Choosing the right IT support model for your business: in-house, outsourced, or co-managed

Image of a keyboard with a key labeled "Support"

In today’s technology-driven business landscape, having reliable and efficient IT support is crucial for smooth operations and growth. Choosing the optimal IT support model is critical for businesses facing increasingly diverse technology challenges. This blog explores the benefits of three primary IT support models – in-house, outsourced, and co-managed – to help businesses understand which option suits their unique needs.

In-House IT Support

In-house IT support involves hiring and managing a dedicated team of IT professionals within your organization. This model works best for large enterprises or businesses with complex IT needs and substantial resources. With in-house IT support, businesses have direct control over their IT operations and can align strategies with specific business objectives. It offers real-time support, immediate response to issues, and deeper knowledge of the company’s IT environment.

Benefits:

  • Direct Control and Alignment: With an in-house IT team, businesses have direct control over IT operations. The team can align IT strategies with specific business objectives, ensuring technology solutions are tailored to meet the organization’s unique needs.
  • Immediate Response: In-house IT support allows for real-time support and immediate response to IT issues. IT staff are on-site and readily available to address technical problems, minimizing downtime and disruption to business operations.
  • Deeper Knowledge of Company Environment: The in-house team gains extensive knowledge of the organization’s IT infrastructure, applications, and processes. This deep understanding enables more personalized support and tailored solutions.
  • Security and Confidentiality: In-house IT support with cybersecurity expertise allows businesses to maintain strict control over sensitive data and proprietary information, mitigating the risk of data breaches or leaks associated with external providers.
  • Customized IT Strategies: In-house teams can develop long-term IT strategies based on the company’s vision and goals, leading to better technology planning and implementation.

Cybersecurity:

  • Direct control over IT operations allows for better implementation of cybersecurity measures tailored to the organization’s specific needs. The in-house team can create and enforce strict security policies, ensuring the protection of sensitive data and proprietary information. However, limited expertise may hinder the ability to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices.

Ultimately, the decision to opt for in-house IT support depends on the specific needs, budget, and objectives of the organization. While it provides direct control, immediate response, and deep knowledge of the company environment, businesses must carefully consider the associated costs, scalability concerns, and potential limitations in expertise. For many small to medium-sized businesses, a combination of in-house IT support and outsourced or co-managed IT services may offer the most balanced and cost-effective solution to meet IT requirements.

Outsourced IT Support:

Outsourced IT support entails partnering with a third-party Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Back To Business I.T. This model is a popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses seeking cost-effective and expert IT solutions without the overhead of maintaining an internal IT team. Outsourced IT support provides access to a pool of specialized IT experts, 24/7 monitoring, proactive maintenance, and the latest technologies. It allows businesses to focus on core competencies while leaving IT responsibilities in the hands of experienced professionals.

Benefits:

  • Expertise and Specialization: Outsourced IT support provides access to a team of specialized IT professionals with diverse skill sets and expertise. MSPs stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and industry best practices, ensuring businesses receive top-notch support.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Outsourcing IT support can be more cost-effective for small to medium-sized businesses compared to maintaining an in-house IT team. Businesses save on expenses related to recruitment, salaries, benefits, and ongoing training.
  • 24/7 Monitoring and Support: MSPs typically offer round-the-clock monitoring and support, providing continuous surveillance of IT systems and rapid response to any issues, even during non-business hours.
  • Proactive Maintenance: MSPs take a proactive approach to IT management, identifying potential problems before they become major issues. This helps prevent downtime and keeps the business running smoothly.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Outsourced IT support can easily scale up or down to match business needs. It offers the flexibility to add or remove services as required, making it an adaptable solution for evolving businesses.
  • Focus on Core Competencies: By outsourcing, businesses can focus on their core competencies and strategic initiatives, freeing up time and resources to drive innovation and growth.
  • Access to Advanced Technologies: MSPs have access to cutting-edge technologies and tools, enabling businesses to leverage the latest solutions without investing in expensive infrastructure.

Cybersecurity:

  • External MSPs, like Back To Business I.T., specialize in cybersecurity and stay informed about emerging threats. They implement robust security protocols, conduct regular monitoring, and offer proactive maintenance to protect businesses from cyber threats. However, businesses must carefully vet MSPs to ensure they have robust security practices in place.

Businesses looking to outsource IT support should carefully select a reliable MSP, consider data security, and establish effective communication to ensure a seamless and productive partnership.

