The Ins and Outs of In-House and Outsourced IT

February 24th, 2017 by admin

Are you in or out? That is a question that many small and medium businesses face. There are advantages to both in-house and outsourced IT and the direction you choose can have a huge effect on the success of your company. No matter what you decide to do, here are some things to keep in mind.

There are advantages to both in-house and outsourced IT. Deciding which method to use for your business is an important decision, and one that should be thoroughly informed. We’ve helped a lot of companies with their IT over the years, some who have in-house IT teams and some who rely solely upon outsourced services. Here is what we feel is most important to understand when it comes to in-house or outsourced IT help.

Whether you hire one person, ten people, or outsource your IT, your business will need all of the following roles filled.

  • CIO/CTO/CSO: Your Chief Information/Technology/Security Officer should keep you informed about your technical and security situation and manage all major IT decisions.
  • Network and Server Admin: The role of a network administrator (sometimes called a SysAdmin) is to ensure that your network is healthy and that all of your servers, routers, firewalls, and switches are running the way they are supposed to. If this role is not being filled your network speeds will drop, bringing down your productivity as well.
  • Project Design and Management: The role of a project designer is to construct and plan large technical projects for your business like installing new servers or moving locations. Project managers ensure that these plans are carried out efficiently and also make sure that your equipment is up to date. If these roles are not being filled your equipment will get old and you’ll be fighting an increased number of technical issues daily.
  • LOB Specialists: The role of these line-of-business specialists is to handle the software specific to your company. For example, if you are a medical clinic using NextGen, your LOB specialist would have a deep understanding of all of your NextGen software.
  • Help Desk/Service Desk: A help or service desk is your go-to resource for daily problems like email and printer issues that come up. Your help desk should have a broad understanding of a wide range of apps like Microsoft, Windows, etc.
  • Toolset Manager: The role of a toolset team is to manage all of the backups, patching, antivirus, and other software to make sure your company is protected and secure from any kind of disaster.
That may seem like a lot, but these are just the basics that even small companies should be aware of. Your IT needs a strong comprehensive approach to compete in today’s marketplace and if one of these areas gets neglected, your business will feel it.

Potential risks of having just one IT administrator:

As you can imagine, if you only have one person managing your IT, it will be tough to keep up with each of the roles they need to fill. Even if your employee is a total superstar, they are likely to be outnumbered by your technical needs. Here are some examples:
  • Most IT staff are hired to solve problems, not prevent them. Traditionally, most IT staff work best in a break/fix role. When something breaks, they save the day, but a lot of the proactive issues, like patches, updates, and even bigger issues like changing out workstations and equipment in a timely manner get delayed, forgotten, or ignored.
  • With so many technical specialties in this day and age, it's impossible to hire one person who can tackle everything properly. IT staff will do their favorite things first. If they consider themselves a net admin, they are going to rock the net admin work, but your company will lose out on other areas like toolsets or end-user support.
  • In-house IT often gets overloaded with too many requests, so they have to pick and choose who to help. In that case, they will help the VIP’s first and everyone else will have to take a back seat.
  • Things are going to get busy. And when things get busy, important things like backups and other tools can get pushed to the back-burner and not managed as closely (daily is best!) as they should be.
These are real problems that we’ve run into time and time again. We’ve found that most companies who have 50-300 computers have an IT guy, but what they need is a full IT team.

But full IT teams can get expensive really fast.

Teams have their advantages, but large in-house IT teams are rarely cost effective. You will inevitably end up overpaying for some specialties, and underpaying for others. But there is a smarter way.

Which IT roles should you outsource instead?

It’s wise to consider at least some outsourced IT to complement your in-house IT staff. Outsourcing some of the IT saves you from paying salary to someone you only need for a specialized set of skills, and ensures that you have a team of people behind your back ready for any problem that arises. If your in-house IT staff are great at Help Desk issues, or Network Administration, let them focus on what they do best, and have them team up with outsourced specialists for areas that nobody has time for. We're happy to pitch in as much or as little as you would like. If you just want us to manage your toolsets including backups and antivirus we can do that. If you want us to lend a couple extra hands for a big project coming up we can do that too. We can make sure you get the help that you need. Whether you want to outsource all of your IT or just a portion of it we can make sure that your performance, productivity and protection are on the rise.  

Posted in: Tech Tips