Small businesses frequently need to adopt new technologies in order to expand operations and improve the customer experience and productivity. Doing so often presents challenges. Keeping your technology up and running securely takes requires expertise. You must maintain your computer network, but may be challenged by a small biz budget.
To balance in-house IT and a Managed Services provide you need to decide on the most optimal way for your business to get total support.
Staffing an In-House IT Department vs. Contracting a Managed Services Provider
As a business owner, you have two basic options when obtaining small business IT support: in-house or through a Managed Services Provider (MSP). Both of these options have pros and cons which should help you decide on what’s best for your business.
Option 1: Employing your own IT support staff
Having expert IT engineers and helpdesk staff on hand to perform IT duties from designing and servicing a secure network to troubleshooting basic daily IT problems gives you instant response for your business. With this option it is extremely important people you hire have the knowledge and experience to service the needs of your business. You may need data backup and disaster recovery, and information assurance expertise to respond to remote security threats or physical disasters (fire, flood, weather, etc.). Depending on the scope of your technology needs, a visiting serviceman (aka “computer guy“) or single employee may not be sufficient.
When you need a complex range of expertise or special computer needs, you may require find yourself employing four, five or even more of skilled IT engineers. Between salary, benefits and other expenses associated with their employment, it may not be cost effective or even “cost-possible” for some small to medium size businesses.
Option 2 : Contracting a Managed Services Provider (MSP)
Managed Services is the practice of outsourcing day-to-day IT management and Computer Network Tech Support as a cost-effective method for improving business operations. A qualified experienced Managed Services provider offers same IT services you get from a fully staffed in-house IT department, but at a fraction of a cost. An MSP gives your business access to a team of highly skilled network engineers and computer technicians to service your business computers and provide a wide range of expert help to manage any issue.
MSPs, first of all are IT consultants that in addition to managing your IT helpdesk, assess your business computer network and operations needs and make recommendations on the best platforms, hardware and software for your operation. If you need instant service, most MSPs are handling the support remotely, without costly delays. When choosing an MSP, we recommend to pick a company local to you, so when remote assistance is not enough and on-site support and emergency assistance is required, the MSP can be there in short time to support your needs (when hiring an MSP, ask them for the response time both remotely and on-site).
Most MSPs create variety of support plans and the fee is based on the type and amount of services provided. It allows you to pick and choose exactly the type of plan that is needed for your SMB.
Best of both worlds: In-House and outsourced MSP Service
As a business owner, you know that being flexible is the key to problem solving.
For an average SMB a fully staffed IT department is not in the budget, but you still cannot afford to neglect your IT needs.
Going full MSP, or combining the two methods to create coverage for your business may be just what your business needs.
If your business depends on minute-to-minute processes, employing an in-house computer network support expert minimizes issues that directly impact productivity, and your MSP can cover day-to-day monitoring, data security and backup services, fixing or even stopping issues before they occur. This marriage of both worlds allows you to get the maximum coverage within reasonable budget.