At some point in the growth of your business, you will need to hire an internal Systems Admin or other IT staff—True or False?
Professional businesses typically follow what I call the Evolution of Technology Support. When first starting out, new companies typically use a pay-by-the-hour tech service. In the IT industry we refer to this as a “One Man Band” or “Chuck in the Truck.” Because “Chuck” has limited resources and no employees, he typically charges by the hour and sells businesses block hours of service time. This is purely reactive support, with not much being done in way of cybersecurity, daily monitoring, or helpdesk. We call this Break/Fix.
Most businesses will stay in Break/Fix land until they reach around $500,000 in annual revenue, or have more than 10 employees. At this point, the company needs professional IT support. Outsourcing IT to a managed services firm gives companies a dedicated IT resource without having to hire a full-time IT staff member (this saves a ton in payroll taxes, employee benefits, and disruptions when the IT staff is on vacation or out sick). Outsourced IT is usually priced at a flat monthly fee and includes 24/7 network monitoring, regular patching and updates, security, technology budgeting and consulting, and a helpdesk.
The next phase in the Evolution of Technology Support typically hits around $2.5 million in annual revenue, or somewhere between 30 -50 employees. At this point, the company’s budget is mature enough to heavily invest in IT. However, this does not mean you should fire your outsourced IT company. The right path is to actually have both. We call this co-managed IT.
Every business decision you make is reliant on your technology, whether you realize it or not. With 350,000 NEW malware threats being released every day, the steep rise of ransomware attacks on businesses, and the increased use of technology overall, you cannot afford to be cheap with your IT department. They will save your bacon more times than you will ever know.
Having an internal IT person on staff, or a whole IT department, is a fantastic resource to your company. However, it can be even better when augmented by an outsourced IT company. There are several reasons for this.
First, it means you will always have support, even when your internal staff goes on vacation or is out sick. Even if you only have one IT person on staff, you will have a whole team of experts at your disposal with a co-managed company.
Second, an outsourced IT company can extend the use of their toolset to your internal IT staff. This will save you buckets of money that you would otherwise have to spend getting the correct tools, applications, and platforms for monitoring, ticketing, helpdesk, security, etc.
Third, if you are already using a trusted IT company, they can actually help you in your hiring process for internal staff. They know the industry, and they know your company’s environment. Chances are, you the CEO, do not know much about IT. That’s ok, it’s not your job. But it also might mean you are not sure what you should ask a candidate in an interview, or how to tell if they actually know anything at all about supporting the technology and security of a whole company. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner who could help you cut through the smokescreen?
Fourth, you can’t expect your internal staff to be able to handle all the day-to-day helpdesk tickets, systems upgrades, monitoring, maintenance, security, and project work—and not be overworked, stressed, and grumpy. That is simply too much for one person or small team to handle. With co-managed IT, you can have your internal staff focus on what they are good at, and offload the rest of the work to the managed IT services company.
For example, if you have a junior level technical staff member, they could field the day-to-day password resets and helpdesk tickets while your co-managed IT partner company takes care of cybersecurity, compliance, and project work. Alternatively, maybe you have a senior engineer who is great with firewalls, design desk, and networking, but doesn’t want to do or doesn’t have time for helpdesk. In this case your co-managed IT company can extend their toolset to your internal staff and just take care of the helpdesk.
Lastly, having a co-managed IT relationship with an outsourced IT company means always having access to the latest news about information security and technology. Serious, professional companies like TotalCare IT go to big technology conferences and events regularly, and invest heavily in their employees’ continued education, industry certifications, and professional development. This means you will always have someone on your side who understands, knows, and implements the highest industry standards and best practices to push your company forward.