Technology problems, from the minor to the catastrophic, are inevitable. Anyone that has used a computer for any length of time, whether for personal or business, knows this. When problems do happen, especially for your business, being able to turn to an IT professional to provide you with support is usually the fastest and most reliable way to get the problem fixed.
There is a debate that many businesses wrestle with about whether to keep this support network in-house, or whether to hire an outside company to handle it for them. The needs and means of every company are different. For many small businesses, the choice is easy given that most small companies don't have many systems that are overly complex. For those companies that need to ask questions, there is no hard and fast answer as to which form of support is better. If you find yourself needing to make a choice, weigh the following factors before you make any commitment.
Insourcing involves having one or more IT professionals on your payroll to provide remote helpdesk support and on-site network maintenance. In some cases they will have a single responsibility, and in others they will handle all your IT needs.
If you have an IT professional working out of your office, you can simply walk down the hall to get help with your computer. This could save you time and hassle when you need to get your computer back online fast. The person also is forward thinking in regards to your systems and their future.
Insourcing is usually the preferred option for companies that work with highly specific or complex technologies. Servicing these systems takes specialized expertise that the average IT support company may not be able to provide.
If you hire a computer network support professional to be on your staff full time, you have to pay them a salary and benefits, even if you do not need their services on a daily basis. This can prove to be cost prohibitive.
If network support is only one of your IT professionals duties, they may be stretched thin and end up neglecting other important responsibilities. IT is complicated, and often one person, or even five people, are not enough to effectively manage everything.
A managed service provider can help you with off-site technical support and in person repairs without adding to your number of employees. They work remotely and independently, but are available to respond whenever you have issues
IT Outsourcing can be a cost effective way to manage your budget. Since you only pay for the specific services you need at the times you most need them, you can avoid the time and expense of developing an in-house IT staff.
Help desk support is a mundane but highly necessary aspect of IT management. By outsourcing this service, your in-house IT professionals have more time to focus on big-picture projects and system wide improvements. A good outsourced IT provider will provide prompt service as well, so your end users are not waiting long to have their issues resolved.
Not all managed service providers are created equal. Forming a relationship with one that is unqualified, unresponsive or on shaky business footing could leave you without the help you need when you need it most.
Some companies prefer having someone on staff that is intimately familiar with their technologies and business operations. They also like the idea of having computer network support stationed in their office. Outsourcing necessarily involves a certain amount of distance and separation.
Carefully consider the consequences of insourcing or outsourcing your IT support before you make this important decision. To get more information about this specific subject, read our white paper “The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Outsourcing IT.”