Co-Managed IT Support:

Co-Managed IT support, like the services provided by Back To Business I.T., is an ideal option for businesses that already have an in-house IT team but require additional expertise and support. With this model, the internal IT team collaborates with an external MSP, benefiting from their industry knowledge, advanced tools, and resources. Co-Managed IT support offers enhanced IT capabilities, faster issue resolution, and the flexibility to scale IT resources based on business demands.

Benefits:

  • Augmented Expertise: Co-Managed IT support offers businesses the advantage of combining the knowledge and skills of their internal IT team with the specialized expertise and resources of an external MSP. This partnership ensures a more robust and comprehensive strategy.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: The co-managed model allows businesses to scale based on their fluctuating needs. During peak periods or specific projects, the MSP can provide additional resources and support, enabling the internal IT team to focus on core tasks.
  • Enhanced Efficiency: By sharing responsibilities with an external MSP, the internal IT team can offload routine tasks and focus on strategic initiatives and innovation. This leads to improved efficiency and productivity within the IT department.
  • Proactive Problem-Solving: Co-managed IT support brings together the collective insights of both internal and external teams, leading to a more proactive approach to IT problem-solving and risk management.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Businesses can gain access to specialized IT resources without bearing the full cost of maintaining a larger in-house team. Co-managed support allows businesses to optimize their IT budget effectively.
  • Increased Coverage: With the MSP’s 24/7 monitoring and support capabilities, businesses can ensure continuous coverage and quick response times to IT issues, even outside regular working hours.
  • Industry Best Practices: The collaboration with an external MSP introduces the organization to industry best practices, emerging technologies, and innovative solutions that can drive business growth.

Cybersecurity:

Co-managed IT support combines the expertise of the internal IT team and the external MSP, leading to a comprehensive cybersecurity approach. The MSP’s industry best practices and insights enhance the organization’s security posture, while the internal team maintains an in-depth understanding of the company’s specific security requirements.

Co-Managed IT support offers businesses the best of both worlds, leveraging the expertise of their internal IT team alongside the specialized knowledge and resources of an external MSP. While communication and coordination are crucial to the success of this model, the benefits of flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness make co-managed IT support an attractive option for businesses.

Which IT Support Model is Right for Your Business?

In-House:

  • Best suited for large enterprises with extensive IT needs and resources.
  • Provides direct control over IT operations.
  • Offers on site response and deeper knowledge of the company’s IT environment.

Outsourced:

  • Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses seeking cost-effective expert IT solutions.
  • Provides access to specialized IT experts, 24/7 monitoring, and the latest technologies.
  • Allows businesses to focus on core competencies while leveraging external IT expertise.

Co-Managed:

  • Perfect for any size business with an in-house IT team in need of additional expertise and support.
  • Enables collaboration with an external MSP for enhanced capabilities and issue resolution.
  • Offers flexibility to scale IT resources based on business demands.

Choosing the right IT support model is a crucial decision that directly impacts your business’s efficiency, security, and overall success. Back To Business I.T. provides tailored solutions to keep your business thriving in the digital age. Our goal is simple: to help you get back to business. Contact Back To Business I.T. at 937.490.5600 or schedule an IT Assessment today to explore how we can empower your business with the right IT support model.

Top Considerations When Buying New IT Equipment

new IT equipment

Investing in new IT equipment is a smart move for any business that wants to stay competitive and efficient. However, choosing the right equipment can be a daunting task, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have dedicated IT staff. In this article, we’ll explore some key factors to consider when selecting IT equipment for your business, and share some best practices for managing and maintaining your IT investment.

Why is upgrading IT equipment important for your business?

Before we dive into the specifics of selecting IT equipment, let’s take a step back and look at why upgrading your equipment is important in the first place. Here are some of the main benefits of investing in new IT equipment:

  1. Increased productivity: Newer equipment typically offers faster processing speeds and better performance, which can help your employees get more work done in less time.
  2. Enhanced security: Older equipment may lack the latest security features, leaving your business vulnerable to cyber threats. Upgrading to newer equipment can help you stay protected against modern threats.
  3. Improved efficiency: Newer equipment often has better energy efficiency, reducing your electricity bills and helping the environment.
  4. Competitive advantage: Upgrading your IT equipment can give you a competitive edge by enabling you to offer better products or services, or by making your business more agile and responsive.

