Internal IT Services: How In-House IT Services Support Businesses

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April 25, 2022

​​Internal IT Services: How In-House IT Services Support Businesses

If you run a smaller business that’s starting to grow, you’re faced with a dilemma. Should I start my own internal IT department, or should I expand my relationship with my managed services IT provider? As one of the nation’s largest MSPs serving small and medium-sized businesses, we have opinions. And our view is this: internal IT services can do a lot for your company. It would help if you didn’t have to choose between internal or external staffers. Many companies have a combination.

A recent story by Security Magazine showed that 83 percent of internal  IT leaders planned to outsource their security to an MSP. There are many ways to “co-manage” your IT services and get the best blend of internal IT vs. outsourced IT services.

Still, the question of whether or not to expand your internal IT services remains. Should you invest more in your IT department or your MSP? How should you structure your company for the future? This article will explore some of the pros and cons of building an Internal IT function and when you should pull the trigger on that investment. Let’s dig in!

Internal IT vs. Outsourced Managed IT Services: Which Should You Choose?

When you’re deciding between in-house IT vs. outsourced IT, the levers that move that debate will vary from company to company. However, we’ve found some “universal” pros and cons that you should consider.

Pros of Inhouse IT:

Control over your Data—When you have a robust Internal IT function, you’ll have the staff to handle all your administration. That means your staff will be in charge of downloading and managing all of your software licenses and working with your backup systems. While these things can be outsourced, there is a comfort factor to having an internal staffer with IT authority handling these tasks.

Employee-run help desk—Staffers in IT are on the same team as the rest of your company. They understand your systems well because they work on them all day. They know the ins and outs of your culture, your procurement processes, and more. And an internally run help desk can take one layer of permissions out of the process because they are the approving authority for software changes, hardware purchases, etc.

Strategic knowledge of your business— Internal IT staffers drive your IT strategy. So it stands to reason that they will take that strategy into account in everything they do. They can be the ones to notice when your system needs upgrading, set IT budgets, make hires, and police your cybersecurity. Because they’re there every day, watching your company as it grows and changes, they can see those needs just a little more quickly.

Coordination of Your Vendor Resources—Your IT Department can handle all the go-between between your company and the vendors and suppliers you use for your tech platforms. This removes a considerable admin burden from other parts of the company.

Cons of In-house IT:

Expense—Expect to pay about twice as much for an internal IT person as you would to have the same tasks done by an MSP. It’s a big difference, mainly driven by the obvious—healthcare, vacation benefits, salary, recruiting costs, admin costs, etc. Using an MSP for some or all of your IT services takes all those costs off your ledger.

Scalability—As versatile as an internal IT hire can be, they can’t be all things to all people. An employee only has eight hours in a workday, at least in theory. And, chances are, their expertise only stretches so far. Working with an MSP allows you to parse out all the IT work to people who are experts in their field. As your company grows, you can pay only for what you need, expanding as you go.

Coverage—Most companies can’t afford an internal IT help desk available 24/7. This may be fine if all your employees are on the same schedule. But employees in different time zones could find this problematic. And that’s to say nothing of systems monitoring. If your IT department doesn’t have another option, they’ll have to hire night staff or a vendor company to monitor your systems for bugs, cyberattacks, and network outages.

Questions You Should Ask Before You Create an Internal IT Department

Now that we’ve had the chance to review some of the more simple pros and cons, let’s drill down into some of the specific situations that may call for an Internal IT services department. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before creating an internal IT function.

#1—Do you have a daily need for on-site server maintenance, frequent equipment installations, or physical maintenance responsiveness?

Most MSPs can handle service desk calls remotely and then come on-site on occasion when more significant installations or maintenance programs need attention. If you have a barrage of daily needs that require someone on-site, you should consider hiring at least some internal IT staff.

#2—How much of your internal systems can be moved to a cloud provider?

Do you have customized programming or data sets that have to be managed by your proprietary systems? Or, can you migrate your systems to the cloud and use off-the-shelf software/add-ons to accomplish the same thing? If you can move nearly all your functions to the cloud, you’ll save a bundle and eliminate the need for having a deep bench of on-site staff to manage them.

#3—Are you managing a lot of hardware and legacy software systems?

If your company is hemmed in, working with legacy systems you can’t replace, it may be simpler to stick with internal staff. Many MSPs aren’t geared toward handling out-of-date hardware or software.

#4—How savvy are your employees?

Do you have tech-savvy employees who can solve common problems on their own? Or do you have a tech-averse staff that needs their hands held for every little thing? If you have a lot of break/fix problems that require a tech to help on-site, you might want to stick with internal staff. However, most companies find that an MSP on a break/fix contract can not only cover their needs but offer after-hours coverage as well.

#5—Can your budget truly handle an entire staff of full-time IT employees?

Start with a list of tasks that need to be covered. Then back that list out to figure the cost of the headcount you will need to fully stock an Internal IT services department. For an apples-to-apples comparison, call a qualified MSP to give you a quote on how much it will cost to cover all those tasks. The chances are good that you’ll see significant savings going the MSP route. However, depending on how many tasks can only be done internally, the costs may parse out differently. Do your homework. Your mileage may vary.

Answering these questions can help clarify your thinking about whether to go with an MSP or invest in an internal IT department. But remember, it’s not a zero-sum game. Sometimes combination approach is the best way to cover your needs as your company grows.

The Hybrid Approach: Co-Managed Services Combine the Best of In-House IT Services with the Scalability of an MSP

The larger your company becomes, the more you may need an experienced CIO. Their breadth of experience can cover several needs, including strategic direction, vetting vendors, and managing an MSP relationship.

However, that’s not the only strategy for a hybrid approach. Some companies may want to layer on a break/fix service desk employee or two who can handle things like wiring up offices, installing new software, and managing a server room. In contrast, an MSP handles cybersecurity, software licensing, and cloud services.

With the scalable, enterprise-grade tools now available through quality MSPs, you’ll be able to purchase only what you need, create a customized solution just for you, and avoid problems that come with outsourcing. Are you interested in learning more about how co-managed services with an MSP can work with your in-house IT department? We’d love to offer you a free consultation. Contact Integris today.

Susan Gosselin is a Solutions Writer for Integris. A career communicator and business journalist, she's written extensively on IT topics and trends for IT service providers like Iconic IT and ProCoders Ukraine, as well as business publications such as Technologyadvice.com, Datamation.com, The Lane Report and many others. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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