If you’re like most small business owners, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the CEO, the sales manager, the marketing director, and probably the human resources department too. And somewhere in there, you have to find time to be the IT person. But let’s face it: most of us didn’t go into business to become IT experts.
That’s why, for many small businesses, managed IT services make a lot of sense. If you’ve been feeling like the technology aspect of your business is slipping through your fingers, we’re here to help.
When to Consider Outsourcing IT
Managed IT services are a time and cost-effective way to meet your IT needs. You’ll give the reins over to a team of experienced technicians and based on what kind of service you choose, you’ll be involved as much or as little as you’d like.
This can free up your time so you can focus on running your business, and it can also help you avoid some of the common issues that can wreak havoc on your IT infrastructure.
You might also want to think about outsourcing your IT if you have an in-house team but you’ve been experiencing some of these issues:
- Regular network failures
- Frequent virus outbreaks
- Slow internet speeds
- Poorly-configured software or hardware
If any of these feel familiar, it might be time to consider managed or co-managed IT services. But how do you decide which is best?
Distinct Features of Managed and Co-Managed IT Services
When it comes to outsourcing your IT needs, the two main options are managed and co-managed IT services. These approaches may sound similar, but there are some key differences that can help you decide which one is right for your business.
With a managed service plan from an IT firm, you’ll outsource all of your technical support and maintenance needs to them. This can be an effective option if you don’t have an in-house IT team, or if your in-house team is struggling to keep up with the demands of maintaining your network.
Pros of Managed IT
- An IT team that’s always on call to handle any issues, so you’ll never have to worry about your network going down.
- A fixed monthly rate for all of the services you need, which means no surprises when it comes time to pay your bill.
- Faster resolution times for technical issues, thanks to the longer average tenure of IT professionals that work for managed service providers.
A co-managed service plan generally includes some level of support from an external IT firm, but it also relies heavily on your in-house team. With a co-managed service plan, your in-house team will handle the day-to-day maintenance tasks and work with an IT firm to tackle any larger projects or issues.
Pros of Co-Managed IT
- More affordable than a fully managed service plan, since you’re only paying for the services you need.
- A more hands-on approach, which can be beneficial if you have an IT team that’s struggling to keep up.
- The ability to scale your services up or down as your needs change, without having to sign a new contract or pay any penalties.
Questions to Ask When Deciding between Managed and Co-Managed IT Services
To help you make your decision, here are several questions that you may want to ask as you evaluate your options.
1. How much experience do your in-house IT staff have? Do they have the technical knowledge and skills to manage a complex IT infrastructure on their own?
If you don’t have an IT team or they’re struggling to keep up, managed services would be a strong choice.
2. What is your budget for outsourcing IT services? How does this compare to the costs of a managed or co-managed service plan?
When your budget is a little smaller, co-managed is the way to go. You won’t get all the services of managed IT, but you’ll be able to pick and choose what you need.
3. What is the size and complexity of your IT infrastructure, and how does this affect the demands on your in-house team?
With really complex infrastructure or security needs, we suggest managed IT. They’ll have a team available to help with all of your compliance questions and system updates.
4. Do you have the time and resources available to provide comprehensive training to your in-house team?
If you want to wipe your hands of IT, go with managed! But if you want to take a more hands-on approach, co-managed is your best choice.
5. What are your long-term goals for your IT infrastructure? How will a managed or co-managed service plan help you meet these goals?
The answer to this question will be up to you and your business goals. But if you need help figuring it out, a consultation with a managed service provider will help you discover what you’re really looking for.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re trying to decide between managed and co-managed IT services. But if you take the time to evaluate your needs, budget, and goals, you’ll be able to make the best decision for you and your business.
If you’re still trying to decide between managed and co-managed IT services, contact Fusion Technology Solutions for a consultation. We can help you evaluate your needs and find the right solution for you!