Due to a number of factors, including the current digital skills shortage, many businesses have decided to outsource their IT services requirements. Especially for smaller businesses, or businesses that are rapidly growing, outsourced IT ensures that employees have access to the right technologies and tools to work effectively, without the need to hire a large internal IT department. With this being said, there are some common challenges that businesses face when outsourcing their IT requirements, and if the wrong IT provider is selected, it can lead to major issues. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and challenges of outsourcing IT services, and how businesses can select the right IT service provider.
An IT department needs to have a varied skill set to effectively manage the business’s IT infrastructure. Some of these functions include network administration, IT support, systems integrations, migrations and deployment of new technologies, just to name a few. Therefore, in order to cover these skills and ensure the business has the right IT expertise required to thrive, a varied and experienced team is necessary. With the ongoing IT skills shortage, it is difficult and expensive for businesses to fill these requirements.
Businesses that decide to outsource their IT services gain access to a team with expertise in multiple areas of IT. This decreases labour costs, whilst ensuring the best digital technologies are implemented within the business, and all necessary support is always available.
For businesses that already have in-house IT resource, it can be difficult to assign the team larger projects, such as migrating workloads to the cloud, or other digital transformation projects, as this gives the department less time to complete business as usual tasks. For this reason, these larger projects take longer than necessary, and other functions of the business suffer due to less support from the IT department.
This can be solved by outsourcing project work to a trusted IT provider. This ensures that project work is completed within a reasonable time frame, and the in-house IT team can maintain the same level of support internally.
With the sharp rise in cybercrime over the past 5 years, most businesses understand that they need to invest in securing their IT systems. However, for most businesses, hiring an in-house cybersecurity professional is prohibitively expensive. Many IT providers have security expertise and have systems and solutions that can monitor a business’s infrastructure to detect and respond to any potential cyberthreats, before it is too late.
Similarly, most IT providers have a disaster recovery solution, to ensure that even if disaster strikes, the business will experience less downtime, especially as many providers can provide a 24/7 support package.
Some IT service providers only have experience in certain technologies or are locked into working with a specific vendor. Whilst this can be beneficial as it typically means they have expertise with the technology, it may not be the ideal solution for the business. This challenge can be solved by having a conversation with any potential IT service providers and questioning why the solution is right for the business. Many IT providers will also offer bespoke packages with several technologies to provide all the IT services necessary for the business to work effectively, with a simple monthly fee.
Although using a third-party IT service provider can strengthen a business’ security posture, there is also a risk the provider can be involved in a data breach that affects their customers. An example of this was the Kaseya breach in 2021, where ransomware spread from a number of managed service providers to their customers.
Whilst there is no way to 100% safeguard against this threat, businesses can reduce this risk by looking for IT service providers with certifications to show their dedication to security. Some typical certifications to look for include Cyber Essentials Plus, ISO 27001 and ISO 27002.
With so many IT service providers in the market, it can be tough to find the perfect provider for your business. However, there are some key aspects to consider when searching for an IT service provider.
One of the most important aspects to consider when selecting an IT provider is their response times and service availability. Regardless of how comprehensive and well set up an IT solution is, there will be times when there will be an issue and a business will require support. During these times, it is essential that an IT provider can respond quickly and solve the problem without significant downtime. Information around response time and service availability can typically be found on the provider’s website, or in the service documentation.
A great indicator of the quality of an IT service provider is to look through customer reviews, testimonials and case studies. Not only does this give you insight into the customer experience, but case studies can help by showing if the IT provider has worked with similar businesses to your own.
Finally, if your business already uses a specific technology or platform, such as Azure or AWS, the IT service provider must have technical expertise within this area. This will ensure that they can quickly and easily understand and support your IT infrastructure.
As IT is a fundamental component of a business’s success, it can be a daunting task to select the perfect IT provider. However, selecting the right provider can boost employee productivity and drive business growth. They will also be able to deliver a solution that keeps your business secure and limits downtime, allowing you to focus your time on providing excellent customer experiences. If you are considering outsourcing your IT or moving from another IT provider, get in touch today to find out how we can provide a solution to meet all your IT needs.