Managed Services IT -vs- An In-House IT Pro

For small to mid-sized businesses, it can be a struggle to balance the need for vital operating functions against tight budgets. How does that pertain to IT and what are your options? Let’s take a look.

IT specifically is such a specialized discipline, that the neighbor’s tech-savvy kid can rarely keep your business running smoothly. In fact, we find the tech-savvy neighbor’s kid typically causes more harm than good in the long run and not a suggested means of cutting costs.  Downtime is harder on SMBs and cyber attacks can ruin them.  So what can the small business do?

There are three common trends when small businesses address the need for IT help:

  1. Hire an in-house IT pro to join your staff
  2. Hire a Managed Services Provider (an IT firm)
  3. Do both

You see, Managed Services Providers (MSP) can either augment an internal IT staff with specialized skills to handle a complicated problem or take on the routine work so the internal staff can focus on new initiatives, or act as the entire IT department when no IT professional is on staff. Many people think that hiring an in-house pro is the more economical, budget-friendly route with the added bonus of a dedicated person on hand to put out fires. So it may come as a surprise to see that MSPs actually tend to be less expensive, half the price of hiring an IT pro, with the added benefit of access to more skill sets and specialties.

The Numbers To Back It

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a system engineer is $85,000. Add in 25% for benefits and you’re paying between $102,000 and $107,000 for one person handling all your tech and users. Consequently, MSPs tend to be about half the price, depending on your company size, requirements, and current infrastructure.

Another benefit of hiring a Managed Services Provider is access to next-generation expertise. If you’re lucky to have more than one IT pro on your in-house team, generally they are too busy putting out fires and keeping the lights on to focus on the latest security, storage, productivity, compliance or other technology trends.

So why would a small business choose to add someone to their staff rather than hire an MSP? Either they don’t realize the difference in value or they’ve had bad experiences with less-than-ethical MSPs who give the rest us a bum rap. All too often, we’re called to help a company whose system is the leftover mess created by previous so-called MSPs. We spend hours backtracking to get their systems fixed and then we begin our work to rebuild their trust. Our advice here: Choose your MSP carefully, asking for references and reviews, and avoid basing your decision purely on price.

Whichever way you choose for your small business, we hope you’ll consider the benefits of hiring a reputable Managed Services Provider.

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    About The Author

    Kristin Southerland is the Marketing Director for Rattan Consulting and President of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Marketing Association. She joined Rattan in 2016 after 10 years marketing in the insurance industry. Once an IT novice too, she enjoys translating the tech world to the business world.

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