IT Help For Small Business: Managed Services VS In-House Tech Team

IT Help For Small Business: Managed Services VS In-House Tech Team information technology

Lots of things threaten the livelihood of small businesses. Technology is one of the more obvious causes.

IT downtime can cost an average of $5,600 per minute. Can your business handle that kind of outlay?

But even if you know you need help, what do you do?

Do you hire managed IT services? Or create an in-house IT team? Both options have their pros and cons. 

And they both come down to the same thing. You want someone to take care of your technology. Which lets you take care of what you're good at - your business.

Are you looking for IT help for small business? Read on to learn more.


Managed IT Services

Small businesses might outsource their IT support to an independent provider. A managed IT services company monitors systems for errors on a continual basis.

They can provide other services, such as data storage, security, and managing updates.

This does mean trusting a third-party with your IT needs. Some businesses don't like handing over control to another company.

But that aside, let's take a look at the pros and cons of managed IT services.


Pros

You get access to a whole team of people for a single price. It's difficult to assemble a team with that level of expertise on your own.

This also gives you support on a 24/7 basis. If a problem happens at 11 pm on a Friday night? Someone is available to fix it for you.

Managed IT services includes regular monitoring and reporting. So they can find and resolve problems before they cause an issue.

The services provider is bound by your contract to guarantee their service. Many providers also guarantee uptime so you won't take a hit to your productivity.

You'll get access to better hardware and software through your provider. So your business stays competitive.

Finances are among the things to consider. Budgeting is much easier because you know how much you're paying for IT support. Your service plan costs a flat rate every month.


Cons

Small businesses might not have the number of IT issues to justify a provider's monthly fee.

There are lots of services providers to choose from. It takes time to find the one that works best with your business.

Many providers also have a range of support options. Finding the right one for you can be confusing.

Unless your provider is based near you, then you'll struggle if a problem requires an on-site fix.


An In-House Tech Team

Hiring an in-house tech team might seem the most obvious solution. That team may be one or two employees, depending on the size of the business.

You have more control over them because they're part of your company. They also understand the nature of your business and how it impacts your IT needs.

What other pros and cons are there to having an in-house tech team?


Pros

They could be cheaper. One or two IT employees could cost less than managed services, depending on your package.

You also have immediate access to personnel to solve issues. As they're on-site, they can fix problems when they occur.

An IT team also develops an in-depth knowledge of your system. They know exactly what works for your business.


Cons

An IT employee might cost less than managed services. But they also take up physical space in your office.

You also have to take benefits, taxes, and the cost of training into account. In-house teams might charge overtime for any emergencies out of office hours.

The advantage of a dedicated IT employee can be a double-edged sword. Yes, they know your system inside out. But if they leave, they take that knowledge with them.

You'll also need some kind of backup support when that employee takes vacation time. Or you'll need a plan to cover their workload if they call in sick.

A single employee might be a good all-rounder. But they're less likely to have specialist knowledge.
An in-house IT team only has limited experience based on what they know. If a problem occurs that they can't solve? You need to spend even more money bringing in a specialist.

In-house teams often stagnate because they focus on the systems you already have. It's difficult for them to stay up-to-date with technology or best practice unless you invest in training.


Which Is the Best Source of IT Help for Small Business?

It depends on the way you run your business. The more remote workers you use, the fewer demands you have on resources in your office.

83 percent of employees work remotely, even part of the time. The proportion of your employees working remotely may be different.

But remote workers can let you hire talented staff if the local employment pool lacks the skills you need.

With more staff using devices remotely, you have fewer demands on the tech in your office. Managed IT services can monitor remote devices and your in-house network. Your remote workers contact your IT service provider in the event of a problem.

And managed IT services makes it easier to plan your finances, access specialist knowledge, and keep your wages bill down.

Consider how you've dealt with IT problems in the past. Could you fix them yourself armed with Google and a spare half hour? Then an in-house team might be enough for the time being.

Or have you had to hire specialist technicians to come and fix the problem? Have you paid for help in setting up new systems in your office? Managed IT services will be a better choice.

Some companies even start with a mixture of both. They hire an in-house IT employee for day-to-day maintenance and on-site issues. But they also hire a managed IT services provider for wider or specialist support.


Choose the Right IT Support for Your Business

Now you know the pros and cons of hiring IT help for small business. Either option could be the right route for your company. Or you may choose to blend both options.

Only you know what your business needs. Or what you can afford. But whatever you decide, know there is help out there to keep your business going.

Enjoy this post? Why not check out our other articles on startups and technology for more advice?

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