Should you outsource IT?
These days, a business needs a website, search engine optimization, a social media presence, marketing automation, an integrated phone system, a practice management and billing solution, and a business-grade network to hold it all together. No matter how much you understand your industry, the only question is how much IT support you need and whether it is worth hiring full-time on-site technicians or if you should outsource IT to a team of business-savvy IT experts.
While big corporations that ‘have it all’ may have their own complete IT department, most SMBs (small to medium businesses) find a great benefit in outsourcing their IT needs to professionals who serve several companies in the same capacity. Not sure if this route is for you? Here are seven reasons that might change your mind.
Building an IT department in your business is a big commitment and in more than just employees’ wages, benefits, taxes and hiring costs. Each technician will also need their own desk, computer equipment, and office space to accommodate them. While it may make sense depending on your firm size to have an on-site technician as part of your customer service team, an outsourced team of IT professionals only costs a regular subscription fee. They do not need healthcare, benefits, or catered lunches and they will never need to talk to HR about time off.
2) Third Party Perspective
When you are working with your own system, it is easy to get a little bit of tunnel vision. The software and configurations you have now might seem fine and many in-house IT staff are hesitant to try something new when they are familiar with the existing system. An outsourced consultant, however, will help you get a better big-picture perspective of where your network efficiency and security really lies in the grand scheme of things. If you have fallen behind the curve without realizing it, an outside team can bring you a valuable third-party perspective, and then help you get updated to the latest and best tools for your firms’ needs.
3) Expert Recommendations
Of course, even if you know it is time to update your system, it can be hard to know which direction to go with the process. There are several possible variations on your business infrastructure to evaluate from cloud/ hosted applications to document management solutions to hardware options. Is your firm compliant with security regulatory and ethical requirements? Are your practice management and other software applications meeting your needs? Your outsourced IT team can guide you to the perfect configuration for your company.
4) Constant Monitoring
A company’s computer network is nearly a living creature. Even when everyone has logged off and gone home, it still processes data, serves your website to customers, and waits for the next user command. Unfortunately, this ‘living’ quality also makes networks more susceptible to hackers who can attack or activate hidden malware in off-hours or while the rest of your staff is too busy to notice during the day. An external IT team can monitor your system more closely with a monitoring team and tools, and proactively correct issues before they become problems.
5) Training and Certifications
Training is a common business challenge. A managed IT provider will have a team of trained technicians that are certified in a wide variety of systems and architectures. Some outsourced IT providers can also provide training to your end users so you do not need to hire your own in-house trainer.
Having a managed service provider is one of the best things you can do for your network security. From upgrading your firewalls to monitoring for malware, their list of daily tasks to do for security will help keep your defenses closed against hackers and your security configuration up to date against the latest threats. While your on-site staff can get caught up in daily or seasonal excitement, your managed IT team will steadily protect and update your systems, reliably maintaining solid network security.
7) Regulation Compliance
Finally, most industries are subject to at least one if not several sets of IT safety and client privacy regulations. From HIPAA to PCI, there are multitudes of IT tasks that are necessary to maintain your valuable compliance status. Encryption, backups and deletion processes need to be maintained and updated, and even compliant software needs to be properly configured before it can protect you and your clients. A managed IT service can take these tedious tasks off your plate, keeping your business compliant without all the hassle.