If your IT team is small, or a single person, you'll still have a whole team of experts to call upon when your internal team is sick, on vacation, or during continuous improvement training.
Need an IT Partner? Where do You Fit in the Evolution of Tech Support?
Eventually, all businesses need an IT partner to manage, plan, fix and secure their technology with the expertise that only a professional can provide.
How do you know when you’re ready?
The Idaho businesses we work with typically follow a path we call the Evolution of Technology Support. And it starts with Chuck.
New companies typically use a pay-by-the-hour tech service. In the IT industry, we refer to this guy as a “One Man Band” or “Chuck-in-the-Truck.”
Chuck has limited resources and no employees. He charges by the hour and sells businesses block hours of service time. Chuck is the you-break-it-I-fix-it guy, providing purely reactive support, without cybersecurity, daily monitoring, or a help desk function.
Outsourcing IT to a Managed Services Firm
Most businesses stick with Chuck until around 10 employees or more. Now, they need professional IT support. Bye, Chuck.
So they outsource their IT to a managed services firm. Now they have a dedicated IT resource without having to hire a full-time IT staff member. Because while in-house IT is nice, this way 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, some security, technology budgeting and consulting, and a helpdesk.
The next phase of Tech Support typically happens between 30-50 employees. At this point, the company’s budget is mature enough to heavily invest in IT and hire a full-time, in-house IT team.
But you shouldn’t just fire your outsourced IT company. The best strategy for businesses is to actually have both. We call this tech harmony “co-managed IT”.
With co-managed IT, you’re getting in-house help plus outsourced experts, for a deeper well of resources and knowledge than you could have on staff. It’s expert support for your own IT team and it’s essential.
Because, whether you realize it or not, every business decision you make is reliant on your technology. More than 350,000 new malware threats are released every day, ransomware attacks on businesses are on a steep incline, and distributed, modern teams are becoming more dependent on technology. It’s your lifeline; you can’t afford to be cheap.
Cheap IT is one of the most expensive mistakes you’ll ever make.
What a Tech Support Partnership Looks Like
Unfortunately, the quality and scope of managed or co-managed IT service is not universal.
At TotalCare IT, our managed and co-managed IT services are a complete tech support partnership. We go beyond fixing what’s broken to provide onsite and online support, proactive planning, strategy, security, and more.
If you’re ready and searching for a managed IT service provider, or unhappy with your current service, it’s important to understand what you should expect (or avoid).
Rely on us for:
What to Look for in a Tech Support Partner
IT Strategy and Technology Roadmaps
Ideally, your IT partner should help to craft a strategy that explains how your use of technology will evolve for your business goals. As your business grows, the way you rely on technology and the tech tools you employ can be a strategic advantage to your business’ growth (or hold you back.)
A true IT partner will talk to your team, listen to their concerns or aspirations, and make strategic recommendations to streamline, simplify and improve the way you work– from processes to hardware. A technology roadmap details those plans for months and years to come, helping you to budget appropriately.
A tech support partner should do more than fix what’s broken. You should expect a proactive plan for the maintenance, upgrades, and training that prevent downtime and stop your technology from breaking in the first place.
Today, it should go without saying that you need a strong cybersecurity strategy, not a one-app or one-software solution. Your tech support partner should at least be able to source and maintain a cybersecurity system that keeps your business within industry best practices and aligned with applicable regulations. TotalCare IT specializes in cybersecurity. Ideally, your managed IT service provider will as well.
No 'one-size-fits-all' Services
Your technology environment will be unique to your business. A 'one-size-fits-all' strategy just doesn’t work for everyone. Look for a technology partner that actively finds ways to improve your existing infrastructure, data security, and network to work better for the ways you use them.
Fundamentals > Fancy Tech
Be wary of any service provider that’s too focused on pushing fancy technology. Before you start upgrading equipment and devices, it’s important to get your technology fundamentals and infrastructure right. After you have the basic equipment your business requires, upgraded technology and new devices are usually a nice-to-have, not a vital need.
Teaching Best Practices & Training as Needed
An essential element to a tech support partnership is the ability to work with and train your staff as needed. From cybersecurity basics to navigating new programs, your support partner should teach your team how to deal with minor issues themselves, explain industry best practices, and guide them in using your system to its full potential.
The Two Styles of Managed IT Service
Co-Managed IT: The Best of Both Worlds
Hiring an internal IT person or a whole IT team is an incredible resource for your company. That investment is made even more valuable and effective when augmented by an outsourced IT company.
An outsourced IT company can extend the use of their toolset to your internal IT staff. This one benefit will save you buckets of money otherwise spent on tech tools, applications, and platforms for monitoring, ticketing, helpdesk, security, etc.
If you’re already working with an IT company you trust, they can be a tremendous help in your hiring process for internal staff. They know the industry, they know your company’s environment and they understand what you should ask a candidate in an interview for an IT support job. Sometimes it takes another expert to know whether a candidate is qualified and skilled enough to support the technology and security of a whole company.
You can’t expect a small internal staff to handle all of a company’s day-to-day helpdesk tickets, systems upgrades, monitoring, maintenance, security, and project work. It’s simply too much. With co-managed IT, you can have your internal staff focus on supporting your company with their strengths, while you outsource anything leftover.
Example: An affordable, junior-level technical staff member could field day-to-day password resets and helpdesk tickets while your co-managed IT partner company takes care of cybersecurity, compliance, and project work. Alternatively, a senior engineer specializing in firewalls, design desk, and networking is too valuable to be serving as a 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 new technology. Serious, professional companies like TotalCare IT go to big technology conferences and events regularly. We also invest heavily in our employees’ continued education, industry certifications, and professional development. This means you’ll always have someone to push your internal team and tech environment forward with the highest industry standards and best practices.
Deciding What’s Next? We’re Here to Help You Figure it Out
Whether you’re ready to look for your first managed IT service provider, unhappy with your current partnership, or unsure what the best next step is for your business, we can help. Talk to our team of local, Idaho IT experts for the guidance and confidence you need to make the right move.