Which IT services to outsource and which ones to keep in-house

Many debate whether to outsource or keep their IT requirements and support in-house. It’s not the easiest question to answer. Today, you can outsource any IT need you may have, and there are many benefits to doing so, like freeing up internal resources and allowing them and yourself to focus on other important things.

But how do you go about determining what to outsource and what to keep in-house?

Or do you keep all IT in-house to maximize your level of control and expertise? How about a combination, called co-managed IT services, where you outsource a select portion of IT?

Let’s walk you through which IT services to outsource and the approach you can take…

Which IT services should you outsource?

There are great arguments for both IT outsourcing and keeping your IT in-house. If you’ve been looking for a sign that can point you in the right direction, consider these:

  • You’re spending too much time on IT, taking you away from core business objectives
  • You don’t have the necessary IT skills and expertise in-house to meet your goals
  • IT comes problematic and affects your operations
  • IT is becoming too expensive

These are common problems for businesses to have. Keeping your IT in top shape requires a lot of time and focus. Sometimes, it becomes overwhelming. Knowing that a specialized managed IT service partner is taking care of it for you, can resolve a major burden.

We’ve prepared a list of different IT management options that you should consider when evaluating your options:

1. Infrastructure Management & Maintenance

Managing and keeping your IT infrastructure up and running is a lot of work. Yet, its purpose is to allow your employees to do what they do best. Whether you have most of your IT infrastructure in the cloud or keep a portion of it on-premise, outsourcing infrastructure management and maintenance have many benefits.

It never means giving up control. Outsourcing means keeping your managed IT provider responsible for your infrastructure’s functionality, security, and reliability.

Outsourcing your technology infrastructure management will significantly decrease the amount of time and human resources you put toward IT. It also includes proactive IT support, leading to outperforming on customer expectations and strengthening relationships.

2. Strategic planning

Most companies can’t justify hiring a full-time CIO. The issue with that is, they’re then left with a feeling that the company can do better and grow at a faster rate, but aren’t sure how to make it happen. A great IT strategy can allow companies to become more productive and get more value out of their infrastructure. If you don’t have time or resources to create, continually review, and follow up on your IT strategy, outsourcing is a great idea.

Outsourcing your IT strategy to a reputable managed service provider gives you a Virtual Chief Information Officer, or vCIO. In comparison to hiring an expensive in-house CIO for a small business, a vCIO is a cost-effective way to keep your IT running smoothly.

A vCIO works as an invaluable technology consultant that can help you with IT roadmaps and plans for disaster recovery, cybersecurity, onboarding, business continuity plans, and more.

Another benefit of outsourcing your IT strategy and planning to a managed IT service provider, is that they work by driving ROI and results. Their job is all about making sure your IT works in alignment with your business goals, which we call Technology Business Alignment. If you want to grow, outsourcing is a great way.

3. Security Evaluations & Event Monitoring

According to the HC Tech Guys, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. That’s an astounding number, and it means it’s time for many small businesses to take higher consideration for their cyber security.

Out of today’s common cybersecurity threats, ransomware attacks are on the rise.

Furthermore, 62% of SMBs lack the in-house skills to handle cybersecurity. That means whenever there’s a threat or cybersecurity issue, many small businesses are unprepared to handle it on their own.

So, why outsource? Security evaluations, event monitoring, cybersecurity, and assessments all require great expertise to do well. For most small businesses, hiring a cyber security team just isn’t realistic. Outsourcing is a great way to get the highest level of expertise, suiting your budget and needs.

MSPs also usually have comprehensive, enterprise-level systems to monitor devices.

4. Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) Services

Business continuity plans, backups, and disaster recovery are all vital insurances for small businesses to continue their operations and recover successfully in the event of disasters. In fact, 93% of companies without Disaster Recovery who suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year.

Backup and Disaster Recovery is a key area that’s best left to experts. Outsourcing can give you complete business security for a fraction of the cost of hiring the talent in-house.

Email and email security services are other prime areas for outsourcing. Keeping your email servers safe and up-and-running is a full-time job. Letting your outsourced team handle the details not only ensure expertise in this crucial area, but it’s also generally much more cost effective.


Which IT services should you keep in-house?

It makes sense to keep some of your IT work in-house. Mainly, it comes down to the tasks, areas, and activities that directly relate to your business. With more direct involvement from your team members, a majority of services that require expertise of your particular business, might be better kept in-house. Some IT services also need faster, face-to-face communication, rather than communication through phone calls and email.

Let’s take a look at which IT services you should keep in-house…

1. User Application Support & Training

Only you know how you use your internal applications to serve your customers the best way. On top of that, needs and workflows change. Training and support are continuous and best kept in-house, where your expertise is.

User application support and training are generally advisable to keep in-house because it’s important to train your employees on all the capabilities. Leaving that to an MSP may cause knowledge gaps within your organization, directly hurting your ability to serve your customers.

2. Strategic Planning (with MSP)

You do need some level of strategic IT planning within your company. However, it’s advisable to work together with an MSP to help you fully execute on your strategy. Your MSP can also give you invaluable tips. When they know your business goals, challenges, and vision, they can help make it a reality. Your internal IT should have a direction and plan in place; an MSP can help you make that plan even better.

3. IT Budgeting

IT budgeting must come from the company itself. However, an MSP can help you make informed decisions. In the end, you want your financial department or CFO to stay updated with your finances and oversee decision making.

4. IT Governance and IT Policy Direction

IT governance and policy direction are major deals that need utmost adherence within your company. If you have an internal IT department, it’s advisable to keep this in-house, but if this is not the case, it is something that an MSP can help manage.


Expert Advice

Remember, as a general rule, the most important function of IT management is to facilitate the users completing their jobs and doing them efficiently. Anything user-facing that requires more in-depth company knowledge or application expertise, you should keep in-house.

Also, all mundane, repeatable tasks should be outsourced. MSPs will be more proficient and have some automated methods for performing these tasks, which will reduce costs. If it costs you less to outsource a service than to hire a full-time employee, outsource.


Yes, you can have the best of both worlds.

What’s the takeaway here? What IT services should you outsource, and which should you keep in-house?

You can have the best of both worlds. Doing repetitive tasks, purely to keep your infrastructure operational, is often costly and unnecessary to manage in-house. By outsourcing these types of activities to an MSP, and having your IT department leverage an MSP relationship and expertise, you can ensure that your internal team is customer-focused and works where it matters most—on what you do best.

There are many other great benefits of hiring an MSP:

  • 24/7 availability
  • Wide range of IT expertise
  • Strategic help from vCIOs
  • Lower cost compared to hiring and training in-house
  • Scalability and flexibility

As it stands, MSPs are always there to help you. Whether you experience an overwhelmed IT team—lacking time to focus on strategy—or lacking IT team skill sets, an MSP can be a great addition to your in-house IT team.

Want to know more about hiring an MSP? Contact us today!

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Since 2001, StepUP IT Services has been helping Eugene and Oregon businesses with technology. We are your IT partner. We manage and maintain your technology, empowering your organization to reach its goals. 

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