Do You Need Us? Internal vs. External IT Support

At some point in the life of every company or small business, someone has to ponder this question: Do we outsource our Information Technology support? Or should we just have someone from our team keep things running?

Well, it really isn’t a question of should a company have one or the other – only internal support or only external support. The fact is, no company should ever have just internal support in this day and age. So it’s really a question of whether to supplement the necessary external support with internal support.

Here’s why this is true: Technology has gotten so complex and so broad over the last few years that no one person, or even a small group of people, can possibly have all the skills required to maintain today’s complex networks, all operating in an environment that is ever-changing and practically oozing with cyber-threats. The requirement for a sophisticated level of knowledge grows every day. This is where a small army of professional technicians, pooling their knowledge for the good of all, is required.

So, again, the question is do you need someone “on the inside” to work alongside an external support company like The Network Support Company. Here’s my advice to the decision-makers: Yes, you should. But there are tasks that this internal tech definitely should NOT be doing, and several other things that he or she should absolutely be doing to help the overall management of a company’s technology infrastructure.

First off, an internal person should not be the one maintaining the infrastructure, hands-on. File servers, work stations, routers, firewalls etc. should all be monitored, updated and maintained by a tech support company – because they all require a very sophisticated approach, a highly automated tool set, and a wide knowledge base to keep them stable, secure, resilient, reliable and scalable. Hiring an experienced and proactive Managed Service Provider is the best way to go here.

An internal resource, then, can greatly enhance the value of the work your service provider does by sharing their inside knowledge and understanding of the company’s internal workings, its business strategies, insights into the personalities of key leaders, and high-level information about their technical applications (accounting systems, CRMs, ERPs, etc). For sure, internal techs are most impactful when they serve as liaison between their company’s management and the tech support team, helping management understand why a tech project is necessary, explaining the scope of the project, helping to evaluate budgeting, and ensuring that projects advance the strategic goals of the company in the most efficient and effective way.

Occasionally, we find situations where a company has an in-house person for only low-end user support (desktop help, etc.), but use a tech support firm to handle both recommending and executing the high-end projects. This works for companies that have between 20 and about 100 employees, but when a company has between 100 and 500 employees, having an internal IT resource working alongside an outsourced tech company is optimal. In these cases, even in larger companies that have a Chief Information Officer on staff, that person’s primary role, again, is to harness the power of the applications to the company’s best advantage. Our role is to manage the infrastructure, the system’s design and maintenance, and the individual work stations. Perhaps the best part of this, from a company’s perspective, is that we can do all this for less than they could on their own, because this sort of economy of scale leads to reduced per-workstation costs.

Technology will continue to evolve and become more complex. Threats to the safety of our data and to our technology-dependent way of life will become more sinister and more difficult to thwart.. Managed Service Providers have their collective fingers on the pulse of what’s on the horizon, as well as all the best practices and technological expertise to harness that power… and that’s why every organization, whether they have an in-house technician or not, should be aligned with one.

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