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Which Type of IT Support is Right for You?

Ensuring the right mix of IT support is important for every business, regardless of industry or size. For some, it means a full-time professional or even an entire department. For others, it may mean a part-time professional or tech-savvy staff member who provides support in addition to their other duties. Then there are the businesses that have no internal support; choosing to outsource the entire IT function or simply call on a provider when problems arise.

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each scenario.

Large companies with full-time IT professionals on staff

Internal IT departments are often expected to provide full IT services, ranging from helpdesk support to developing strategic plans and budgets. However, the skillsets of the professionals on staff need to be considered carefully, along with how much time they have to fulfill their duties.

Some IT professionals find themselves immersed in daily troubleshooting, handling individual requests for desktop support and trying to maintain and update computers and devices as they go. This may leave them limited time to proactively monitor, patch and test operating systems, backups and disaster recovery solutions.

In other cases, the full-time professional is responsible for higher level work, creating strategic plans and budgets, and researching new and innovative ways of doing things. Here, they may find themselves falling behind on supporting individual support requests.

Outsourcing a portion of your IT needs may be a good solution to provide your company with more consistent and thorough support. A strong managed service provider can supplement your existing internal resources. They can handle a piece of infrastructure such as managing networking equipment and servers and overseeing security services, leaving ample time for your internal resources to support your daily needs. Or, if your IT executive prefers to remain focused on the higher level needs of the company, a managed service provider can be responsible for providing on-site and remote helpdesk support.

The bottom line is that the right managed service provider should be able to devise a solution that will compliment and supplement your existing resources, providing you with comprehensive coverage.

Companies with a part-time support person

Many small and medium size businesses have an internal IT person, ranging from a part-time desktop support person to a tech-savvy employee who works on the network in their spare time.

The latter scenario can be problematic because the IT responsibilities take time away from the individuals and programs the organization exists to support. And while desktop support professionals can be valuable for daily on-site troubleshooting, they are often not well-trained on the intricacies of running a secure and speedy environment that can support dozens, or even hundreds, of devices. In addition, part-time support professionals often find themselves reactive, rather than proactive, racing to patch holes and clean computers after they become infected, spending valuable time troubleshooting network performance issues and working with end-users to troubleshoot individual problems.

In this case, outsourcing a portion of your IT needs can be tremendously beneficial. Speak with a managed service provider to learn how they can supplement the skillset of your internal resource. Options will range from providing helpdesk support as needed to providing proactive managed service solutions that will keep your network and all connected devices secure and up-to-date. There are also specialized services to consider, such as managing your backup and disaster recovery solutions, running security assessments, and developing strategic technology plans to support growth goals.

Companies with no internal support who outsource some (or all) of their IT needs

Those with no internal support and no managed service contract in place are often forced to spend reactively, paying a consultant or freelancer by the hour to fix problems that have occurred. The obvious problem here is that you are now suffering from disruption, possibly lost data, unable to control your budget, and have no plan for the next day, let alone the rest of the year.

Partnering with an IT consulting firm that offers managed services is critical in this scenario. Any business that employs multiple computers and devices, relies on the internet for research or communication, or is responsible for securing data, needs to have a technology support system in place. There are two distinct options to consider, based on needs and budget: Pay-As-You-Go and Managed Services.

Defining Pay-As-You-Go vs. Managed Services

Pay-As-You-Go. Some IT firms charge hourly and fix problems as they occur. Special projects can be completed upon request and are billed based on time.

This scenario sometimes works for companies with an internal person who is very capable of handling the majority of daily troubleshooting and also has the time and skillset to handle the proactive and sometimes complex issues associated with managing and securing an entire network and the many devices that connect to it.

For those with no internal support it could become cost- prohibitive and leave dangerous gaps in their infrastructure support.

Managed Services. Another option is called Managed Services. An IT team is placed on retainer for a fixed monthly fee, and functions as your outsourced technology department.

Where appropriate, a managed service provider can augment an existing IT professional based on your individual needs. This is particularly useful when a reliable backup option is needed because the employed professional is unavailable, whether it’s due to illness, vacation, holidays or after-hours.

Where no internal team exists, this is the best option for providing a full technology solution in a cost-effective manner.

Managed service contracts are typically comprehensive, providing services such as:

  • 24/7/365 proactive monitoring to detect issues before they impact you
  • Immediate remote support, as well as on-site support for big and small issues
  • Proactive updates and upgrades for all software and operating systems for every device that is part of your company’s network
  • Enhanced firewall and security management
  • Automated data backup
  • And much more

Ask yourself:

  • Are you confident your IT professional understands the intricacies of maintaining a fast, secure and scalable system that can support every device that connects to your network?
  • Can they respond to an emergency immediately?
  • Have they helped you develop a long-term plan to support your growth goals?

If not, contact one of our specialists at info@act-tek.com or (973) 758-0500 to learn how managed service solutions can have a positive impact on your business.