IT Outsourcing Solutions – Are They Right For Your Business?
Let’s review the 3 options for IT Outsourcing:
- Managed IT Services
- IT Outsourcing
- IT Subcontracting
- Bonus Point – IT Documentation
For your parent company with satellite offices, IT Outsourcing on an as needed basis works well.
For IT companies servicing clients with satellite offices outside their geographical area, IT Subcontracting to a local provider on an as needed basis reduces cost to the client and and is a good solution. So if your head office is in Victoria and your satellite office in Toronto needs occasional help, then you find a Toronto IT Provider to assist as needed.
Managed IT Services For Small Business
Managing, monitoring, maintaining and integrating hardware and software platforms is the main responsibility of an IT department. However, small and medium companies often lack the budget to maintain or direct a high-quality IT team. Outsourcing via a service level agreement, commonly referred to as Managed IT Services, provides you companies with many of the benefits of a full time IT department for a fraction of the cost.
Service options range among Managed Services Providers (MSP’s). Some focus on enterprise solutions, e-commerce with 24 hour support plans, solutions for specialized equipment, or small business solutions that deliver the most important elements for a better value than larger MSP’s offer. Small businesses primarily need:
- user support during business hours
- better security
- regular software updating and patching
- annual IT reviews
- a comfortable working relationship with their virtual CIO / IT Provider
Expect to pay a per user fee, per month that will cost less than the salary of a single IT employee and give you access to a helpdesk of technicians who are managed and overseen by a senior technician or IT consultant. When you grow beyond 45+ users, it may be better to hire a full time in house IT employee.
Parent / Satellite Office IT Outsourcing Needs
If your head office employs an IT professional or team, they can remotely support your satellite offices. However, from time to time, on site support is required, especially when hardware is involved. Examples can include troubleshooting a network switch, programming and installing a new firewall, router or WiFi antenna, or setting up a new computer.
For this scenario, Managed IT Services would overlap with your IT department and would not be required. The best solution is to find a local IT service provider who offers hourly on site support, and hire them as needed.
To limit exposing your network to multiple outside agents, choose one provider to work with.
If you own an IT support company and some of your local clients have satellite offices outside your service area, IT Subcontracting works well. While you can manage most issues remotely, there are those times when on site support will be needed. Depending on the distance, it often makes sense to subcontract IT services to a local provider in the city of the satellite office to reduce time and travel costs and serve the client more quickly. Again, working with a single provider is ideal to prevent exposure of the network to multiple agents.
Your company should always have up to date IT documentation. This should include user names, account numbers and password recovery methods ( but not actual passwords) for all subscriptions and devices.
This may include domain name registrars, web hosting accounts, antivirus subscriptions, email marketing software, SSL certificate and other tech related services.
You may also want to include makes, models and operating systems of all servers and workstations, firewalls and switches, in case of theft or disaster, or to aid IT upgrade planning.
If you are hiring a Managed Services Provider, they will guide you through this process during your on boarding and IT upgrades phase. If you are still managing your own technology, you can download our free IT Documentation spreadsheet and start your documenting your network.
You can also purchase software that will automatically map a network, which is beneficial for large companies with hundreds of computers. Annual subscriptions are $2500 + per year and require a technically trained employee to make sense of the data.
Companies of all sizes need strong IT support to protect against threats and help improve day to day workflow. We hope this article helped you to clarify your own needs for IT support.
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