Of course, I believe the answer is “yes”, but I am biased. There are a ton of advantages to outsourcing your IT. However, I will admit there are also advantages to having an in-house IT person. Let’s evaluate further.
Advantages of Outsourcing IT:
- Costs: Is it cheaper to outsource IT? In most situations, yes. To support a network of fifty people, we typically charge somewhere between five and six thousand dollars per month. At first glance, that seems expensive, but hiring an in-house IT person is too. According to www.simplyhired.com, the average level 3 Network Engineer in Washington, DC makes $98,000 a year. Throw in benefits and that works out to be roughly $9,000 per month.
- Additional Services: You will still have other IT costs, even if you hire someone. There are expenses for backup equipment, a firewall, offsite backups, spam filtering, and antivirus software. Most outsourced IT companies (including Network Depot) offer these services.
- Year Round Availability: What happens if your Exchange email server dies while your IT person is on vacation? What is your contingency plan? With outsourced IT you have a staff of people managing your network, so you don’t need to worry if one person goes on vacation.
Breadth of Knowledge: A single IT person won’t know as much as an entire outsourced IT team. Not to mention, the staff at an outsourced IT company gets exposed to hundreds of business networks on a daily basis. Your IT person only sees yours.
- Measurement: How do you know if your IT person is doing his job? Are they updating servers, testing backups, suggesting the right technology, checking for hackers, and running antivirus scans? Outsourced IT companies typically monitor and verify all of this. That’s not necessarily true of an in-house IT person.
Advantages of In-house IT:
- Response Time: Your in-house IT person can almost always respond faster to problems than an outsourced helpdesk can.
- Personal Relationships: It is easier to build a trusting and personal relationship with an in-house IT person than with an outsourced IT company. People get attached to their IT person and only want them to work on their problems. An outsourced IT company can’t promise that the same IT engineer will work with you every time.
- Language Barrier: Many outsourced IT companies use overseas helpdesk staff. Network Depot does not, but this is pretty standard in our industry. While many overseas helpdesks are very competent, the language barrier provides an extra obstacle.
- Intimate Knowledge of Your Network: It is difficult for an outsourced IT department to have the same level of knowledge of the quirks and intricacies of your network as an outsourced IT department.
As you can see, making the decision to outsource is difficult. To me, the advantages of outsourcing are clear, but as I said before, I am biased. You just can’t beat the cost, year round availability, and breadth of knowledge outsourcing IT brings. Yes, there are some drawbacks, like not having an IT person right down the hall. Heck, we have clients that keep a desktop support person on staff and still outsource, providing the best of both worlds. Either way, you should take a serious look at outsourcing. It’s a great way to manage your IT.