Regardless of the industry, just about every business requires information technology (IT) services, and a team of experienced specialists to implement and maintain them. This includes: server management, data backup, virus protection, spyware installation, malware safeguards and daily technical support.
While it’s no question an IT specialist is vital to a company’s productivity, most small and midsize businesses (SMBs) face the same question: “Should I hire an in-house IT specialist or should I outsource these responsibilities to someone outside of the company?”
They often also struggle to reach a decision.
That’s because it’s not as simple as a “yes” or “no” answer. There are multiple factors impacting this, from the amount of IT support a business needs to the tools used, company size, and willingness to hire another employee. Both in-house and outsourced specialists possess advantages and limitations that business owners should consider before settling on such a solution.
In-House IT Specialist
Hiring an in-house IT specialist physically adds a dedicated member to your team who can address related issues as they arise. They can focus on the needs of your business, while working closely with employees They can handle simple fixes, such as printer problems, or more complex tasks, such as installing the proper malware to protect against hackers.
There are limitations to hiring an in-house IT team, however. Larger businesses will likely require more than one. This will demand vetting candidates through the hiring process, and budgeting for several additional salaries. Smaller teams may become overwhelmed.
Outsourcing Your IT Specialist
Whether seeking a specialist for a single or full suite of tasks, outsourcing can be an affordable option. Information technology outsourcing (ITO) utilizes off-site managed service providers (MSP) or IT consultants at a fraction of the cost of those in-house. Savings also result from not having to invest in additional equipment or software.
Oftentimes, outsourced IT specialists provide 24/7 support and constantly monitor business systems. In case of an emergency, they can fix the issue even before employees arrive back at the office the next day. This helps improve efficiencies and productivity levels within the workspace.
Outsourcing IT needs is also popular. According to online market research portal Statista, business and government spending on IT outsourcing and hardware maintenance grew significantly from 2013 to 2017, ballooning to an expected $503 billion during the latter year.
This estimate includes spending on:
- Computer hardware support services
- Application management
- Infrastructure cloud services.
While outsourcing is an enticing option, there are several drawbacks:
- Security – Someone outside your organization will have access to important and confidential information.
- Communication – Since the outsourced IT team is off-site, interactions will be relegated to phone and/or email.
- Availability – Whatever firm you hire will also have other clients. Consequently, requests may be addressed on a first-come, first-serve basis. This may not be ideal regarding pressing matters.
Some companies enlist a combination of in-house and outsourced IT services, enabling them to enjoy the best of both worlds: .all the advantages of hosting an IT specialist in your office, with access to the resources of a large IT team.