Factors to consider when selecting IT equipment

Now that you know why upgrading your IT equipment is important, let’s take a look at key factors to consider when selecting it:

  1. Compatibility: Make sure that the new equipment you are considering is compatible with your existing IT infrastructure, including software, network, and peripherals. You don’t want to invest, only to find out that it doesn’t work with your existing systems.
  2. Scalability: Consider whether the new equipment can grow with your business. You don’t want to invest in anything that will be outdated in a year or two.
  3. User-friendliness: Look for ease of use. Your employees should be able to operate it without extensive training.
  4. Total cost of ownership: Consider the total cost of owning and maintaining the equipment over its lifetime, including maintenance costs, repair costs, and energy costs.
  5. Warranty and support: Look for equipment that comes with a comprehensive warranty and technical support. You want to make sure that you can get help if something goes wrong.

Best practices for managing and maintaining IT equipment

Once you’ve selected your IT equipment, it’s important to take good care of it to ensure that it lasts as long as possible and performs at its best. Here are some best practices for managing and maintaining your IT equipment:

  1. Keep your equipment clean: Regularly clean to remove dust and debris that can clog vents and cause overheating. Use a soft cloth and a gentle cleaner to avoid scratching the equipment.
  2. Update your software: Keep your operating system, applications, and security software up-to-date to ensure that you have the latest features and protection.
  3. Back up your data: Regularly back up your data to prevent loss in case of failure or a cyber attack.
  4. Monitor your equipment: Keep an eye on your equipment’s performance and check for any signs of malfunction or degradation. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  5. Schedule regular maintenance: Schedule regular maintenance, such as cleaning, updates, and hardware checks. This can help prevent problems before they occur and extend the life of your new technology investment.

Investing in new IT equipment can provide significant benefits for your business, but it’s important to choose the right technology and take good care of it. By considering the factors and best practices previously outlined, you can make informed decisions and get the most out of your IT investment. Additionally, working with a trusted IT provider can help simplify the process of selecting and managing IT equipment. They can help you assess your needs, recommend the right software/hardware, and provide ongoing support and maintenance.

At Back to Business I.T., we understand the importance of having reliable and efficient IT equipment for your business.

Our team of experienced professionals can help you select the right equipment, manage and maintain it, and provide technical support whenever you need it (even nights and weekends). We’re dedicated to helping your business stay competitive, efficient, and secure. Contact us today for a quote or assessment!

Battling the Myths of How Businesses Control Their IT Infrastructure

IT Infrastructure

In order for businesses to stay ahead of the competition, they need to be innovative. One word that is often associated with being innovative is technology. A business’s technology stems directly from their IT infrastructure. This includes their server(s), hardware, technology, managed services, software, network, etc. In order to allow innovation, businesses need to have a stable, secure and up-to-date IT infrastructure. By having this, it will allow technology to help the business operate smoothly.

Back to Business I.T. helps businesses to create, monitor and maintain their IT infrastructures. After helping many clients, we have experienced a lot of different IT environments. Through these environments, we have noticed there are some common myths that businesses believe regarding how to control an I.T. infrastructure. Below we discuss three myths and explain the realities to these situations.

1) Myth: A business can hire one person to run their entire IT infrastructure.

Reality: This may be true in some very rare cases but for most businesses, they find success in having a team of experts to control their IT infrastructure. IT managed services firms have a team of experts who work together to monitor and maintain these infrastructures. This is what allows technology to continue running for a business. So, outsourcing a business’s IT department to an managed service provider is needed.

2) Myth: An employee considered to be “tech savvy” can take on a business’s technology issues.

Reality: Taking an employee, who already has responsibilities in their current position, and throwing them into an IT environment can be dangerous. Monitoring and maintaining an IT infrastructure is a full-time job. It should not be given to someone who does not have the time to put in the work that is required. Also, being considered “tech savvy” does not mean they have the expert knowledge to provide the stable, secure and up-to-date IT infrastructure that every business needs.

3) Myth: Outsourcing a business’s IT department to a third-party managed service provider is expensive and not worth the high costs.

Reality: Outsourcing a business’s IT to a managed services firm can take up a major portion of their IT budget. However, when looking at the big picture, it can save the business money. For example, if a business’s IT network is invaded by a major threat that their one-man IT department or “tech savvy” employee cannot handle, the business is going to acquire substantial losses. Not only will they have to find and pay an IT expert or firm to resolve the issue, they will also lose a lot of important data in the process. Yet, if the business had outsourced their IT infrastructure to a managed services firm before this happened, they could have contained the threat in a much more cost and time saving manner.

In order for businesses to keep up with the competition and become innovative enough to stand out against them, they need to start investing in their technology. By doing this, they will be gaining access to opportunities that will help their business to grow.

If you are interested in learning more about what an IT managed service provider can do for your business, let’s start a conversation.

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