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Internal IT vs. Managed Services: Which is Right for My Business?

Those of us who own businesses (or work in them) can’t imagine life without computers – or IT support services. A report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that 95% of small businesses in the United States use some form of technology platform in their business. It seems that the only hesitancy to fully embrace the need for cyber protection has come from companies that had been in operation prior to the advent of personal computers and may have a more informal approach to technology needs, says a LinkedIn author.

As stories and real-life examples about cyber criminal activity and its dire consequences increase, though, just about everyone in business today knows how important it is to have a strategic and professional approach to protecting data and infrastructure.

There are typically two routes that the business owner can take to achieve this objective:

1. Hiring and creating an internal IT department
2. Outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider


Which is right for you?

In part, the answer may depend on the size of your company and the number of computers/workstations that your business operates.

Internal IT
Using an internal IT department is seen by some as beneficial in that you, as the business owner, have direct control over your employees. In smaller companies, the “IT department” is often only one or two people.

But before you put out the “Help Wanted” advertisement for an internal IT person, there are a few points to consider:

  1. It is critical that you have a plan to see that these internal employees are up to speed on the latest software, cyber threats, and any and all information directly relevant to keeping your system protected.
  2. Does your business have enough need to support a full-time IT professional? Or several IT professionals? It’s preferable to have IT personnel dedicated exclusively to IT needs.
  3. Does it fit your budget? Recuiter.com places the average salary for an internal IT professional at $74,686 in the U.S., with a range between $52,000 and $106,000, depending on the geographic region. If your company does not have the work to keep each IT professional fully engaged, this can become costly and the temptation can arise to have IT people work on “lesser” projects just to fill their work schedules, such as repairing copiers and printers.
  4. Consider the issue of employee turnover. In a company, if you have one or even two IT people and one (or both) leave, it can create a serious disruption in the protection of your infrastructure while you hire and train replacements.
  5. Computer Tech notes that another challenge with internal IT operations is the difficulty in finding talent – again noting that if an internal IT person leaves, it could put the company in a challenging position. IT people are generally in demand; recruiting (and retaining) them can be difficult in this labor market.

Managed Services
For a company that for budgetary or other considerations does not believe that an internal IT professional (or several) is the right fit, there is the popular option of contracting with an outsourced Managed Services Provider (MSP) to handle their IT needs. An MSP can monitor and manage your company’s infrastructure on a 24/7 basis remotely. MSPs deliver services such as network, application, infrastructure, and security.

Some advantages to using an outside MSP include:

  1. Financially beneficial: your outsourced MSP does not require employee benefits, including vacations, Social Security, and other deductions that you pay to in-house personnel. Since an MSP is comprised of a team, you won’t have to worry about downtime with one of them “calling in sick.” Using an MSP also affords a level of financial predictability; with a fixed fee you can budget and forecast.
  2. Using an outside MSP means that a business does not need to tackle the ongoing issue of training IT personnel. The need for training and education is ongoing. Cybercriminals never take a vacation; they are always coming up with new ways to hack into systems. An MSP is up to speed on the latest threats and provides that knowledge and protection as part of the service.
  3. A Forbes article says that using an MSP allows your organization to scale its IT infrastructure and services up or down as needed. An MSP can remotely add or remove resources from your environment as your business grows or changes.
  4. Proactive monitoring by an MSP can avoid downtime, according to an Indeed.com article. Monitoring the system can make sure it is running smoothly, and when there is an issue, detect little problems before they become bigger ones. MSPs are highly accessible.
  5. Access to the most up-to-date technology, including remote monitoring and management.
  6. Increased workplace productivity, with systems that are updated and configured correctly – and affording you, as a business owner, the opportunity to spend more time running your business and not “putting out fires.”
  7. Improved overall security.
  8. Easier and quicker to onboard new technologies. MSPs can manage the implementation and integration of new technologies into your infrastructure.

It is very important to do everything you can to protect your business or organization and its infrastructure. If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact us here or give us a call at (888) 357-4277.

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Topics: Managed IT, Cybersecurity, Managed Service Provider, IT, Managed Services, Managed Service Providers, penetration testing, email

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