A lot of people think that there are only two ways to run an IT department: In-house and outsourced. They aren’t too far off the mark, but many have forgotten that you can combine the two. More and more businesses are opting for co-managed IT services because it really is an efficient way to do things. Let’s talk a little bit more about what these kinds of services are and what they involve.
How Does Co-Managed IT Work?
Co-managed IT can work in whatever way you wish. You can usually choose which services will remain in-house and which ones will be outsourced, allowing you to customize things very specifically. By sitting down with representatives from both teams and working out the details, you can come up with a plan that fully utilizes the strengths of each team.
In general, an in-house team will be more intimately familiar with the needs and details of their organization. They will be more familiar with the equipment and with the specific way in which it is set up. Since this person probably does more work on your system than anyone else, their experience should prove invaluable. At the same time, a managed service provider (MSP) will likely have more knowledge about current technology and the latest trends. They will also have a greater amount of time and resources, allowing them to fill their niche with equal effectiveness.
There are many good reasons to choose a co-managed approach to IT. Most of them come down to versatility and the efficiency that comes from a division of labor. Let’s look at some of those advantages in greater detail.
An extended network outage can be extremely expensive, costing you whole days of business. Even if your company is one of those that can operate without the net, you will certainly see reductions in revenue and productivity. Thankfully, a co-managed IT plan helps to keep these interruptions at a minimum.
On this subject, you should always make sure that your MSP offers a service-level agreement (SLA). This is basically a contract between you and them, spelling out the rights and responsibilities of each. Any good SLA should specify a certain amount of downtime (per month or per year) that is deemed acceptable. After that threshold is passed, the MSP will become liable for any losses that you incur as a result of downtime. This is great for you because it protects your investment.
Wider Pool Of Experience
Technology is like an octopus that never stops growing new arms. It keeps expanding in all directions, and each expansion makes it harder to manage. As such, there is no way that one person could ever hope to learn everything. For that matter, even a small team could never be expected to understand every tech question out there.
That’s why it really helps to have a larger pool of experts from which to draw. A co-managed approach gives you that, allowing both teams to consult one another for guidance. Should they find a problem that falls outside of their knowledge and experience, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a team member that can help.
You probably want your business to grow at some point, whether larger or smaller (probably larger). Of course, that kind of resizing can cause a lot of trauma if your business isn’t prepared for the change. With a co-managed IT approach, this usually isn’t a problem.
When you employ the services of an MSP, you are not committing to the employment of a certain number of people. Thus, if you need to scale things down or up, you should have that option. Any MSP contract that doesn’t include a scalability option is not a particularly good one.
Security, in many cases, is just a matter of having more hands on deck. Every IT professional on staff equals one more set of experienced eyes that might catch a problem early. In the case of hacking and cyberattacks, this kind of thing is even more important. Most cyberattacks only succeed because of a lack of vigilance on the part of the victim.
For instance, the most common way to detect a threat at the point of intrusion is network monitoring. By keeping a close eye on all network traffic, an expert can tell when something is not right and act accordingly. However, an in-house IT team will usually have trouble finding time for that. Besides, you probably hired these people to solve problems; Do you really want them sitting in front of a monitor watching packets all day? Of course not, you want your in-house team to help your in-house staff! Thus, you can outsource routine monitoring to an outside group and save a lot of time.
Choosing The Right MSP For Your Co-Managed Plan
In general, you want to look for an MSP with a well-established reputation. Look at all the reviews you can find, and consider checking with the Better Business Bureau to see how their ratings look. Of course, this isn’t quite enough. You should also ask about their previous clients and find out if they have experience in your particular industry. You also need to make sure they offer a level of security that is appropriate for your organization.
A co-managed IT approach has quite a few benefits and very few downsides. In the end, the only real downside is that you are paying two teams instead of one, but both of those costs should be lower. Even if you do end up paying a little more, the amount of money you save should more than make up the difference. A smooth and well-functioning IT system makes business flow like a placid river. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at 856-754-7500 or schedule a consultation online.