Managed Services vs. Internal IT – A Seattle Business Owner’s Guide

If your IT situation is getting hard to handle and you figure it’s time to hire some additional help, read this before making your next step. If you haven’t yet read Part 1, “What Is a Managed Services Provider?” you can check that out here. Otherwise, go ahead and pour a cup of coffee and fix it to your liking – and then settle in, so we can talk about your IT support options. 

First Things First: This Isn’t an Either/Or Decision

Lots of things in life are either/or decisions: Domino’s crowd-pleasing pizzavs. Serious Pie’s oyster pizza for dinner tonight; sugar vs. Splenda for your coffee right now; battle the Seattle Squeeze or just stay home and watch Netflix this weekend. (Tough decisions.) 

Luckily, not everything in life is an either/or. When it comes to choosing an IT managed services provider (MSP) vs. hiring an internal IT team, it’s totally okay to use both options at the same time. 

In fact, many business leaders find that by combining their existing in-house team with a local outsourced IT provider, they get the best of both worlds. Here’s why.

Managed Services Providers Offer 2 Big Benefits: After-Hours Support and Wide Expertise

When hiring for an MSP, the biggest selling point you’ll run across is the after-hours support. Many business leaders misunderstand why this matters. The other big benefit to hiring an MSP is that you’ll have an affordable, experienced IT consultancy firm available to you on-demand for strategic planning and expert service.

  • After-Hours Support

Obviously, it’s great to have 24/7 help when you’re working late and you run into frustrating problems like constant email crashes, but around-the-clock care is also extremely important for cybersecurity

Think about it: Would you rather deal with all that critical software patching and updating during your busy workday, or would you rather walk into the office every morning and know that all your technology is up to date and taken care of

  • Wide Expertise

Each of your internal hires probably has a particular skillset, based on their unique experiences. When you want to add more skills or expertise to your team, you either have to pay for training or hire more IT staff. 

Like you, MSPs want a varied IT skillset on their team, so if you choose your MSP carefully, you can ensure you’ll have access to many IT experts, often for less than it would cost to hire a single in-house IT person full time. Of course, to make sure you get this benefit, check your MSP’s experience before signing a contract. 

Other benefits to hiring an outsourced managed services provider include: 

  • Fast IT scheduling provided by a team large enough to plan for timely upgrades and updates
  • Access to cutting-edge IT services, such as business continuity, IoT monitoring, or phishing avoidance training
  • Discounts on hardware and software, due to partner volume pricing that’s only available to IT pros or massive enterprises

An Internal IT Team Also Offers 2 Big Benefits: In-House Data Management and a “Down the Hall” Relationship

Depending on your industry, you may prefer to keep your data in house instead of sharing it with a third-party IT professional. You may also want to keep your IT relationship informal and spontaneous, with the ability to ask for minor IT fixes anytime. 

  • In-House Data Management

Although the best MSPs understand, comply with, and hold certifications in various industry data privacy standards, you may simply prefer to hire and retain your own large internal IT team, so you can control every aspect of your data

If this sounds like the best choice for your organization, you’ll want to allocate a large IT budget to ensure you can hire a range of experts here in Seattle, staff your IT department around the clock, and invest in maintaining rock-solid business technology. 

  • A “Down the Hall” Relationship

The other big benefit to maintaining an in-house IT staff is that you can count on them for instant IT advice during work hours. If all you have to do to get tech help is walk to the office down the hall, you and your staff are likely to feel free to get help when needed – which can boost your company’s overall IT skills

With an outsourced MSP, you can expect to email or call your provider to request support, so you might be hesitant to initiate a formal support ticket simply for a quick refresher on something minor, like a walkthrough on how to change notification sounds on your email

However, it’s worth it to note that numerous small demands on your IT team’s time will slow down their productivity. 

Other benefits to having an in-house IT team include:

  • Off-the-cuff strategy advice from an IT expert who truly knows every inch of your system
  • IT/business staff cohesiveness, based on that “down the hall” relationship
  • In-house access to offbeat tech humor because it’s hilarious

Looking for an Award-Winning Local Managed Services Provider? Try Interplay.

Since 2001, Interplay has helped business leaders across a range of industries secure their IT environments and keep operations on track with ease. As one of the longest-standing MSPs in Seattle (and one of the area’s only true MSPs), Interplay is uniquely qualified to help your organization strategize for future IT needs, get all your systems working smoothly around the clock, and simplify your IT management tasks. 

 

Do you already have an internal IT professional, but you’re curious to see how an outsourced MSP can help? We get that a lot. Take our free Network & IT Health Self-Assessment, so you can identify where your current IT strengths and challenges lie.