There are two primary reasons why you may be considering hiring an in-house IT support person:

1) You’ve grown your company - from a home-based start up to an office, to a bigger office, to your own free-standing building, and the casual or occasional IT services you had before aren’t cutting it anymore.

Many companies have someone on staff that ‘knows some stuff’ about computers, which may be fine when you have three to five stand-alone workstations, but once the company grows – doubling or tripling the number of workstations and adding a centralized server, to handle the need for file-sharing and better communications needs filesharing and better communication, these individuals are usually quickly overwhelmed.

2) You are fed up with non-responsive outsourced IT support and you want somebody there at all times.

Before you start interviewing IT services professionals for a spot on your staff, take a look at the most critical factors:

The selection process: Do you know what to look for in a candidate? The criteria are subjective for each company, but it may require a little homework to figure out what you need to look for. According to Glassdoor, these are minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, Information Systems, or a related field, or equivalent experience
  • 2-5 years of experience working in IT operations
  • Experience leading and managing large IT projects and rolling out IT infrastructures across various technologies
  • Excellent working knowledge of computer systems, security, network and systems administration, databases and data storage systems, and phone systems
  • Strong critical thinking and decision-making skills
  • Excellent project management skills and strong ability to prioritize
  • Firm grasp on IT infrastructure and operations best practices

Along with the above, solid references from their time working in IT support. An HR person with no IT experience may need help evaluating their ‘working knowledge’ of all things IT related.

No matter how ‘qualified’ your applicant appears to be, there are very few IT people with thorough knowledge of everything. With an array of talents on payroll, the best MSPs know when your dedicated technician and backup tech need the help of a specialist and assign the appropriate person.

Employment cost: It varies depending on the criteria involved in the calculation, but PolicyAdvice gives the national average salary range for a qualified IT services professional as between $75,000 to $100,000 per year. Consider this seriously: If you are interviewing a candidate that is eager to accept the $40,000 (or less) that you’re offering, it means they are not qualified to go after even the average paying jobs in their industry.

Add any company benefits on top of the salary and everything kicks up a good notch. According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of employee benefits in 2018 was $21,726 per employee.

Technical setup costs: This can be minimal or maximal - it depends on your size and how much you value employee productivity.

Minimal - no monitoring or remote repair capabilities. Just an IT support person sitting at a desk waiting for something to go wrong (it will).
If you have only fifteen workstations, you may be willing to put up with a scenario like this playing out:
Your IT support person gets a phone call from Fred that he can’t access something or can’t print etc. The IT person walks to Fred’s desk, sits down, and starts troubleshooting, at which point Fred’s productivity stops cold, and if he spends the time chatting with co-workers, their productivity becomes impaired as well. Now multiply this by at least a dozen times a day.

Maximal – Your IT support is set up like an outsourced Managed IT Services provider. This generally only happens with a minimum of sixty workstations to manage. The minimal scenario above becomes untenable at that point.

Now you need some expensive things: Ticketing systems, multiple data backups (at least one in the cloud), remote monitoring software in each controlled device – with an overriding RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) suite, several ancillary IT management and reporting tools, licenses, and subscriptions, among others. Even without the best in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) these costs add up quickly.

The case for outsourcing Managed IT Services

A Managed Services Provider (MSP) has invested in the best versions of all the tools an internal IT Department needs and has defrayed that cost over their entire client base. You must pay for all those tools just for your own company.

Unlike an internal IT person, your MSP’s team is on your account 24/7/365 – even if somebody wants to work on Christmas or New Year’s Day. No vacations, no sick days, no family emergencies.

Compare the costs:

The average per-user cost for the entire gamut of MSP benefits runs about $100 per user per month.

15 users x $100 = $1500/mo. / $18,000 per year
60 users x $100 = $6,000/mo. /$72,000 per year

Compare the annual 60-user cost of $72,000 for an MSP to the annual cost of employing a fully qualified internal IT manager:
Salary:                   $75,000
+             Benefits:              $21,726
Total:                     $93,726

Aside from the hardware/software setup and maintenance costs (depending on the situation and number of end-users, figure on average between $10,000 to $30,000 dollars for the initial setup and ongoing licensing and subscription costs), and you are paying over $100,000 dollars for ONE person who works 9-5 Monday Through Friday only.

With an MSP, you get a fixed budget for a team that will ALWAYS be on the job – and will know more and be much faster than your internal IT person. The MSP will never take sick, personal, and vacation days off, you will never have EDD unemployment claims, no HR difficulties. In effect, you are John Connor protected by The Terminator of IT: It will always be there for you and will never, ever stop.

Think of it this way: If you want a donut, you don’t need to buy a bakery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is included in managed IT services?

A:  On this website, we have published much on the issue of managed services vs other IT offerings. For a full rundown, please visit our page on this subject HERE.

Q: How do I choose a managed IT service provider?

A: Please review our page on the matter HERE.

Q: What do managed IT services cost?

A:  Typically, it is a per-user price. According to Gartner, the price range is between $100 to $250 per user per month. If you poll reputable MSPs in the IT Support Los Angeles community, it will be rare to find one that charges more than $175 per user. The $250 figure must be from a place where there is no competition.

Q: Do IT inhouse or outsource IT?

A: The surveys and statistics quoted in this article make it quite clear that you get better service by outsourcing – but to a reputable MSP – not just anyone who hangs out an ‘IT sign’. You get much more, much faster, and for much less money.

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