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Lisa Carroll

By: Lisa Carroll on July 21, 2022

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Does Your Growing Business Need External IT Support? 

Managed Services | IT Support

Business growth is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it follows a steady trajectory and, other times, the boom is totally unexpected. No matter which situation your business finds itself in, you may need external IT support to ensure your IT infrastructure is up to the challenge.

After all, your IT is the framework that supports your entire organization. It needs to be ready to support increased demand for orders, a larger staff, relevant security or regulatory requirements, and a host of other things. 

Where Do You Start? How Do You Know What IT Support You Need? 

Developing an IT roadmap is an important first step for growing businesses. 

An IT roadmap helps identify all the critical issues in an organization and the IT enhancements that will support future growth. Ideally this planning happens along the way, but sometimes growth hits faster than expected or businesses don’t have the full complement of IT staff to fight the daily fires and plan for strategic improvements.

If this is the case with your organization, you may need to supplement your internal staff or you may decide you want help handling all of your IT “stuff.” Either way, there are IT organizations located nearby that can help. 

Before we go any further, let me acknowledge that I work for Kelser Corporation. We provide a host of IT support services for corporations as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

Having said that, I promise that this article isn’t a hidden sales tool. At Kelser, we know that managed IT support isn’t right for everyone

The reason we publish unbiased articles like these is to acknowledge and answer IT questions that business leaders like you face every day, so that you can have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about the best IT solution for you.

In this article, I’ll explain what external providers offer to growing businesses. After reading this article you’ll have a better understanding of what you can expect if you work with an outside IT provider and what that relationship might look like. 

What Is An External IT Provider? 

I know this may seem basic, but I want to make sure we are all operating from the same understanding of external IT providers.

There are two basic kinds of IT providers and both have their place.   

1.Break/Fix

A break/fix provider is an organization that is hired to fix your devices and infrastructure when things break. Here are some of the pros and cons of this approach:  

Pros

    • Cost 

Many businesses use these types of providers because they pay only for the services they need when they need them. There are no overhead or recurring costs to consider. This can be a cost-effective approach for smaller organizations with minimal security risk.

    • Convenience

There are many break/fix providers in most areas that can usually respond quickly depending on the issue. They are an on-demand service and are accustomed to responding quickly.

Cons

    • Reactive

Without an internal staff looking out for the long-term IT needs of the organization, a break/fix approach only provides reactive solutions. When things break they get fixed, but you lack the strategic guidance to plan for future needs.

    • Unpredictable

Break/fix solutions can be unpredictable. You don’t know the skills of the person coming to help and the cost can vary widely. For example, you may pay a premium for support outside normal business hours.

2.Managed IT Support

Managed IT providers offer ongoing IT support for a monthly fee

Pros

    • Proactive Partners

With managed IT support, organizations have a partner looking out for their entire infrastructure in a proactive way.

This proactive approach can prepare your infrastructure for increased throughput demands and evaluate the effectiveness of your cybersecurity solutions among other things

Managed providers get to know the unique aspects of a customer’s environment, making it easier to resolve issues quickly the first time. They also offer strategic advice about technology improvements that can yield efficiencies and improve security to meet emerging threats.

Managed IT providers work with customers to develop a comprehensive IT roadmap that ensures technology keeps pace with the organizational strategy to help ensure the organization’s future success.

Managed providers can work with your internal IT staff or handle all of your IT needs
    • Predictable Cost

Customers pay a reliable, constant monthly fee for the services included in their agreement, making budgeting for IT easier and more reliable without incurring the cost of adding staff. Read this article to see how the costs of an internal staff and managed provider compare.  

(Note: Managed providers may be equipped to handle project work and other services outside the monthly agreement, but they will be charged separately.)

    • Comprehensive Solution

Most managed providers have the resources to provide a full complement of IT expertise, giving customers access to a wide range of expertise without incurring the expense of having these experts on their internal staff.

The offerings of a managed provider can vary, but read this article to find out what services are  usually included in managed IT support.   

Cons

    • Cost

The cost is predictable as I mentioned above. However, since break/fix costs are often distributed throughout the organization it can be difficult to roll up the expenses into one true cost. 

The truth is, managed support may or may not actually be more expensive than break/fix, but it also is a more comprehensive and more forward-looking solution.  

For a more complete comparison of these two approaches, read this article: Break/Fix vs. Managed IT: Cost, Reliability, Security, Productivity.

Is External IT Support Right For Your Organization? 

When organizations work with external IT providers, they have more time to concentrate on what they do best: running their business. Only you can decide if external IT support is right for your organization. 

The good news is that after reading this article, you understand your IT support options. You know some of the pros and cons of each approach. 

You may be in a holding pattern and not quite ready to decide if you need external IT support. My advice is to begin exploring a few providers and keep your options open. Here are some questions you might want to ask potential IT providers

If you are ready to look for an external IT provider, here is a list of questions potential customers commonly ask about Kelser’s services. These, too, may be useful when interviewing potential providers.

Wondering if managed IT is a good solution for your small business? We answer that question in this article: Is My Business Too Small For Managed IT Support? 

Still wondering? Take the quiz below to find out for yourself if managed IT is right for your organization. 

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About Lisa Carroll

Lisa is Kelser's VP of Revenue who works at the intersection of business and technology to help Kelser’s clients jump on growth opportunities.

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