IT services are being outsourced by organizations of all sizes in every industry. From healthcare to accounting, businesses of all varieties are finding benefits in outsourced IT services.
Lower and more predictable costs push many businesses to outsource at least part of their IT services.
But there are many other benefits that can be gained from working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that are often over-looked.
We interviewed Bret Carr, the CIO of Hertzbach & Company, a mid-sized accounting firm, to find out his outsourcing strategy.
Reducing Internal Headaches with Outsourced IT
Since taking on his role as chief information officer (CIO), Bret Carr has dedicated himself to streamlining IT infrastructure through a strategy of application outsourcing.
“Our IT team has been putting out fires for years,” he says. “Now I’m taking away the kindling.”
Carr’s approach is to adopt software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud-based applications to replace software applications they currently run on in-house servers and networks.
“I’m really trying to get everything out of the office,” he explains.
By removing the burden of remote administration, troubleshooting, and updates, it’s easy to see how any company can benefit from SaaS.
“In a way I’m outsourcing everything. I still need in-house people for day-to-day problems that need immediate correction, but what I’m trying to do is get all of our platforms outside the office so we’re not housing anything on a server. I want somebody else managing the server, somebody else who has redundancy built-in.”
Finding a good MSP partner who can offer managed cloud services is key to removing that burden from the shoulders of in-house IT staff. In the case of SaaS, your MSP can assist with product selection, migration, monitoring and management, cyber security and more, and even help you integrate new cloud apps into your work environment.
Carr also notes that companies the size of his accounting firm, around 200 people, are in a tough spot when it comes to IT services.
Smaller organizations typically have no choice but to outsource, because they don’t have resources to build and maintain IT expertise in house. They may even choose to move to desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) or virtual machine environments.
Very large enterprises have the ability to build and maintain fully-functioning in-house teams, plus have economies of scale that give them cost advantages when they work with very large service providers for DaaS.
But midsize companies sometimes get caught in the middle.
The per-user cost of DaaS typically comes in too high as they don't have the buying power, but neither do they have the resources to build an in-house IT dream team that can deliver everything they need.
Using Outsourced IT For Strategic Initiatives
Even though mid-sized companies have some in-house IT staff, it’s still not feasible for them to maintain the in-house expertise and infrastructure they need to run and grow a business in today's environment.
By pursuing his SaaS strategy, Carr was able to reduce the load on his in-house IT team so they could focus on more critical issues, such as cyber security and customer consultation projects.
“We’re no longer doing all the extra IT work somebody needs to do to keep those systems running,” says Carr. “We’re not doing backups. We’re not patching things. The fires we have to put out are becoming mini-fires as we outsource more things.”
As mentioned above, one of the areas that Carr does not outsource is cyber security, as he has security experts in-house. But he recognizes that if not for this specialized expertise he has in-house, he would have to outsource his cyber security.
“I’m lucky I have people focused on this. If we didn’t have the talent like we do, then we would absolutely be investing in somebody outside for that.”
The importance of cyber security cannot be overstated, and that's why Managed Security Services, also knows as Security-as-a-Service, is one of the top areas that companies choose to outsource.
From phishing to malware and hackers in general, cyber security solutions have become a critical piece of every organization’s infrastructure. A good MSP will offer services starting with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Phishing Prevention Training, along with more sophisticated services such as Intrusion Detection and Response, Vulnerability Scanning and Remediation, and much more.
When combined, these and other cyber security offerings can help your business become a tightly run secure machine.
Saving Time, Stress and Money with Outsourced IT
Most organizations aren’t as lucky as Hertzbach & Company, and don’t have a fully-staffed internal IT team.
This is why so many businesses turn to outsourced IT, for at least part if not all of their IT needs. No matter how large or small your staff is, a great MSP can offer much-needed technical expertise, as well as off-load tasks that are over-burdening the team.
As part of his outsourcing strategy, Carr focuses on best-in-class providers. “You need to have vendors and service providers who are the right ones for the task, and who listen to you...".
When deciding what to outsource, whether its infrastructure, core services, applications or security, it's a good idea to start by clearly laying out your needs and objectives. By building out this framework that measures all your requirements, you can ensure your IT service provider understands your core needs and can commit to delivering the right services.
If you'd like to learn more from other IT experts who made the decision to outsource part or all of their IT, download the full report "8 Experts on Outsourcing IT for Strategic Advantage,"
Get The Report: "8 Experts on Outsourcing IT for Strategic Advantage"