potential problems for your business, especially when it comes to backups and cybersecurity.
More Reliable Data Backup
Many data backup services will regularly backup your data on a schedule, and have a feature that will send you an alert or warning if something goes wrong, gets missed, or takes too long. A lot of times, this feature ends up being a crutch—IT staff won't check on the backups unless they receive an alert that something went wrong. However, if something goes wrong with the alert system itself, then the IT staff has no idea whether or not something is amiss because they haven't received an alert. This leaves your business vulnerable to data loss that could be detrimental.
Mature MSPs like Digital Boardwalk run backup integrity checks, where regular checks are done on your backups to ensure there are no issues. This proactive approach often takes up too much time for a small team or one-stop shop to handle, but it can help support your in-house IT support staff and help protect your important business data.
Outsourced IT providers also typically have more comprehensive security solutions than what most in-house IT teams can provide. With data breaches becoming more and more common, it is essential to have a robust security system in place, and managed IT services can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your business is protected.
Similar to the backup integrity checks, managed IT service providers are able to be more proactive with cybersecurity monitoring. Mature MSPs like Digital Boardwalk regularly run cybersecurity audits to check your business's vulnerability and may also offer some form of cybersecurity training for your internal staff. 82% of all cyber-attacks in 2021 involved the compromise of a user’s credentials, so it's imperative that your employees have at least a basic understanding of cybersecurity best practices in order to protect themselves, your business, and your clients.
IT support providers can detect and fix potential problems before they cause any damage, saving your business time, money, and headaches.
Flexibility & Scalability
Another significant advantage of IT outsourcing is that it gives your business the flexibility to scale its IT infrastructure up or down as needed. If your company experiences a sudden growth spurt, an outsourced IT provider can quickly and easily scale up your IT infrastructure to meet the increased demand. Similarly, if you experience a slowdown in business, an MSP can help reduce your IT costs by scaling back your IT infrastructure accordingly.
This scalability is one of the primary reasons why many small businesses choose to outsource their IT needs. They can avoid the high upfront costs associated with building and maintaining an in-house IT infrastructure that meets their current needs, as well as the future needs of a rapidly growing business.
Improved Customer Service
In many cases, IT outsourcing can lead to improved customer service for your business. When IT problems arise, customers often have to wait for in-house IT staff to become available to resolve the issue. This can lead to long wait times and frustrated customers.
In contrast, IT outsourcing providers typically have a team of IT professionals available 24/7 to resolve any IT issues that may arise. This allows your business to provide better customer service by resolving IT issues quickly and efficiently.
Predictable IT Costs & Budgeting
Another significant advantage of IT outsourcing is that it can help your business control and predict IT costs. When you outsource IT, you can choose from a variety of pricing models that fit your budget and IT needs. This way, you will never have to worry about unexpected IT costs eating into your profits, and the cost is predictable each month.
Reduce Business Costs & Scale Staff
IT outsourcing can also help your business reduce its overall costs by freeing up internal staff to focus on other tasks. When you outsource IT, you no longer need to worry about hiring, training, and managing IT staff. This can lead to significant cost savings for your business. In addition, IT outsourcing providers typically have a team of IT professionals available 24/7 to resolve any IT issues that may arise. This may also allow your business to provide better customer service by resolving IT issues quickly and efficiently.
Reliable IT Technicians
When you outsource IT, you can be assured that your IT needs will be handled by reliable IT technicians. Managed IT service providers (MSPs) typically have a team of IT professionals who are experts in their field and can provide the highest level of IT support. This way, you can be confident that your business's IT needs are being handled by qualified IT professionals.
Improved Business Focus
How much of your time and your staff's time do avoidable technology issues take up? By outsourcing your IT, you free up precious time and resources for you and your team so that you can focus on what's really important—continuing to grow your business. It also allows your team to focus on their designated role and frees up time for them to create value for your business.
Cons of Managed IT Services
Loss of Control
When you outsource IT, you are essentially handing over the reins to another company. This may cause concern for businesses that like to have tight control over their IT infrastructure.
If you're worried about losing control of your IT, consider working with an MSP that offers a co-managed IT service model. In this type of arrangement, your business retains some control over its IT while still being able to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing.
Security is always a top concern for businesses when it comes to IT. When you outsource IT, you are trusting another company with access to your IT infrastructure and sensitive data.
