What is in-house, and what is managed IT services? What are the differences between the two, and which one is the correct choice for your business? Unfortunately, there isn’t an ultimate answer to this question, which is why we wrote this article to help you get familiarized with both in-house and managed IT services and then explain the pros and cons of each. This way, you’ll be able to pinpoint the differences quickly, which will allow you to decide on the perfect choice for you and your company.
In-house Services 101
In-house services stand for an IT department or a specialist who’s working inside your business premises. They are responsible for answering your team’s tickets, solving any IT problems, and more. The individual or group you hire will be working under your wing and receive a monthly salary on which both of you agree.
In-House Services Pros and Cons
The most important benefits of having in-house support are:
- Fast response time – When you have an expert on your business premises, you are bound to have a quick response time. The option to speak to your in-house partner can come in handy when the phone lines are busy, and some people prefer explaining their problem in person.
- The ability to inspect the equipment or issues – One of the most significant advantages in-house services had over outsourcing IT services was that you’d have an expert at your disposal who can see your equipment or problem. Even though this can come in handy, nowadays, most businesses are moving away from this advantage due to the influx of remote working.
- Superb knowledge of your infrastructure – Having only one system and a person or a team working on it means they’re likely to know everything about it. Outsource IT companies have a lot of different networks to remember, whereas the in-house partner needs to remember only yours.
- The possibility to train them according to your company’s needs – When you have someone working on-board your business premises, it means that you’re more likely to enhance their IT skills according to your company’s needs. Training them accordingly will help them grow, and your company too.
Here are the most significant downsides related to in-house service partners:
- Higher cost – Depending on your location, a team of two IT experts might cost you up to $50,000 per year, and in some cases, even more. Because it’s such a significant investment, you need to consider carefully whether it’s a good option for your business.
- The support only covers 9-5 – In-house service teams are great when they’re on your business premises, but what happens when they’re home, and a problem pops up? The short working hours are an even more considerable disadvantage if your business is open extended hours or in cases when your in-house partner goes on a vacation. You can deal with this by not allowing all of the team to take annual leave simultaneously, but what can you do when someone is sick?
- The chance of the IT expert resigning – There’s always a chance that your IT expert might leave due to a better offer or whatever else the case might be. If they quit, you need to replace them as fast as possible to maintain a solid level of IT support for your company. Hiring new experts can take months, and you’ll need to go through numerous CVs, interview various people, etc., all over again. And even when you hire a new expert, they’ll need to learn your systems from scratch. See what we’re pointing at?
- The need for outsource IT help – There isn’t one person in the world that knows everything and can help you with all of your IT-related problems. In cases of larger IT projects, the chances are that your in-house expert will need outsource IT help.
- High level of trust – The expert you employ will have full access to your networks, business premises, etc. This means that there’s a potential security risk, especially if your information falls into the wrong hands.
- Resistance to keep up with the changes – In some cases, the in-house service expert will resist to keep up with the changes. This means that they will want to change the infrastructure you’ve been creating for years. If you want to ensure your company’s long-term survival, you need to leave the sentimentality at your doorstep.
Managed IT Services Explained
When talking about managed IT services or outsourced IT support, we’re talking about a company you hire, which takes care of your systems, networking, and any other IT-related problems. The partner company, or managed service partner (MSP), will fix your problems remotely, but they can also come to your business premises if needed.
Managed IT Services Pros and Cons
The benefits of having an MSP are:
- Cost-efficient – With an MSP, you will have a clear breakdown of your monthly costs, and you’ll know what you’re paying for. You don’t have to worry about hiring new employees and additional fees, which can turn out to cost a small fortune.
- Fixed monthly cost – Some MSP companies have a fixed monthly cost, which can help with your budgeting as you’ll be able to predict all of your costs.
- Flexibility to scale up – If you plan to expand, having an MSP on board is the wisest decision you can make. They allow you to quickly scale up because the price of their IT support depends on how any team members are using a computer. This will enable you to predict a budget that works for you and give you a clear idea of the future costs.
- 24/7, 365 days per year coverage – Compared to in-house service experts, which are available 9-5 during weekdays only, the MSP will support your team 24/7 throughout the whole year. Whether it’s 1 AM on Monday or 7 PM on Friday, you’ll be able to contact your MSP and solve any of your issues.
- Fast and efficient – MSP companies have access to more resources and have more general staff, making them more efficient and faster than your in-house partner. Outsourced partners are proactive instead of reactive and will fix your problems before you realize they’re there.
- Short notice period – Most MSPs out there work on a monthly-based subscription, similar to services like Netflix or Spotify. This means that you’re not tied into a long contract, which allows you to provide only one month’s notice when you want to terminate your cooperation.
- Lots of knowledge – Typically, an MSP is 20x more skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable than your average in-house service provider. This is mainly because outsourced IT companies have numerous experts across various disciplines in their roster. MSPs know how to work efficiently in all sorts of specific scenarios, and on top of that, they are usually buddies with vendors, which means you’ll get the best deals for tech items and whatnot.
Here are some downsides of having an MSP:
- The inability to explain issues face to face – While the in-house IT support enables you to define your issues in person, the MSP requires you to present your problem via an audio-video call. To some, this is also an advantage as they prefer working remotely.
- Trust issues – Letting someone know everything about your unique network, systems, etc., is a huge deal. This is why it’s recommended to look at Google’s recommendations before going into an agreement with an MSP. If possible, you should also speak to their current or past partners. This will allow you to see whether they’re a trustworthy company or not. Remember, a reliable MSP will always be able to show you testimonials from their previous clients.
- Remote resolve – In some cases, not having someone on-site to locate the very root of your problems can be an issue. But if you’re working with a solid MSP, they’ll be able to send a team to your business premises to solve the problem in person.
- Additional cost for project work – Some MSPs charge additional fees for further project work. For example, some companies charge additional fees to set up a new laptop/computer for your new employees. This is a separate cost, but you can work around that if you communicate honestly and adequately with your MSP.
As there are no definite answers to what is better, an in-house partner or an MSP, we hope that our article has helped you decide which option is optimal for your company. Every business is different, and everyone has different needs, which is why we advise you to go through all the cons and pros thoroughly before opting for your partner.
If you’re still unsure what your business needs, feel free to contact one of our experts. We can answer all of your questions and give you a hand in bringing essential decisions.