Your IT infrastructure is the foundation of your modern business. As such, you need to properly manage your IT systems to get the most from them—that includes maintenance, upgrades, functionality, security, and more. So how do you do that?
Your IT service provider handles all the important servicing of your IT infrastructure. But which solution is the best for your business and your situation? In-house IT services or a managed service provider?
Here, we’ll cover some of the pros and cons of both managed IT services and internal IT services to help you better understand which IT solution may be right for your company.
In-House IT Services
In-house IT services are exactly what they sound like. Your IT service provider is a member of your staff, either an individual or a team.
That means you’ll be hiring, training, paying, and employing them on site. They work in your buildings, they physically interact with your entire team, and they manage your IT network on site.
As you can imagine, this can be an incredibly positive situation—they can immediately mitigate issues, have an existing rapport with your staff, and they have an intimate knowledge of your infrastructure because they most likely built it.
But this solution also comes with substantial drawbacks—your IT staff can become overwhelmed by serious issues, they may not have the training and knowledge to handle every situation, and if they quit or leave you could be left in a sticky situation where no one on your team understands how your network works.
Pros of In-House IT Support
One of the biggest positives about in-house IT service is the speed of support. In-house staff can immediately respond to technical issues that arise during normal business hours. Because they are members of your company, IT staff members already have a working relationship with the rest of your team.
Deep Understanding of Infrastructure
Internal IT services typically have a deep understanding of your IT infrastructure—either because they helped to build it or because they work on it every day. This allows them to understand the needs of your team.
What’s more, because they have a detailed knowledge of your network they can typically identify issues quickly. If problems do arise, they often know what the issue is without having to run lengthy diagnostics.
A Part of Company Culture
One of the best reasons to have an IT service provider in-house is that they become a valued part of your company culture. They understand what your company stands for and can help your team achieve its goals.
Your in-house IT staff can focus on providing practical solutions that help your team provide better service, better communication, better procedures, and more.
Cons of Internal IT Services
One of the biggest downsides of utilizing an in-house IT staff is costs. You need to hire, train, and pay at least one full-time employee who is dedicated to maintaining your IT infrastructure.
Costs include benefits, supplies, space, salary, additional training, overtime, and more.
Very few organizations can effectively function with only one IT staff member. If your company utilizes more than just a few computers you will most likely need additional staff. As you can imagine, costs can quickly add up to hire and maintain a full IT staff.
One of the benefits of using an in-house IT service provider is that they can mitigate issues as they arise—but what happens if an issue becomes overwhelming? Or multiple issues arise simultaneously?
A small, in-house IT team can easily become overwhelmed by large, multiple, and/or serious issues. Unresolved issues can seriously damage your ability to conduct business. If your IT staff becomes overwhelmed your daily operations can grind to a halt, costing you lost revenue, damaged reputation, and can even cost you customers.
One of the biggest drawbacks of using internal IT services is limited knowledge and experience. No matter how good your in-house IT staff is, there will be some advances in technology, best practices, and networking maintenance they won’t be aware of. What’s more, a small, dedicated staff is often so focused on daily tasks they simply don’t have time to continue their education.
The industry of IT services as a whole, the latest technology, and best practices are also consistently updating. Unless your IT staff keep up with these changes and trends by following industry publications, speaking with IT staff at other firms, or attending industry events, it’s unlikely that they will be up to date on the best way to provide IT services to your company.
Managed IT Services
Managed IT services refers to IT services provided by third party providers to your organization. This includes maintenance, upgrades, security, training, and more.
A managed IT service provider hires, employs, trains, and pays their own team of IT staff. When you hire a managed service provider you get the combined knowledge, training, and experience of a large team.
IT’s easy to see the benefits of this situation. They provide a service at a flat monthly rate, you get access to cutting-edge technology and knowledge, and you have access to around the clock service.
However, there are drawbacks to this IT service solution—it takes time and effort to find the right service provider for your specific situation, limited on-site availability, it can take time to develop a close working relationship.
Pros of Managed IT Support
Using a managed IT service provider allows your organization to control your IT costs. When you enter into a service agreement with an external IT firm, you create a flat service rate that enables you to make a stable IT budget.
Because you don’t have to hire, train, house, and pay overtime to an internal IT services team, you can allocate those resources to other aspects of your business.
Around the Clock Support
IT management isn’t a 9-5, Monday through Friday affair—you need around the clock IT support. That’s because IT issues can arise any time, day or night. A managed IT service provider offers 24/7 support so you can mitigate issues when they arise, not just during regular business hours.
If your website crashes, or your sales team can’t access customer data or a presentation you need immediate action. Around-the-clock support ensures that if an issue does arise, it will be handled quickly, any time, day or night.
Another key benefit of using a managed service provider is access to all the knowledge and experience of an entire organization. That means you get up to date technology and rapid problem solving.
Managed service providers have seen just about everything—they put that experience to work for you during maintenance, upgrades, and when dealing with issues.
Expert Service Standards
A managed service provider needs to meet or beat expectations. If they don’t, you may start looking for service elsewhere. You’re one of their customers, and they’ll do what they can to ensure you stay one of their customers. That includes providing expert service, working quickly and efficiently, and working with your team so you can get the most from your technology.
In-house staff can become complacent and are much more difficult to replace. A managed service provider works extra hard to ensure you remain a valued customer.
One of the most prohibitive IT costs for most organizations is the need to buy new technology, hardware, and software. Using a managed service provider gives you access to the latest tech, software, and knowledge.
You get access to cutting-edge technology at a fraction of the cost of buying and maintaining it on site.
Cons of Managed IT Support
Limited On-Site Support
The biggest drawback of using a managed IT service provider is typically limited on-site support. While your service provider will offer some on-site service, the majority of your support will be handled remotely.
While this won’t impact the quality of your service, some organizations prefer working with IT support in person, rather than via phone, text, or email.
Some managed IT service providers, however, are able to arrange for a tech to be on-site on a regular basis. Look for this option from IT companies in large cities, like NIC in Los Angeles.
Choosing the Right Provider and Plan
There are a lot of managed IT service providers out there and they all offer a range of service options. It can be difficult to know which provider and plan will be best for your organization. Choosing too much or too little support can put your organization in a bind or cost you more money than you need to spend.
Choose a provider that offers flexibility and will work with you to develop a plan that works for your specific situation.
Which Service is Right For You
Just because you work with a managed service provider doesn’t mean you need to eliminate internal IT services—a combination of both could give you more control over your IT infrastructure, better ability to deal with small issues immediately, and helps you get the most from your technology.
IT support and services are more complex than ever. Working with a managed IT service provider could be your best option—you’ll likely get more bang for your buck, you get access to professional knowledge and cutting-edge technology, and you have access to around the clock support. Contact NIC to speak with a managed IT services professional who can help you decide what kind of IT management is best for your business.