Thursday, July 25, 2024

Should IT Support Always Be Handled In-House? Are There Other Options?

While we may think of IT support as someone solving a simple login problem, or the internet going down, that’s just one part of the whole. For SMEs, they often have issues with their information technology that baffles their in-house team, costs considerable time attempting to fix it, and ultimately requires help from outside the business.

In this article, we consider whether it’s sensible to provide IT support within the business or if essential IT services should be handled by someone else.

In-House is Familiar

It’s fair to say that having a computer department in-house is something that’s at once familiar and accessible. It’s possible to speak to them often, check how things are going, and demystify information technology a little bit along the way.

It may work well for companies with larger workforces that can hire the best and build out a substantial, diversified team of IT professionals. This means supporting a variety of different requirements within the department including network security, mobile security, software, and hardware provisioning, onboard and offboarding staff, and many other responsibilities.

However, for smaller businesses, this poses a problem. Unlike with other departments, should the IT department be understaffed or have too few resources available to it, then their performance will notably suffer. This is where it’s worth considering whether there are other options available to them.

Outside IT Contractors

To bridge a short-term gap from within the computer department, it’s possible to pull in a part-time IT contractor. Usually, they will be a specialist, able to get stuck into whatever the issue is. Depending on how serious the problem is and how reoccurring it may be, they might be back and forth a few times to bridge the considerable gap in the capabilities of a small IT team.

Staff may find the lack of consistency with different contractors coming in and out to be disruptive to their workflow. The same person won’t be available all the time when help is needed, and often a different person will be required depending on the IT issue that has arisen. So, there’s no consistency, and IT systems needed to explain the issue to new contractors, which delays any resolution.

IT Consultants

IT consultants are another breed altogether. Some people purely provide advice under the “Consultant” job title, but do little more. Others provide a far more expansive service but will come up against limitations in one area or another because no one can know everything in IT and stay current with recent changes too. That’s just impossible to do.

The level of quality from IT consultants is all over the shop. You don’t know what you’ll be getting unless the same person is requested, which isn’t always possible or useful for all circumstances. Often, they operate more in an advisory capacity and aren’t always hands-on in the manner that companies expect either. Also, they may make recommendations that are difficult to implement successfully.

IT Support Through Managed IT Services

Fortunately, finding an IT support London area provider isn’t difficult. There are plenty of them, but it’s important to look at what they provide. For instance, they may offer helpdesk support, Office 365 support, or a provision for infrastructure or network support should it fail during a workday. There is a gulf of difference between someone available to answer problematic login issues and remotely connect to the company’s server to resolve that, versus a team with complete oversight.

IT companies in London that can provide IT maintenance of the infrastructure and cloud management of internet-based software solutions, as well as ensure all staff can access the services, are entirely different. It provides a comprehensive, reliable solution whenever a business or an employee hits an IT snag and then needs help.

How Do Managed IT Services Companies Differ?

With London IT support services, they may aim to cover companies within London or further afield. Alternatively, they could offer remote IT support, which enables them to provide IT services far and wide. Companies that are worth looking at provide a broader range of services than boutique providers that have limited services available. The difficulty when opting for a smaller provider is that eventually the business will need something that they don’t yet provide and aren’t capable of doing so either. And then your business has hit another snag.

Totality Services is an IT Support London based provider that, as the name suggests, has a wealth of experience within their team. Their list of services is considerable and serve companies well – both large and small. With Totality Services, it’s highly unlikely that another provider will be required due to their immense capability, and that’s reassuring to business leaders.

Do Managed IT Services Use Outside Service Providers?

In terms of essential services, not all of them are provided directly through the provider; it depends on what the service is. For instance, companies may run their website on a shared, dedicated, or cloud server through a commercial web host. It’s not necessarily the case that hosting needs be transferred to be under the control of the managed IT services provider.

Nevertheless, with access to the webserver remotely through FTP, SSH, and other communication protocols, they can troubleshoot (or work with the web host’s support team) to resolve any issues that arise with the website. This avoids your company having to deal with confusing web hosting jargon when discussing an issue with the host’s technical team. The managed services team can then translate what has happened into plain English and work to get the site back online again.

Other providers may be used when they offer a unique or superior service to customers. If it’s a service worth using, then a high-quality managed provider will likely recommend it to their clients. They know when something goes wrong – they’re the first to hear about it. So, what they’re most interested in is reliability and keeping their clients happy.

Is There a Point Where IT Services Should Be Outsourced?

While it’s tempting to have someone perform IT-related duties in addition to their regular role, this is less than ideal. A mini computing department can be created, but it will immediately run into difficulties because of a lack of knowledge. It’s impossible for one or two people to know everything that’s required to run servers, configure staff computers, install software, and handle all security aspects on their own. That isn’t their fault; it just comes down to the nature of how complex information technology has become over the years.

Therefore, unless the company plans to considerably expand its investment in a computing department, then it’s best to accept that and find a third-party partner at this stage. Also, it’s worth pointing out that even larger IT departments will often use managed IT providers to double-check their work or to fill in for existing knowledge gaps within their team. No one should feel bad about needing to do that either.

Information Technology is now such an essential part of what most companies rely upon that it’s not a good idea to compromise. Often, when you try to do everything in-house, that’s what ends up happening. It’s only when there has been a recent hack or an infrastructure failure that company leadership becomes convinced that another way should be found. Obviously, it’s best not to wait that long.

Claire James
Claire James
Claire is an accounts manager at Fire Digital UK, an online publishing and content marketing company based in the North West.

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