To mitigate this risk, be sure to do your research when choosing an IT outsourcing provider. Make sure the company has a good reputation and is known for its high-security standards. Also, be sure to sign a comprehensive service-level agreement that outlines the security measures the IT provider will take to protect your data.
The IT outsourcing provider you choose should also have experience working with businesses in your industry. They should understand the unique security concerns of your business and have the necessary expertise to address them.
Let's say your company employs antiquated hardware, numerous firewalls, various applications, etc. Then, in order to maintain their service standards, a reliable IT services provider will require you to upgrade and buy new hardware and software. While investing in this technology can be costly, the long-term benefits of this transition can increase your organization's productivity and efficiency and productivity, laying the groundwork for future growth and success.
Impact on In-House IT Staff/Employee Morale
When outsourcing your IT, you can choose to outsource some or all of your IT functions to an IT support provider. Depending on the extent to which you intend to outsource your IT, your internal IT staff might feel their position is being threatened, which may affect morale. No one wants to feel like their career is in jeopardy, particularly when it comes to critical services like cybersecurity and IT infrastructure. Staff who are discouraged may put in less effort or become irritated in their workplace, which can lead to a decline in quality and, in some situations, turnover.
Difficulty in Choosing the Right Provider
Your company is not guaranteed to get the desired outcomes and service levels just because you have outsourced your IT. There are tens of thousands of IT service providers in the market, and many of them might not be able to successfully support your company. Choosing the right IT provider for your business is imperative to reaping the benefits of outsourced IT, but it will require some research on your part, as well as an understanding of what to look for.
Before you commit to a specific MSP, ensure that the provider's service level agreement (SLA) specifies a certain response and resolution time that they are expected to uphold during their contract with your company before signing a contract. Make sure you understand the contract before you sign it, and inquire about the provider's past and present customer experiences. Basically, educate yourself about the services you will be receiving and how and when they will be supplied.
Adjusting to Remote Support
Because they are accustomed to having their IT guy just down the hall, businesses tend to be hesitant to transition from an in-house solution. The convenience of having an on-site IT specialist, though, can be deceiving. Utilizing an internal solution isn't always more efficient, despite the fact that it may be more convenient.
A reliable IT services provider is likely to use a ticketing system to prioritize issues. The SLA of your service provider should specify the anticipated response and resolution timeframes to guarantee that your staff won't be held up by slow or subpar service, as well as whether immediate emergency responses are a part of your service. A structured ticketing procedure denotes a mature IT provider. Your staff members may find it difficult to get used to having to wait for issues to be resolved, but the procedure might be useful in aiding the prioritization and resolving of IT issues once a company's employees adjust to the shift.
There are many advantages to IT outsourcing, including improved backup and disaster recovery, enhanced security, scalability, and improved customer service. However, there are also some disadvantages to outsourcing your business's IT, particularly when it comes to choosing the right IT provider.
If you're not sure if your business needs to outsource your IT to a third-party provider via managed IT services, here are a few indications it may be time to make the switch:
- Your company's productivity has decreased; tasks are taking longer to complete, client concerns are not getting answered, and there is increased downtime.
- Security issues occur more frequently and are persistent, especially if you experience the same cybersecurity problem, which causes a significant amount of downtime.
- Onboarding new staff is too time-consuming and expensive.
- Your bottom line is suffering because of the various problems your business is encountering.
- Your IT staff is too small to take care of all matters, and your experts are stuck handling small issues.
- You don’t have an effective recovery plan in case of lost data.
- You don’t have the resources to invest in new cybersecurity infrastructure, which is putting your company data and processes at risk.
- Problems are not being resolved by customer service in a timely manner or at all.
If these problems sound familiar, it's a warning sign that your company infrastructure is suffering. It may be time to consider outsourcing your IT. However, it's important to partner with a reliable IT support provider that can offer these services in a cost-effective manner.
With a headquarters based out of Pensacola, FL, Digital Boardwalk provides comprehensive technology management and consulting services for small and medium-sized businesses across the country. We help customers achieve reliability, security, and peace of mind through award-winning support, cybersecurity, cloud computing and backup services.
Ranked among the top 10 MSPs in the world on the 2022 MSP 501 list, Digital Boardwalk has the proven expertise to tackle any IT issue your company has. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and see how quickly your business can grow when you make your technology work for you, not the other way around.
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