These days, so much of the smooth running of businesses relies on IT. From cloud-based servers storing important business documents to anti-cybercrime defenses which protect networks from malicious attack, a well-managed IT infrastructure is essential. When that breaks down, then, it needs to be fixed right away – and businesses have two main choices when it comes to sorting it out.
On-site IT departments
Typically found in large organizations such as corporations, on-site IT departments make sense when there are lots of tech problems which need to be fixed as soon as possible. It’s likely that an on-site team will always be able to beat an outsourced team in terms of speedy responses, and it’s also often the case that hardware problems can be fixed faster by an in-house team because the relevant technology is on-site as well.
However, with many organizations – both public and private – now increasingly searching for cost savings wherever they can, having an on-site IT department can seem like something of a cash drain. Hiring several skilled professionals on a full-time contract basis is a big commitment, and it’s increasingly often the case that it’s worth the short delay that a contractor might pose in return for the big money savings.
Outsourced to contractors
The other major option that a modern business can choose when it comes to handling their tech problems is to appoint a contractor. The downside to relying entirely on an outsourced, contract-based IT function, of course, is that it doesn’t provide business leaders with the sort of control that an in-house team can. A good contract team will usually be highly responsive to requests for assistance when technology problems arise, but they might not physically be in the same office as an in-house team would be – and they may have other clients to satisfy, which could cause delays. In addition, there are several additional administrative hoops to jump through when it comes to paying a contractor – although it’s possible to hire an umbrella company to do that for you, and to ensure that you meet all of your tax obligations.
The main advantage of a contractor is that you can employ their services on an entirely flexible basis. If you need a suite of technicians to carry out a full software upgrade, for example, you can hire them simply for that specific job – so there’s no need to worry about paying a monthly retainer for a service you only require once a year or so. Over the course of a year or two, the savings can significantly add up!
When you’re in charge of a business that relies on a smooth, well-run IT system, the thought of it breaking down is worrying. It does happen, though, and it pays to be prepared. Whether you opt for the flexibility of the IT contractor option, the security of the on-site IT department or something in between, there are plenty of choices available for protecting your team’s essential tech architecture.