As your business grows, you may choose to outsource many of the tasks that you need to perform to keep the business running smoothly, from your accounting to your marketing–and IT support is no exception. By reaching out to an outsourced provider for your IT support services, you will find that your business can grow considerably–and that your outsourced provider can quickly and effectively take care of those necessary IT tasks without straining the resources your business has on hand.
What is Outsourced IT Support?
Outsourced IT support shifts the regular support for your IT services to an external organization. Instead of taking care of those tasks in-house, you can shift your IT support to a service provider that specializes in exactly that: taking care of business IT needs.
Your business likely has a specific field in which you specialize. Your employees receive a high degree of training in that specific arena, and other people, potentially including businesses, trust you to complete those responsibilities and tasks. When you outsource your IT services, you get a company that specializes in taking care of IT tasks, from managing your cybersecurity needs to ensuring that your employees at all levels have the support they need to keep their technology running smoothly.
Many people worry that working with an outsourced IT provider will make it difficult for you to customize your technology and support to your needs. However, you will find that working with that provider will enhance your existing options, rather than removing them. An outsourced IT service provider will be external to your organization, but will work with your team to ensure that you have the high standard of support your team needs. Your outsourced IT provider will help your team make important decisions about your network, your security, and your support that fit your needs, not necessarily a typical mold.
Common Outsourced IT Services
What your outsourced IT provider offers to your company may vary depending on the services you need to have performed and the specific provider. In general, however, IT service providers will offer:
When your employees have problems that can be addressed by basic IT troubleshooting, your IT service provider will step in to ensure that they receive the help they need. Basic troubleshooting may range from addressing simple software issues to managing hardware challenges. You may need someone your employees can call when they need to take care of a basic password reset or when they’re encountering familiar problems with their machines–or you may need someone they can call when everything seems to be going wrong and they’re struggling to manage their technology effectively.
Outsourcing basic troubleshooting, or early-tier IT support, is a great way to free up your tech team’s time to focus on other tasks, from rolling out your latest upgrades to putting together effective apps and programs just for your business.
Basic Patch, Network, and Update Management
IT system updates are critical for your overall business functionality. They serve two key purposes. First, patches help fix any problems with the software you use on a regular basis. Patches can improve the software’s ability to communicate with other programs, apps, and platforms you use, streamline the platform’s effectiveness and remove time-consuming glitches, and make the program operate more smoothly.
Second, patches ensure that any known security holes in the software you use every day are closed. Often, you have a limited amount of time before information about a security problem becomes public knowledge. Once they know about it, hackers can quickly take advantage of that hole in the system to make their way into your network. Unfortunately, many businesses delay patches “until they have time” or want to install them at certain points of the day so the install is less likely to interfere with other tasks. This can lead to missed updates and patches, which can leave your network vulnerable.
When you outsource your IT services, however, your provider will take care of those updates and patches, ensuring that your system is free of any vulnerabilities that could cause serious problems down the road. Not only that, your provider can make sure that your network is up-to-date, running smoothly, and free of unnecessary problems that can slow down your network and bog down your responses.
Cybersecurity is becoming an increasing challenge for many businesses across multiple industries. Even small businesses can face immense cybersecurity challenges, which can leave them vulnerable or suffering from the aftermath of a data breach. An effective IT provider can help make sure your cybersecurity is up to date and monitor your systems remotely to help prevent potential challenges.
Cybersecurity involves multiple elements of your business, from daily employee tasks like protecting passwords to how you segment your network. An outsourced IT provider can ensure that you do not miss the important details and best practices that can help protect your business.
Data Backup and Continuity
Your business runs on its data. Imagine losing access to that data, either due to a network failure or ransomware attack. Suddenly, you no longer have access to important customer information.
What would your business do next?
Unfortunately, all too many businesses realize the poor quality of their data backup protocols the hard way. When an emergency arises, they may discover that they can no longer access previous versions of the data–and they have to figure out what to do next.
Your outsourced IT provider can give you information about best practices for data backups and help you decide how often you need to take care of those backups in order to protect your business. In addition, your provider can take care of those backups for you, which can help you keep your business flowing smoothly and let you know that you have the backups you need when disaster does strike.
