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When should you outsource your IT support?

Every business needs IT, and outsourcing your IT support is common. 

That statement should not surprise any business owner, regardless of how big an operation you run. After all, even a small restaurant needs to store and secure the data regarding their operations. However, at what point does it make sense to outsource your IT support, and more importantly, when does it no longer make sense?

In this article we will present you with a couple rules of thumb for when you should consider moving to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to handle your IT infrastructure, and a few key moments in a business’s lifetime when it makes sense to build an in-house IT team instead.

 

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When does it make sense to outsource your IT support?

Let’s begin the discussion by bringing up the scale and size of your business operations.

Your business operations no longer depend on a single person.

When your business is small enough that you are the only person running the show, it might not make sense to start piling up the expenses by paying someone to manage your IT services. However, many businesses grow past that phase fairly quickly, and as your business grows, so does the complexity of managing all your IT resources.

As you start hiring people to offload tasks that you do not have the time to deal with yourself, it makes sense to outsource your IT support at the same time in order to set up the right foundation to make sure that your IT infrastructure can easily scale along with the rest of your business operations.

The data you hold makes you anxious.

The news is full of scary headlines about data breaches, ransomware attacks, irreversible data loss and many more technical problems that even some of the largest companies face. I mean, just look at the example of the Colonial Pipeline Company - they had 100 Gigabytes of their data stolen and had to pay $4.4 million to resolve a ransomware attack in May of 2021.

When your business starts to collect enough sensitive information, or generate important data on its own, having someone do a security audit of your IT infrastructure is the prudent thing to do! Being proactive by outsourcing your IT early will both secure your business against malicious actors and help you sleep better at night.

Your time becomes more valuable running the rest of the business and not just the IT infrastructure.

As you grow your business, you will quickly realize that everything you do has an opportunity cost, and that managing your IT requires more and more of your valuable time and attention. As a business owner, you will create significantly more value coming up with a strategy to, for example, expand your business into new markets, but you can’t do that if you still need to set up your call centers.

This is where the option to outsource your IT comes in. Of course, you must be able to evaluate the opportunity cost of your decisions properly before making one, but paying an MSP to properly handle all your IT infrastructure is usually significantly cheaper than doing it yourself, and they will typically be happy to fix issues with whatever they set up for you if any arise.

Managing your own IT infrastructure is simply something that you do not want to do.

This one might be obvious, but it still deserves to be mentioned. After all, when it comes to the rest of your business operations, having someone handle the tasks you don’t want to do is fairly common. 

If you do not want to deal with hiring, training and retaining competent IT support staff, then it makes perfect sense to just outsource the IT support to an MSP or an IT consultancy. However, there are times where outsourcing is no longer an option, so let’s talk about that next.

There are many local options for IT support in your area.

If you run your business in a larger metropolitan area, then it is more likely than not that there are a lot of MSPs that will be happy to help your business out. As an example, if you are looking to outsource your IT in Vancouver, then feel free to check out our pricing page to get an understanding of the products and services a local MSP can provide for you.

The reason you want to “shop local” when it comes to your IT support is because a large part of tech support is related to the physical world. If your business is operating in Calgary but the MSP does not have an office in the city, then they won’t be able to do things like running cables from your Point-of-Sale terminal to the server, at least not on demand. 

There are a lot of tasks that IT support handles that require physical presence, and a well trusted local MSP will be able to provide you with all the support you need.

When does it make sense to run your IT support in-house?

Let’s begin the discussion in this section by bringing up the scale of your business operations once again.

Your business is large enough that outsourcing is no longer economically viable.

As your business starts to seriously scale up, the typical pricing models that MSPs operate under start to make less and less economic sense. An MSP worth their salt will typically charge $100 CAD per employee per month for an average plan, or sometimes even more. If you have hundreds to thousands of employees, this will result in a monthly bill of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That is a lot of money, and we haven’t even discussed situations where your business is spread across multiple regions which complicates this situation further. At that point, it typically becomes a good decision to invest in an in-house IT support team.

However, if you are only on the way to such a scale, then an outsourced IT support team may be able to advise you on the sorts of business processes that you can set up immediately to make the transition to an in-house team down the line an easier endeavor. 

You operate in industries with very strict regulatory environments.

Certain businesses operate in industries that have very strict regulatory environments when it comes to both the quality of IT infrastructure security, and who is managing this infrastructure. Think of industries such as national defense and security contractors.

Companies in such industries will typically need to adhere to regulations set out by the government, requiring frequent security audits and compliance certifications. Such operations are rather expensive, and an outsourcing IT firm might not be able to fulfill all the requirements that a company in such an industry typically asks for.

Your business has extremely specific IT infrastructure needs.

There are types of businesses that have very specialized IT infrastructure needs that cannot be satisfied by an external team. Some examples of such operations are setting up a datacenter with hundreds of servers and a leaf - spine network architecture connecting it all together.

Such complicated tech deployments are relatively rare, and require a very company specific approach. Given the time investment of setting up and maintaining such a deployment, having an in-house IT team is warranted, as you will be able to grow the team as your requirements change over time.

Summary

In this article we brought up a number of different scenarios that should help you understand when you should consider outsourcing your IT support to a Managed Service Provider, and when you should consider building an in-house team instead.

With the advancements in IT in the past couple decades, the vast majority of businesses do not need to manage their own IT infrastructure anymore. With the examples shown in this article, you can tell that building an in-house team is only really necessary for larger, or more specialized businesses. 

If you are interested in why you should hire an MSP to manage your businesses IT infrastructure, we recommend that you read this blog post, as it should provide you with valuable insight. 

MYComputing is a managed service provider, and if you feel that you have reached the point where you want to get professional IT support, then we would love to help you. If you have any questions or would like to talk to us, please feel free to reach out to us anytime for a free glance-over at your existing setup.