Nearly all businesses today need to integrate information technology (IT) into the structure of the company. The traditional method of building an in-house infrastructure is no longer the only option. Managed service providers can take on all or part of the role of an IT department remotely. While hiring a managed IT firm is a good alternative to an in-house IT staff, it is important to understand the pros and cons of using an outside service provider.
Pro: Lower and More Predictable Overhead
One of the main advantages of manage IT is that it lowers overhead. An in-house IT department requires a full staff, expensive equipment and constant maintenance. Costs can rise or fall unexpectedly depending on hardware and software issues. Managed services usually cost less than in-house departments. Many even charge metered or set rates that are easier to budget because they are predictable.
Con: Potential Security Concerns
A drawback of managed IT is potential security concerns. The employees at the service provider have full access to business systems and data. This can raise concerns about the security of financial or proprietary information when using the service. Additionally, some businesses might have issues with security when managed IT is delivered through the cloud since data could pass through public networks. It is a good rule of thumb that if you decide to use a managed services firm to do your research. It is important to verify that they are a reputable and well established company.
Pro: Faster Problem Resolution
Managed IT provides faster problem resolution. The constant monitoring of systems and servers allow providers to catch many issues before they become serious problems. Additionally, any problems that do occur can be addressed fast by the professionals at the service. The result is better reliability and more consistent uptime.
Con: Vendor Lock-In Becomes Possible
A potential disadvantage is vendor lock-in. This means a business becomes reliant on the proprietary systems or software used by the service provider. Vendor lock-in can make it difficult to switch providers or migrate to another framework. Vendor lock-in can actually be very costly to overcome if the service provider does not assist during migration.
Pro: Information Technology Expertise
A difficulty that many companies face is finding new employees with the right type of IT expertise. The labor pool in an area might contain no experienced database managers or network engineers. The advantage of using managed IT services is that the expertise is already in place. The service will have all the employees and knowledge necessary to start handling IT functions for the business right away.
Con: Lack of Industry Knowledge
A final disadvantage is that a managed IT provider might not have any knowledge of the particular industry of a business. This can happen with businesses that deal in industries like healthcare, law or logistics. The lack of specific knowledge could make maintaining industry compliance very difficult. It could also result in long delays when requesting service since the provider needs to learn about the industry. Fortunately, many managed IT services do specialize in different industries.
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