8 Reasons Your Business Needs to Outsource IT Support
Many businesses choose to handle their IT support in-house. Others may try to bring in IT service providers on an as-needed basis. Outsourcing your IT support, on the other hand, can offer several much-needed advantages for your business.
1. Outsourcing your IT support can free up much-needed resources within your business.
If you have an internal IT team, they may need to wear many hats over the course of the average business day. By outsourcing your IT support services, you can allow your internal team to focus on other things, whether that means deploying new technology solutions across your business or keeping up with the changing requirements of your specific industry.
Some businesses are trying to make do without an existing or specialized IT team. They may, for example, have someone in the office who “knows computers fairly well” who tries to keep the system running the majority of the time. Sometimes, however, that can lead to unnecessary complications, including preventing that employee from taking care of other responsibilities throughout the business. When you outsource your IT services, you can allow that employee to shift their focus back to the other tasks you hired them to complete–and likely the ones that they specialize in.
2. Outsourced IT support can help you cut costs.
Keeping IT support in the office means paying salary and benefits for your employees as well as making sure that they have adequate office space and equipment. Not only that, you may need to pay for training and make sure that you have enough employees on hand to take care of vacations and sick days. The cost of maintaining an in-house IT team can add up quickly. Outsourcing your IT services can often help you cut your overall IT costs, especially when compared to keeping up with an internal team.
3. When you choose to outsource IT services, you get access to all of the company’s resources.
IT resources may include cybersecurity tools as well as specific programs and platforms that you need to keep your network and your programs running smoothly. An outsourced IT provider may already have access to many of those tools, which they will use in their interactions with your company at no additional cost to your business.
4. Your outsourced IT team has access to all the skills you need.
When you utilize only an internal IT team, you only have access to the skills that those individuals already have. If you need other skills, you will need to either bring in another service provider or hire more members for your team, which can mean substantial additional costs. Your outsourced IT provider, on the other hand, may have many more IT specialists on staff than you would be able to maintain in your office–and that means that they also have access to all of those diverse skills.
In addition, as IT standards and needs change, your outsourced IT provider will keep up with training for your needs, from staying on top of the latest advances in cybersecurity to ensuring that your team knows the latest information about keeping your network running smoothly. You’ll be able to rest easy in the knowledge that your IT team has that information in hand, rather than rushing to keep up with training or allowing your team off to update certifications.
5. It’s easy to scale outsourced IT support.
Your business is constantly growing, and its needs change on a regular basis. If you have an internal IT team, that may mean that you need to regularly hire new members for your team in order to handle basic support, maintain cybersecurity standards, and keep up with your network. Worse, if your IT needs change, including the need to downsize, you may need to lay off team members–or find yourself with team members that you don’t really need in order to keep your business running smoothly. By outsourcing your IT needs, on the other hand, you can more easily scale your IT services based on the current needs of your business.
6. Outsourced IT can help keep your internal focus on the tasks that you do best.
Your business, like most others, has a specific industry in which it specializes. Those are the things you’re best at–and unless your company’s main focus includes IT support, chances are, it is neither cybersecurity nor basic network function. By outsourcing your IT needs, you can keep your internal team focused on the tasks it’s best prepared to accomplish, rather than worried about your IT needs.
7. Outsourcing your IT services can make it easier for you to build the team you need to get the job done.
In many fields, especially IT, employers are struggling to bring in enough employees to fill open roles. Some fields, including cybersecurity, are growing rapidly, and employees are in high demand. You may struggle to find employees who can fill the roles you have open if you try to build an internal IT team, especially if you need employees who can specialize in roles like network security.
Filling those roles becomes doubly challenging when you need to fill them as a small business. Consider:
It can be very difficult to find employees who can easily fill multiple roles.
Employees who are comfortable filling a tech support role for others in your organization may not be entirely comfortable managing your internal cybersecurity, especially if they focus on that role. Unfortunately, it can prove very difficult to find an employee who may be willing to fill all of those roles–and if you’re a small business, you may need a smaller number of employees on your IT team to fill those roles. An outsourced provider, on the other hand, will have employees in their organization who can take on all those tasks. In many cases, you will find that they have employees who specialize in those specific areas–and your business will have access to that information and expertise.
