IT outsourcing is a great cost-effective alternative to having an in-house IT department. It helps you meet your growing information technology needs while remaining cost-effective for your business. However, there are several types of IT outsourcing your business can adopt. To help you learn and decide which option is best for your company, we have outlined three options in this article. Read more below.

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1. One On-Site IT Contractor

This IT outsourcing option involves hiring an independent contractor as your on-site IT professional to manage your IT infrastructure.

IT Outsourcing - On-Site IT Contractor

The Pros

In this outsourcing option, your IT professional is always available, so he or she can provide almost immediate emergency and/or end-user tech support. Working with one independent IT professional is much cheaper than hiring and managing an entire IT department.

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    The Cons

    This option may lead to higher expectations that outpace a single IT professional’s abilities and time constraints. The IT role in the organization involves understanding and implementing all the necessary policies, tools, equipment, and actions to keep your company relevant, functioning, and flourishing in business. The IT professional also needs to be fluent in all forms of IT, from servers to desktops to networks to mobile technology.

    Is It For You?

    One independent, on-site IT professional is often a great option for small businesses. You get the IT support you need immediately, wrapped up in an affordable package. However, if your company is on the verge of a growth spurt, it might be time to consider other IT options to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

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    2. Emergency-Only, Help Desk IT Services

    This IT outsourcing alternative involves establishing a relationship with an external help desk team for IT support—a team only contacted during a productivity-impeding IT emergency.

    IT Outsourcing - Emergency-Only, Help Desk IT Services

    The Pros

    With emergency-only help desk IT services, your business can opt for a pay-as-you-go model: costs are calculated based on an hourly rate, so you only pay for the services you need and only when you use them.

    The Cons

    In this IT outsourcing option, there’s a lot of troubleshooting but not a lot of IT strategy—so there’s no potential for a big-picture solution due to the help desk’s inherently narrow perspective on your IT issues.

    Is It For You?

    While emergency-only IT services are often a great short-term IT option, this might impede your business growth in the long run. If you know your business is about to boom, seek a more permanent IT solution for the long haul.

    3. Managed IT Services/Managed IT Service Provider

    This term refers to a completely outsourced IT team, ideally stocked with specialists in various IT management solutions (from networks to desktops to servers to mobile), experienced across multiple industries, and proactive in every way.

    IT Outsourcing - Managed IT Services Managed IT Service Provider

    The Pros

    Unlike an emergency-only help desk that is reactionary (meaning when a problem event occurs, it is isolated, cleaned up, and fixed as quickly as possible), managed IT services follow a proactive IT model that, as much as possible, eliminates problems before they happen. It then continuously monitors systems to detect irregularities and maintain business productivity and data security. As a result, this IT outsourcing option safeguards desktops, servers, networks, and mobile devices from the rollercoaster ride of unpredictable downtime and system failures. Even in worst-case scenarios, the proactive model offers a ready-to-go action plan when a problem is identified.

    Added bonus: If you’re interested in managed IT services, most providers offer an hourly option. When you go with the hourly service first, you can vet the IT company before committing to long-term services.

    The Cons

    Like the first two IT outsourcing options, Managed IT Services may not be able to develop a deep understanding of your internal infrastructure and specific industry needs since it handles multiple businesses. Additionally, since this option outsources your IT department to another company in another office, it is less available to fix urgent issues.

    Is It For You?

    Managed IT Services are an excellent alternative to an in-house IT department since they provide your business with a team of specialized IT personnel and a proactive IT strategy. This strategy will, as much as possible, ensure your business runs 24/7, giving you the confidence you need to move your business forward.

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    Depending on the size of your company, the phase you’re in, and your impending growth potential under your current business model, any of these three alternatives to in-house IT might suit your business just fine… for now.

    Be aware that options other than the traditional in-house IT team are available. If your IT isn’t working for your business, it might be time to look into a new solution.

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