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Karen Cohen

By: Karen Cohen on November 02, 2022

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Internal vs. Outsourced IT Services: An Honest Comparison

Managed Services

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2019, but has been updated to include the pros and cons of each option. 

Like many business leaders, you may find yourself in need of IT support. It doesn’t matter whether you have a full complement of IT experts supporting your organization, a small IT staff, or no IT staff at all; you may still need additional help. 

The question is, do you want to hire staff or work with an external IT provider? As a managed IT support provider, Kelser is often asked to weigh in on this subject. While we believe in our comprehensive managed IT support solution, the truth is that both options have their place. 

In this article, we commit to providing an unbiased evaluation of each option. We’ll fill you in on the pros and cons of each and we’ll also provide some things to consider when deciding which solution is best for you.

Internal IT Support

Having full-time employees handle your IT needs is one approach. There are pros and cons to consider. 


    • Knowledge

The main benefit of internal IT services is having employees on staff who understand the unique needs of your organization and the nuances of your IT infrastructure. 

Because they work with your technology daily and have a full understanding of your IT resources and how they are used, dedicated staff may be able to resolve issues more efficiently due to their familiarity with your infrastructure.

Dedicated staff may also be more familiar with specific industry regulations or contractual requirements

    • Control Of Data 

Organizations that do business in heavily regulated industries (such as finance and health care) may be hesitant to trust their data to an external IT provider. Internal IT staff gives you more control over your data. 

Having said that, there is no guarantee that a member of your internal staff won’t go rogue or unintentionally put your data at risk.  

    • Convenience

With an internal staff, you have resources at the ready at a moment’s notice to handle issues as they arise. There is no need to quickly find experts who will be adept at handling your issue. 


    • Ongoing Cost

Full-time employees are expensive. There are the salaries to consider, but also the hidden costs like hiring, onboarding, training, and benefits. These costs increase every year and are fixed costs that don’t respond to changes in demand or finances.

    • Fixed Resources 

While every IT network needs the same care, no matter the size of the organization, it may not be possible for a small organization to support a full complement of IT professionals

For example, while cybersecurity is important for every organization, there might not be the resources or the workload for a small organization to justify having a full-time cybersecurity professional on staff.  

    • Limited Skills

The bigger your internal IT staff, the more capabilities you may be able to access. But, along with that comes a larger cost. Balancing the skills you need with your budget can be a delicate dance. 

External IT Support

Partnering with an external IT support provider can take two forms: break/fix and managed IT support. In general, break/fix is the traditional model, where you hire someone to come fix things when they break. With managed IT support, customers pay a set monthly fee that includes ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and service. 

Read this comparison of break/fix and managed it support


    • Flexibility

External IT support offers the ability to get the help you need when you need it without incurring the cost or commitment of hiring a full-time staff. 

Even companies that do their own server infrastructure, for example, may decide to outsource other tasks such as network and VoIP.

    • Scalability

With external IT support, you can scale up or down depending on your business needs. For example, if you need extra help during a busy season or during a merger or acquisition, you can hire all the help you need without a long-term commitment. 

    • Expertise 

When you outsource your IT services to the right provider, you can get full access to experts in many technology areas, rather than having to depend on the knowledge of a few internal employees. 

And, external resources are often more well-versed on new industry trends than in-house staff who may be more narrowly focused. Having an extra set of eyes on your IT resources can also unveil issues that might otherwise be overlooked. 

    • Cost

External IT support is typically a more cost-effective solution than hiring a full-time staff of IT experts because you don’t have to pay the expenses of full-time employees: benefits, health insurance, hiring, onboarding, and more.


    • Cost

While external IT support is typically more cost-effective than a full complement of internal staff, it can still be costly. 

With break/fix providers, costs can be unpredictable depending on the urgency and complexity of the situation. 

With managed IT support, the cost is the same predictable amount every month for comprehensive, proactive support including monitoring, patching, and updating, as well as antivirus and anti-malware solutions. Find out what managed IT support includes and what it doesn’t.

    • Lack Of Regulatory Experience

For businesses that have specialized regulatory or contractual requirements, external IT support may not have the familiarity needed to ensure compliance.

    • Security

One of the common concerns about external IT support is the belief that it puts data at risk. The reality is that the reputation of the external provider is dependent on protecting the data of its customers, so data is likely at no more risk with an external provider than with internal staff. 

In reality, external managed IT providers often provide options that enhance the security of data.

What to Consider When Choosing Between Internal And External IT Support

If you’re deciding between an internal team and outsourcing, it’s essential to do your research and understand what’s most important to your organization. Here are some questions to consider: 

    • What Do You Need?

Are you just looking for simple hardware maintenance and patching, or do you require a full suite of IT services? Building an in-house IT staff will be more difficult the more different skills you need.

    • What Are Your Existing IT Capabilities? 

If you have an IT staff that can handle the daily care and maintenance of your network, maybe you just need help with special projects. Or, if your internal staff is good at managing projects, but struggles with daily technical support tasks, maybe you need support with the daily tasks. 

Some organizations find that a combination of internal and external support gives them the best of both worlds. 

    • What Hours Do You Need IT Assistance? 

Do you need IT support and maintenance 24/7/365, or just during business hours? Does your business operate only in one time zone? Is your IT staff scrambling to cover all bases when someone goes on vacation?

    • Do You Need In-Person Support? 

In-person support has several major advantages including better relationships, easier troubleshooting, and faster resolution times. If you prefer external support, consider providers that are local to your area.

What’s Next? 

In this article, we’ve compared internal and external IT support. We’ve explored the pros and cons of each option.  

With internal support, the advantages are knowledge, control of data, and convenience, while the disadvantages are ongoing cost, fixed resources, and limited skills.

External support offers flexibility, scalability, expertise, and cost advantages. The disadvantages of external support include cost, lack of regulatory experience, and security issues.  

You know what to consider when evaluating your options. You understand the importance of thinking about what you need, your existing IT capabilities, the hours you need assistance, and whether you need in-person support

Learn more about managed IT support by clicking the link below.

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About Karen Cohen

Karen brings unending curiosity to her role as Kelser's Content Manager. If you have a question, she wants to know the answer.

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