There are very few businesses left that don’t rely on IT provisions daily to stay afloat – even if you aren’t in the IT industry, your staff will no doubt use laptops, phones, and a business network to get their work done. But with IT comes the need for IT staff, and finding the best team for your company isn’t always the easiest task.
There are two options when it comes to your IT support: employing your own in-house team, or outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider (or MSP).
You can also read: Why do IT Managers Have High Salaries?
You might assume that the former is the better option – after all, there’s no better way to know the quality of a team than to have them under the roof of your own office. But alternatively, without a lot of IT knowledge, you might not be hiring the best people for the job.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each option, and help you decide on the best course of action for your company.
Hiring A Managed Service Provider
You’re definitely familiar with how an in-house IT team would potentially look and operate, but you may not have this same confidence when it comes to an MSP. Basically, they’re just an IT team who are based in another building!
Most MSP teams can provide you with assistance in complex network design and implementation, in addition to helpdesk style support for your users. They’re there for you as an in-house team would be – if, for example, you were considering whether or not to implement an SD WAN overlay into your business network, they could advise you on the best course of action to take.
The Cost Of An MSP
Although it’s safe to say that an MSP is significantly cheaper than any hypothetical in-house team, it’s also harder to be much more specific than that. Every business is entirely unique, and while you might be able to look at how much a similar business pays for the services of a provider, there will inevitably be factors that make this number higher or lower for your company (the users you have, the data you handle, the people who can access your data, etc.).
Therefore, you won’t be able to just look up a provider and budget around one of their off the rack service packages. It’s helpful to sit down with an MSP and talk about your precise needs – if you choose to work with them, this can then be drafted into an SLA (or Service Level Agreement), which legally binds the MSP to provide you with the agreed services for a set price.
When working out an SLA, you need to ensure that it’s based upon a thorough understanding of your IT needs. They may also be able to make some helpful suggestions you may not have otherwise considered – they’re the experts, and they’ll likely have insight based on experience from working with such a range of businesses!
The Benefits Of An MSP
You might still be questioning whether an MSP is the right choice for your business – in fact, we hope that you are, because you’ll need more information than one article can provide! It’s a good idea to sit down and discuss this decision with other senior team members, even if they don’t have much interest in IT.
Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect if you hire an MSP:
You’ll never quite know what an in-house team will cost you during any given month. Though you might assume that it just amounts to wages, you may also have some unexpected training costs, or need to cover for a staff member on maternity leave or with an illness. With an MSP, this isn’t a concern – you pay what was agreed upon in your SLA, and nothing more unless you explicitly ask for extra services.
No Recruitment Costs
Studies have found that the average cost per hire for each employee is around$4000 – and that doesn’t necessarily factor in lost management time, the interviewing process, and more. Because the process of hiring an MSP basically only involves a meeting or two and some talks over the phone, it’s certainly the cheaper option in the short term.
Zero Training Costs
Once you’ve hired your own dedicated IT team, you’re then responsible for making sure that their training is up to date and that they have all the necessary accreditations for any new software you implement – inevitably, that’s going to cost you. If you don’t want this burden, then an MSP might sound more appealing, as they keep their teams qualified for you.
Staying On The Cutting Edge
Because your MSP will always be working with a range of other businesses alongside yours, likely across a range of sizes and industries, they’ll have a great awareness of all the latest business IT solutions. This means that you’ll always have access to the newest best practice approaches, and that you’ll have the best of the best in place helping you implement them when you’re looking to grow your IT infrastructure.
Keeping Your IT Support In-House
Now that we’ve gone over a range of advantages an MSP can bring, let’s take a look at the oft-preferred alternative: your own dedicated, in-house team.
If you already have a great working culture in place and you don’t want an extra ingredient to ruin the recipe, then it’s understandable to want to keep your support in-house. Additionally, you might want to keep your team in-house if you have concerns about data security and protection, depending on the industry you’re in. An in-house team may also just have a better understanding of what makes your company tick!
Choosing What’s Best For You
It’s hard to know which of these options is the best for you, and you’ll definitely need to do some more reading on each to thoroughly understand them and what they can provide you with. But whatever you end up choosing, you need to make sure that you have no gaps in your security – between downtime and data breaches, a lack of solid security can bring your business down in a frighteningly short amount of time.