For many companies, navigating the challenges of a global pandemic has had a significant impact on daily operations. Mandatory quarantines and stay-at-home orders have forced businesses to reimagine the structure of a typical workday and search for new ways to keep their employees connected when they can’t be in the office. While large corporations often have dedicated IT staff on hand to handle the new demands of a post-COVID-19 world, small companies that lack the resources for an on-site IT department have faced a much tougher transition.
Fortunately, outsourcing opportunities may provide the solution that many small businesses need to minimize lasting impacts on revenue and productivity. Here are five benefits to outsourcing IT support for small and medium-sized businesses.
Benefits of Outsourcing IT Services
IT outsourcing fills the gap between high-dollar IT professional services and the low-budget businesses that need them. As you try to navigate your company’s new and increased IT needs to keep your staff employed and maintain revenue, consider the following pros and cons to make the best decision for your business.
1. Staying Connected
The pandemic has forced many businesses to completely change the way they interact and collaborate within the company. With so many people restricted to their homes and safety being a concern for those who aren’t, IT solutions have paved the way for a new normal in business functions that used to be handled face-to-face. Conference calls and virtual meetings have replaced traditional roundtable discussions. Remote options allow full-time staff to work from home and still have access to company resources. Email and instant messaging handle the in-office questions and discussions that used to take place in hallways and conference rooms. For companies that don’t already have these systems in place and lack dedicated professionals to implement them, outsourcing may be the best option to take advantage of the latest connectivity technologies.
2. Seamless Transition
Developing new IT infrastructure can be a complicated process with many opportunities for mistakes. This is especially true when it must be implemented quickly to limit the disruption to a business’s revenue. IT professionals may be in high demand in the immediate local area, leaving many business owners to seek alternative options. The opportunity to outsource gives these organizations access to seasoned professionals who often work remotely, making them familiar with the needs of employees who are working from home for the first time. They’ll also be more equipped to handle the complete system overhaul that may be required for smaller businesses that have systems designed to be used on-site. This leaves you with a system designed to meet your needs, implemented with minimal downtime for your business. Most providers also provide access to a 24/7 help desk, giving you unlimited access to IT expertise to handle any issues that may arise so they can be resolved quickly.
3. Better System Security
Any time new elements are introduced to your network, it creates the opportunity for exploitable security vulnerabilities. This puts your company and your clients’ data at risk for cyberattacks. Choosing to outsource to an off-site IT service provider will ensure the latest cybersecurity protocols are implemented, keeping your data safe from hackers. Because cybersecurity is such an important part of IT services, outsourcing IT companies often require their professionals to be familiar with the latest security advancements. Many companies also offer data backup and restore options, providing additional disaster recovery protection should your information become lost or corrupted due to internal error or environmental factors. Finally, because the professionals who work for IT outsourcing companies are not limited to the immediate area, they often have a large pool of talent to choose from. This means they can assign someone to work with you who’s familiar with the regulations and unique needs of your industry.
An important benefit to IT outsourcing is the affordability it offers for access to IT experts. In-house IT teams are often too expensive for smaller businesses, forcing them to hire professionals on an a-la-carte basis. For complex system upgrades and additions, this can result in multiple return visits if the implementation doesn’t go smoothly, resulting in higher fees to resolve the issue. Business owners may also be subject to hidden costs, such as additional charges for weekend service calls or after-hours contact. With so many businesses still trying to perfect their remote systems, the demand for local talent could drive up prices, allowing larger companies with more resources to outbid businesses with smaller budgets. Alternatively, outsourcing companies that offer remote IT services are modeled to provide increased value at a lower cost. Packages are often tiered to meet different budgets or need levels, and most providers offer a guarantee on the services they provide.
Perhaps the biggest benefit offered by IT outsourcing providers is the flexibility they offer their clients. While many companies have already implemented quick fixes to the immediate fallout of the pandemic, some are still struggling with inadequate sustainable solutions and trying to decide what the future will hold for business processes and employees. With so many areas being forced to fluctuate in their response to an evolving situation, there are more questions than answers when it comes to determining the best business model to weather the impact of the virus. With the cost-effective packages offered by outsourced IT providers, businesses can choose a subscription-based service that will allow them to change with each new development, adjusting system changes that are no longer relevant and upgrading when elements are insufficient to meet their new IT needs.
Cons of Outsourcing
Although IT outsourcing offers many benefits, there are some drawbacks companies should consider carefully when selecting an outsourcing provider. First, many outsourced professionals work remotely and may not be in your local community. This means they can coordinate installations with local contractors but may not be able to meet with you in person. This places a heavier burden on solid communication to ensure they fully understand your needs and resources. While these issues could have felt like major deterrents in previous years, requirements for social distancing may make business owners who are now working from home actually find it preferable to contract with someone who’s comfortable providing their services from a remote location.