You may not be able to offer the benefits or competitive salary that larger businesses can offer.
As a small business, you may not have access to the same standard of benefits that IT professionals expect from their employers. You might need your employees to work on a tighter budget than many big businesses, especially those that specialize in IT tasks, can offer. Unfortunately, that can make it incredibly difficult for you to attract employees who are interested in what you have to offer. By outsourcing, on the other hand, you will not have to worry about the cost of paying your IT team’s salary or coming up with the benefits they need. Instead, you can simply calculate the cost of the services you’ve contracted.
You may not know where to look for the best IT employees.
You know how to recruit employees in your industry: where to find them, where they most often go to school, and where they turn when they’re looking for jobs. When you’re looking for employees to round out your IT team, however, you may not know where to find them. An outsourced IT provider, on the other hand, will know exactly where to find fantastic IT employees–and they’ll bring them to the table.
By outsourcing your IT team, on the other hand, you will get access to those high-quality employees and the training they have acquired, but without having to attract them to a smaller business that does not focus on technology alone.
8. Outsourcing your IT services will provide you with access to industry-wide best practices.
Your outsourced IT team will have a solid understanding of the latest best practices across industries–and in many cases, that will include your own. This may include everything from basic cybersecurity best practices like two-factor authentication and effective password management to segmenting your network to keep IoT devices separate from the devices on your network that may contain sensitive information.
When you outsource your IT services, you will get access to experienced professionals who can keep you up-to-date on best practices for everything from security to network maintenance–and as a result, you’ll find that your network runs much more smoothly.
Want to learn more about outsourced IT and how it can help advance your business? Check out our ebook, 5 Big Ways IT Outsourcing Can Boost Your Company’s Productivity today to learn more.
FAQ About Outsourced IT Support
Do you have questions about how to outsource IT support services or what it might mean to work with an external provider for your IT needs? Take a look at the FAQ below to learn more.
What is outsourced IT?
Outsourced IT takes the basic IT services your business needs in order to function smoothly and contracts an external provider to take care of them. Instead of turning to an in-house team to take care of all of your needs, which can prove very costly, you can rely on an external IT provider to manage those needs.
Which IT services should I outsource?
Outsourcing some of your IT needs does not necessarily mean that you have to outsource all of them. In fact, many businesses find that customizing their support is an option that works very effectively for their needs. You might, for example, decide to outsource your cybersecurity, but take care of your later-tier tech support in-house–or you might decide to keep a tech in-house to take care of Tier 1 support, but outsource your later-tier support services.
When considering what IT services you want to outsource, you may want to consider:
1. What elements of IT does your existing team specialize in?
Your team may already have specialists who are great at dealing with specific attributes of your IT needs, and you may want to maintain those employees. Consider what your team specializes in: where they regularly seek out training, what they feel comfortable handling, and how that may impact the tasks they are most prepared to perform.
2. How many members do you have on your existing IT team?
If you have a solid IT team already in place, you may not need to outsource all of your IT services. On the other hand, if you want to cut costs or decrease the number of employees you have in the office, you may need to outsource more IT services. Likewise, if your existing team is struggling to keep up with the workload, you may find that it’s more effective to outsource the majority of your IT services, leaving your existing team free to take care of other tasks in the office.
3. What are your IT priorities?
Take a look at your specific priorities for your business, including both your current needs and how they have changed over time. Are you interested in deploying new solutions–either software or hardware–in the near future? Are you concerned with the changing cybersecurity landscape and how it could impact your business? Keep in mind that by working with an outsourced IT provider, you can often get access to professionals with greater training in the areas you’re most concerned with–especially if you’ve struggled to fill existing roles in your IT team due to talent shortage in your local area.
Should I outsource my IT services?
Many business owners find that outsourcing their IT services is a highly effective way to cut costs and make it easier for them to manage their IT needs. Should you, specifically, outsource your IT services? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you need to cut IT costs?
- Is your existing team failing to provide the support your organization needs in order to keep running smoothly?
- Are you struggling to keep employees on your existing IT team?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may find that outsourcing your IT services is the right decision for your business. If you want to learn more, contact us today to discuss your IT needs and how Frontline IT can help you achieve your goals.