Almost 30% of small and midsize businesses do not employ any IT support. And that’s not even counting those businesses that do not have enough of that support. As we mentioned in our previous blog, Why Small Businesses Need IT Support, there’s a strong case to be made that small companies – actually businesses of any size -- need these services. However, businesses have many different options to get the security resources and general support they need. One way companies can do this is to hire an employee, or team of employees, with IT expertise. This is called in-house IT support. On the other hand, many companies choose to out-source such services or employ a combination of these two methods.
When you hire in-house IT support, you’re establishing a foundation for knowledge that’s specific to your business’s needs, programs, day-to-day operations, and strategic goals. Your company can benefit from these insights through tailored maintenance and solutions at a higher level than some outsourcing options may be able to provide. While a tech employee may be able to fix small issues and keep your systems running, he or she may not be skilled enough for strategic planning or risk assessments. Staying connected is important, but these are short-run benefits and may not provide valuable insight for your business in the long-run. Alongside this, internal support may come at the expense of expertise that keeps up with the industry, at least when compared to third parties that specialize in IT. The IT field is nothing if not dynamic, changing frequently and rapidly, and that change can be difficult for an in-house team to keep pace with. While training programs are available, they’re also costly. On the other hand, many companies that specialize in IT support are staffed and oriented to stay up-to-date.
As mentioned prior, an in-house IT team will be more established in your company and its culture, which provides a familiarity with your day-to-day operations and systems. However, skilled IT professionals will be looking for opportunities to grow and be challenged, so a lack of engagement and advancement opportunities makes retention complicated. Directly employing quality talent is difficult, and expensive even when possible. However, if your business environment is exceptionally novel or exclusive, the greater cost that in-house staff would require might be justified.
When something goes wrong, you want it fixed -- immediately. A quick response can make all the difference, and to be sure, the bigger the issue, the greater the urgency to get your systems back up and running. If your IT support is on staff and essentially right down the hall, then an immediate response is just steps away, unless ... An issue arises after hours. Or what if your staff is short-handed due to sickness or vacation, or because your company is facing multiple issues simultaneously. A problem doesn’t always rear its ugly head 9 to 5 nor one at a time. If you have an issue when your IT support is unavailable, then you could be facing costly delays. While external services may have multiple clients, they typically have a team large enough to handle multiple situations simultaneously -- so you never have to worry about sick days or understaffing concerns.
One of the most important factors to consider when hiring in-house is this: without expert knowledge of this industry, it’s difficult to know if the person(s) you are hiring is qualified to handle these critical tasks. Not only can this be harmful to your business if problems arise, but you would be spending a significant amount of money on support that isn’t meeting your needs. When you hire your IT support directly (and are confident in their skills and abilities), you have some level of control over what it will cost you when you set the salary – although it must meet market pricing if you want the necessary level of expertise. Also, with in-house support, there will be no surprise fees or add-ons, as may be the case with some third-party services. The bottom line: You’ll have a better idea about what these services cost each month.However, in many cases, hiring IT in-house can be a more costly option. You have to pay a full salary and benefits for an employee, whereas when you outsource, you only pay for what you need, when you need it. Simply put, for small and medium-sized businesses, a managed service provider with the right expertise will cost less than hiring knowledgeable in-house staff.
While in-house IT support has its benefits, it may or may not be the best solution for your business based on your needs, capacity, and budget. Many companies have even found the best of both worlds by combining in-house IT with other support methods. Regardless of the solution you choose, IT support is an essential part of protecting and growing your business. To find out more about professional IT services, contact Sawyer Solutions today. We can help you create a custom plan to manage your IT systems, so you don’t have to! Unsure, or still in the investigation stage? We offer free consultations so you can get expert insight into your business IT needs.