Many businesses struggle with how to choose an IT services team. Should you hire in-house or go with an MSP? Learn the pros and cons of each option here.
When it comes to IT services — from daily maintenance and cybersecurity, to new installations and troubleshooting — which is better: Hiring an outside managed services provider (MSP) or employing an in-house IT specialist or team?
This question is not a new one. It’s dealt with in many other arenas where outsourcing a specific task is possible — for example: Marketing, bookkeeping, janitorial services, catering, etc.
Part of making a final decision on matters like these is weighing the pros and cons. If your business is considering the hire of an MSP versus the hire of an in-house IT specialist (or team of specialists), consider the following pros and cons to each option below.
Pro: On-site availability
Many businesses like having an in-house IT support person (or a team) because it gives them continual, on-site access to IT help when they need it. Of course, this only extends to business hours.
Pro: Possible deeper knowledge of your company’s internal infrastructure
In-house IT service professionals will generally know the ins and outs of your particular business better than outsourced IT services.
Con: High personnel costs
In-house IT teams should be paid a living wage, which often includes perks such as healthcare services and paid vacation and sick leave.
Con: Lack of support if IT specialist is on vacation or sick
Speaking of paid vacation and sick leave, during those times when your IT staff is away, you’ll have no access to IT services, which could put your business efficiency at risk.
Con: Lots of downtimes
On the other hand, when you don’t require the services of your IT team, you’ll still have to pay them, resulting in a continual outflow of money that’s not actually serving your business.
Con: Lower level of expertise
Of course, this all depends on the IT team you’d hire, but it’s generally accepted that most SMBs won’t be able to support continual training for their in-house IT team. Unfortunately, in the IT support world, continual training is absolutely vital.
Pro: Range of payment options
From the get-go, businesses can choose their level of service when it comes to MSPs. If you’re small and just starting out, you can choose a service level that matches your budgets and your needs.
As your business grows, MSPs allow you to scale up to higher levels of service. That way, you’ll actually be paying for the services you use instead of an unchangeable flat rate, no matter how many services you employ.
Pro: Broader skill base
MSPs specialize in IT services — it’s their bread and butter. As a result, they have a vested interest in staying up-to-date with the most advanced IT service practices available at any given time. They are continually learning, training, and expanding their knowledge and capabilities.
Pro: 24/7 availability
Although it’s true that in-house IT services are always available on-site, MSPs offer 24/7 service — you just have to give them a call. In fact, most MSPs will give you a “minimum response time.” That’s the maximum number of minutes you’ll have to wait if you need their services any time of the day or night, 24/7. It’s generally around 10 minutes to an hour at most.
Con: Lack of full control over IT systems
The biggest con of MSPs is that they’re outsourced. That is, they’re located remotely, and as a result, they’re not on-premise wherever you are. In some cases, this could possibly result in less control over IT on your end.
At the same time, however, it’s important to note that many businesses aren’t interested in this control. They simply need reliable IT services to fix problems, provide security, and occasionally install new hardware or software.
The scalability, low-cost, provided expertise and a wide array of support offered by managed services providers make them the best choice for nearly all businesses.
From small startups with low budgets to large enterprises that need top-of-the-line security from the best in the business, IT services that are handled by MSPs consistently rate higher and provide more satisfaction to their clients.
If your business is looking to hire a managed services provider, do your research. You’ll want to find a local MSP with expertise in your company’s particular industry. Finally, look for adequate training and certifications in employees and reputable history of satisfied clients.