In-House IT vs. Managed IT Services: Pros and cons for small businesses

In-House IT vs. Managed IT Services: Pros and cons for small businesses

Most business leaders appreciate how important technology is to staying competitive, but many have difficulty choosing between hiring an in-house IT team and outsourcing their needs to an MSP (managed services provider). Complicating matters further is that every business has a different set of goals, and failing to align technology with these goals can easily put your business in a worse situation than before.

Making the right decision comes down to a few critical points. Here’s what to consider when choosing between in-house and outsourced IT:

Budget control
One of the most common misconceptions about partnering with an MSP is that it might cost more than keeping everything in house. In fact, both arrangements provide similar levels of budget control. And for most small- to medium-sized businesses, in-house IT isn’t just more expensive, it’s also much harder to forecast.

An in-house IT department budget needs to cover the hardware, software licenses, and expertise needed to keep everything running optimally. For example, the salary for an IT administrator in Toronto is $75K, and in-house servers, high-end workstations and networking hardware doesn’t come cheap either. By contrast, MSPs charge a predictable fee that is usually much lower than $75k per year and includes outsourced support that outperforms a single technician.

Room for growth
The ability of in-house IT to grow on short notice is inherently limited by factors such as physical space, on-site expertise, pre-existing infrastructure, and budgetary constraints. For example, a small startup may do just fine with a single server rack and a dozen workstations in the early days, but when expansion happens, it happens fast and those needs could double overnight.

Although you may feel you have more control over in-house resources, growing your business will be limited by your ability to manage IT. Outsourcing support means most of your solutions will be located in a remote data centre and delivered to your office via cloud services. MSPs always have more hardware and software on hand to serve your needs— all you need to do is ask!

Technical support
Left unmanaged, technology can quickly become your enemy. Hiring an in-house technician to look after your IT may seem like you’ll always have someone on hand to take care of maintenance and support, but don’t forget about vacation days, sick days, and days when a few too many things go wrong all at once.

These inefficiencies will continue until your IT team crosses the five-employee mark, which is far too late in the game for most small businesses. MSPs follow a very different model, delivering support as a service, backed by service level agreements (SLAs). You don’t need to worry about how much tech support you need in winter versus summer; you pay one flat fee and always have total coverage.

Variety of expertise
Businesses that do a poor job of aligning their technology with their goals are often seduced by cutting-edge technology that their technicians aren’t prepared to support. One technician can only learn a limited number of systems, after all. You need a team that can handle a broad range of IT tasks and optimizations.

Full-time technology consultants can prevent bad decisions, but you’ll often end up paying for expertise that you rarely use. Strategic advice is built in to MSP solutions because their teams are so diverse and their flat monthly fees encourage long-term improvements. You’ll leave things like routine maintenance and new service implementations to experts. In other words, you won’t pay for resources you don’t need.

XBASE Technologies provides businesses in the Toronto area with proactive IT support and managed services that help fuel growth and supercharge productivity. Call us today to discuss your technology goals.

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