In-House vs. Third Party Tech Support: the Pros and Cons

By Ntiva Editorial Team | April 16, 2020

The world has changed so much in 2020, and many organizations have been pushed to their absolute limit, when it comes to technology demands.

Being on the front lines as an IT support provider in March of this year, we saw many organizations crumble under the sudden demand to transition to remote working.

IT staff were working around the clock to support the flood of end user requests, while managing network demands, procurement challenges, security issues and much more.

As we enter a period of stabilization, some companies are taking a look at whether it makes sense to outsource some of the commodity IT functions that were over-burdening their internal team.

We've worked with every combination of clients, from those with no IT department, to co-managed IT situations where we work hand-in-hand with the existing IT team. There are pros and cons in all of these situations.

Let's explore both and see what works best for your business!


In-House List(1)


Benefits of An In-House IT Team

Here are the benefits of having an in-house IT team:

  • Your team will have a solid understanding of your day-to-day operations and how your employees utilize your technologies, products, and services
  • They have the in-depth, institutional knowledge to implement IT solutions that address the unique circumstances of your organization
  • In most cases, they will be able to respond immediately to technological issues to minimize costly downtime

Disadvantages of An In-House IT Team

  • It's more challenging to scale up or down to meet fluctuating IT needs, especially with a small team
  • If your company is expanding rapidly, the IT team becomes overburdened and important activities may get dropped
  • Most in-house IT staff tend to be "generalists" and lack the specialized skills required for many IT initiatives - this is almost always true when it comes to the advanced cyber security protection that is required in today's environment
  • If your "team" only consists of one or two people, vacations, sick time, and attrition can become huge problems

Third Party IT Support MSP


Benefits of Outsourced IT

Outsourcing your IT needs to a third party IT support company means that some or all of your business IT needs are moved to a specialized provider.

Here are the advantages of outsourced IT:

  • Most IT service providers have experts on staff that simply cost too much for the average business, such as a vCIO, cyber security experts, app dev experts, and others
  • You can scale your IT resources up and down according to your needs
  • You don't have to worry about being left with limited (or no) support when an employee gets sick or quits suddenly
  • A top-notch provider will have sophisticated IT automation tools which drive down the cost of routine management and maintenance

Disadvantages of Outsourced IT

  • Your Managed Service Provider (MSP) needs to work closely with you, whether or not you have an internal IT resource - it's crucial to choose a provider who you feel is a good cultural fit
  • If your business is growing, beware of the super small MSPs who have limited staff and will become overwhelmed with your demands
  • Verify that the provider has a wide range of talent with the specialized skills that you think you will need - no point in outsourcing only to find your provider has the same gaps as you had before
  • Most managed IT is conducted remotely, but there are times when you will need on-site support - make sure that your MSP has a service plan that offers on-site support 
  • Some organizations may have issues with giving administrative access to their entire IT network, including sensitive data, so ensure you put NDAs and other specific agreements in place to overcome this challenge

Should You Switch to Third Party IT Support?

Working with a reputable managed service provider (MSP) can be an ideal way to make sure you have access to the latest technical knowledge and expertise to support your business growth.

To mitigate the potential challenges of outsourcing IT, you can:

  • Adopt a hybrid approach by having a small in-house IT team for general support, while using an MSP  specialized projects
  • If you have a large IT team in place, you may want to do the opposite - outsource the day-to-day routine maintenance and management so your team can concentrate on more strategic initiatives
  • Make sure that your MSP is reachable 24/7, has enough round the clock staff to act quickly in an emergency, and can provide on-site support on reasonably short notice
  • Hire an MSP that can provide you with strategic advice, including IT planning and budgeting
  • It's a mistake to hire a small firm who can only provide reactive "break-fix", today's businesses require a proactive and strategic plan to keep on track

The "new normal" of remote working is going to affect us all for years to come. Some companies found they had enough IT resources to cover the recent disruption, and were well prepared to support the new environment.

Others struggled to support all of their end user requests, and may still be lacking in some areas.

If you found your team was overloaded, it may make sense to consider outsourcing the routine, commodity services such as infrastructure monitoring, software upgrades, equipment procurement and even your help desk support.

It can be hard to decide which approach is best for your company. You may want to start with opting for a hybrid model that combines the benefits of outsourcing with your internal team.

But the most important thing is to find the right technology partner who understands you and your business needs, and who you feel will work best with your existing team.

Reach out to us if you're looking for additional guidance!


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Tags: Managed IT