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  • Writer's pictureFlagler Technologies

Managed Service Providers vs. In-House IT

Updated: May 7




Unless your business is tech-oriented, you may not be familiar with your IT needs. And that’s fine. Information technology is a specialized area, and effective managers hire IT professionals to ensure that their communications, data transfer and storage, and day-to-day operations run smoothly. 


Naturally, the C-suite still needs to make some upper-level decisions about IT management. For example, does it make more sense for the business to hire in-house IT professionals, contract a managed service provider, or develop a hybrid solution where in-house staff works with an MSP?


This article will explore the pros and cons of each approach with the aim of helping business owners and managers make an informed decision about how they manage their IT needs. If you have additional questions about IT or Managed Service Provider solutions, contact Flager Technologies today. 


Introduction to IT Management Options

Let’s first take a look at how each system works. 


In-House IT

Many businesses of all sizes use this model. An in-house IT department can involve any level of employment, from a single part-time employee to several teams that work around the clock and have varying specialties. Many large, successful companies maintain in-house IT staff in the same way that they have an in-house legal team. 


Advantages

  • The company maintains full control over the IT department. 

  • The IT department staff should be familiar with the company's objectives, operations, and software. 

  • The IT staff can use their insider knowledge to develop protocols, policies, and processes for the company. 


Disadvantages

  • The company must bear the cost of salary, benefits, training, and certification of IT employees.

  • If the company needs a specialist for a specific IT area (i.e. cloud management, IT security, etc.), it will have to either certify existing employees, hire additional specialists, or outsource a portion of their IT needs. 

  • If the company requires 24-7 IT support, they will have to hire various shifts or have staff on call. 

  • Scaling up or down is a common problem for companies with in-house staff. 


Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

These are IT professionals who sell company IT services, often a la carte. An MSP may be hired instead of an in-house staff or to work with an existing staff. Many smaller companies prefer using MSPs because it’s often more cost-effective than hiring staffers. However, large-scale enterprises also often employ MSPs for various reasons.


Advantages 

  • MSPs update the training and certifications of their staff.

  • Using an MSP enables companies to rapidly scale.

  • MSPs offer round-the-clock support.

  • MSPs can designate specific IT professionals to the company, so the specialist can learn the nuances of the operations, company mission, etc. 

  • They are usually cost-effective since the MSP can tailor a solution that only applies the necessary resources. 

  • Managers and HR departments unfamiliar with IT staffing can avoid the pitfalls of bad hires. 


Disadvantages

  • Some companies prefer the control of having an in-house staff. 

  • Clients have less of a say in the hiring of staff members. 

  • Some MSPs don’t offer all of the services that the client requires. 


Hybrid IT Operations

While some companies prefer to have an in-house IT department, most companies will contract with an MSP at some point during their lifespan, either to augment their operations, to take advantage of a specialty that its in-house staff doesn’t have, or to help implement a system that they’re unfamiliar with. 


Comparing Costs: MSPs vs. In-House IT

Every business is different, so the costs of employing an IT staff or contracting an MSP are not consistent. However, there are common costs associated with each approach. Let’s break down the expenses associated with each option. 


In-House IT Costs

The following is a list of costs commonly associated with in-house IT personnel:

  • Salary and benefits

  • Equipment

  • Workspace allocation

  • Diagnostic software and tools

  • Additional training and recertification

  • Vetting and hiring staff members


In addition to the above-itemized costs, companies may be in a position where they have to overhire to meet the requirements of a future expansion. This means that they will have unused staff hours until the expansion comes to fruition. 


Managed Service Provider

Cost is a huge advantage for MSPs. Businesses will pay a contract rate based on their requirements. The MSP pays for the employee's salary and benefits from their fees. In most cases, the MSP supplies the equipment and diagnostic tools and finances their training updates. 


When a company scales up or down, the MSP’s fees may increase or decrease accordingly. 


Security: A Comparative Analysis

In recent years, there has been enhanced demand for Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). The cyber-security landscape moves at a frenetic pace, and in-house IT departments have difficulty keeping up. An MSSP works with a company’s existing IT department to:


  • Analyze existing hardware and software to detect vulnerabilities. 

  • Run updates and find security patches to address weaknesses in the system. 

  • Help to establish secure practices and procedures. 

  • Monitor security protocols to ensure employees are adhering to them. 

  • Perform penetration testing to identify weaknesses. 

  • Secure data from natural disasters and cyberattacks.


IT security requires constant training and updated certifications, which is why many businesses outsource it to an MSSP. Many MSPs package cybersecurity with their other services or offer it as a standalone service. 


Flagler's Managed Service Solutions

Flagler Technologies is a managed service and managed security service provider. Our skilled professionals can either work with your existing IT staff or work as a contracted IT department for your company. Flagler.io offers:


  • Comprehensive packages or individual services

  • 24-7 support for your staff and customers

  • Expert information technology and cybersecurity advice

  • Network and infrastructure management

  • Regulatory and compliance advice

  • Cloud management and secure storage

  • Contingency planning

  • Remote work infrastructure and security


Flagler Technologies will examine your business’s needs and develop a comprehensive plan. We are confident that our managed services will be cost-effective when compared to hiring in-house personnel. Before you contract with us, we are happy to show you a cost comparison and explain the services you’re considering. 


Making the Right Choice for Your Business

Before you start building out your IT staff and infrastructure, consider the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of hiring an experienced Managed Service Provider like Flagler Technologies. 


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