Should you outsource your IT to a Managed Services Provider, or keep it in house?

A wooden sign with arrows facing opposite directions reading "outsource" and "in-house"

Maybe you don’t have to choose one or the other?

Many businesses, often those that are experiencing growth, find themselves at a turning point where they must decide whether to hire a full-time IT professional, expand their department, or turn to outside professionals for Managed Services. In our previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the pros and cons of the IT break-fix model. Today, we’re talking through the benefits and disadvantages of keeping your IT in-house vs. outsourcing to an MSP (Managed Service Provider).

Understanding Managed Services and Driving Factors

Managed services refer to the practice of a third-party IT provider managing the IT needs of a company. Managed Service Providers (MSP) provide numerous services, which can range from security to 24/7 monitoring and helpdesk support.

According to a 2015 survey by CompTIA, the Computer Technology Industry Association, nearly two-thirds of organizations are using a managed services provider for at least one IT function. CompTIA lists 10 driving factors for businesses that are looking to adopt managed services:

  1. Security
  2. Ability to be more proactive about their IT
  3. Better uptime
  4. Access to new technologies
  5. Cost savings vs. in-house IT
  6. Peace of mind
  7. Free up in-house staff to focus on strategic efforts
  8. Cloud solutions
  9. Solution to a lack of in-house IT
  10. Handle remote location(s) IT

In-house vs. Outsourced: A touchy subject?

Commonly, a barrier to investing in a relationship with a managed services provider for certain IT support comes down to internal IT staff who may worry about the security of their in-house job. The reality is that few organizations have the in-house bandwidth to perform all of the technology functions available from a managed services provider. In fact, CompTIA’s survey found that only 6 percent of companies eliminated their in-house staff as a result of adopting managed services. More than half of surveyed companies that are now using managed services kept their in-house support in place. Another 15 percent chose managed services because they lacked any internal IT. Rather than hire a full-time employee, outsourcing to a managed services provider is a way to bring high-level expertise into the organization.

In-house benefits to adopting managed services

Your internal team is more likely to reap a variety of benefits that come from a partnership with a managed services partner, such as:

  • Time. Rather than eliminating positions, it’s much more likely that your in-house team’s time will be freed up to focus on strategic efforts that can help your business grow and thrive. Day-to-day IT management, such as help desk or keeping devices, networks, and security up to date is so time-consuming, it’s common for in-house IT professionals to have little to no time for developing new projects.
  • Access to expertise. Working with an outsourced MSP also gives in-house staff access to new technology, from cloud solutions to telecommuting technologies.

On the surface, outsourcing is rarely a popular subject. In the case of IT, selecting and investing in managed services may only serve to benefit your internal team. In a future blog post, we’ll cover some of the key questions to ask a potential Managed Services Provider as you get closer to making an investment decision for your business.

If you are interested in discovering new business solutions for your organization, check out OTELCO’s technology guide.

Download OTELCO's Guide to Managed Services and IT Outsourcing