Outsourced IT support: What is it and do you need it?

With more businesses transitioning services to the cloud, equipping remote workers and undertaking digital transformation, the reasons behind the growth in IT outsourcing services are obvious. As IT, estates grow and become more complex; organisations are discovering that in-house IT support – if they have any – is not enough. They are turning to suppliers to fill the gaps.

IT outsourcing is a broad term, but within it, IT support is an increasingly popular standalone service. In short, an IT support service ensures your business systems are secure, optimised to your needs and fully functional. It might also offer an IT consultancy service, helping you plan and implement a proactive IT roadmap. If you have in-house IT staff, it frees them up for more creative and profitable tasks.

How much IT support do you need? If you are a smaller business with no in-house IT resource or a small, stretched team, you almost certainly do. However, even larger businesses with sizable IT teams might need outsourced IT support during peak periods or when transitioning to new platforms or systems.

In this guide, we will look at three different business sizes, what outsourced IT support might mean for each and in what circumstances they might need it.

Smaller businesses

In one sense, smaller businesses with less than 20 employees have the smallest need for IT support because they have the smallest IT estates. At the same time, however, these businesses are least likely to have in-house IT teams, and many will have no dedicated in-house IT support at all.

In some small businesses, the owner or CEO might handle IT support, but this is unlikely to be sufficient unless they happen to be an IT expert. In other cases, a small business will employ an IT manager and leave the smooth running of the IT estate entirely in their hands.

This might work in the short-term, but as businesses grow, start digital transformation journeys or invest in technology to equip a remote workforce; this very limited IT support becomes stretched to breaking point.

To get a measure of that, think of what an IT support service has to do. It needs to monitor your expanding IT estate and make sure every element is patched, updated and fully functional. It needs to take responsibility for cybersecurity, which can be a full-time job in itself. It needs to advise business leaders on new technology that can make the organisation more productive, efficient and ultimately profitable. It needs to offer a service desk service, fighting fires promptly as soon as they ignite.

We could go on, but you get the point. Even many small businesses have complex IT support needs, and they rely on digital services more than ever. Those with inadequate in-house support – or none at all – need to investigate outsourced IT support sooner rather than later.

What can outsourced IT support do for your business?

Outsourced IT support should be able to offer a comprehensive service that essentially replicates the responsibilities of an in-house IT team, and all for an affordable monthly fee. If you have an IT professional on your team, an outsourced service should free up their time for more creative tasks.

At Cloud and More we call our comprehensive support service More for You, and it covers everything a business needs in terms of IT support, including:

  • 24/7/365 availability
  • Unlimited helpdesk support
  • Unlimited on-site reactive visits
  • Proactive monitoring of servers and devices
  • Proactive consultancy
  • Our backup promise
  • IT roadmap
  • Account management

It’s a service designed for your peace of mind. Go and worry about all the other things a business owner has to worry about. In terms of your IT infrastructure, we have your back.

Small to medium sized businesses

As SMEs grow, they tend to invest in – and rely on – an ever-expanding technology stack. VoIP and video conferencing are commonplace. Team members communicate and collaborate with Teams or another Unified Communications platform. Back office operations are digitised and hosted in the cloud. Your website, digital marketing and, in some cases, e-commerce offer become increasingly important to your success.

Because of the importance of technology to the future of the business, many growing SMEs also invest in some in-house IT expertise. This often takes the form of one IT professional, but it might also be a small team.

That is great, but it does not mean you could not also benefit from some level of outsourced IT support. Your internal team can carry out many of the tasks associated with a fully protected, operational IT estate, but often, they cannot carry out them all. Small IT teams quickly become swamped by the demands of growing businesses.

In addition, while it is true that in-house professionals will know a lot, they are unlikely to have in-depth knowledge in every area. Cybersecurity is one example of an area that often requires more detailed, specialist expertise.

What can outsourced IT support do for your small to medium sized business?

In other words, your IT team probably needs help. With our More Together service, we will not do everything, but we will do the kinds of things that free up your IT team for more time-sensitive and customer-focused projects. More Together provides:

  • 24/7/365 support
  • On-site reactive visits
  • Proactive monitoring of servers and devices
  • Proactive consultancy
  • IT strategy sessions
  • Account management

It is not a prescriptive service, though. A dedicated account manager will make sure we do whatever it takes to help your IT team out. If they just need to talk through an issue or get an informed opinion on a new piece of kit, we are only ever a call or email away. With More Together we are not your entire IT support service, but we are a comprehensive resource you can call on whenever you need to.

Larger businesses

As businesses reach medium size and above, they tend to invest in an in-house IT team. That is perfectly sensible. By this point IT has become central to business success. CEOs derive considerable peace of mind from knowing that in-house specialists are looking after their networks, devices and data.

Nevertheless, many larger businesses also rely on outsourced IT support, at least some of the time. An outsourced service is an invaluable stopgap during the recruitment process, for example. It can also be crucial during periods of peak demand.

What might ‘peak demand’ mean in an IT setting? The fact is in-house IT teams are tasked with all sorts of things that take them away from the day-to-day support of your IT stack. When you are transitioning services to the cloud, or implementing a new digital communications platform, or on boarding new team members, IT may not have time for the routine monitoring and maintenance of networks and services.

What can outsourced IT support do for your larger business?

That is where outsourced IT can take the strain, if only temporarily. Good IT staff are hard to come by, and even more so if you just need them for the duration of a project or a period of expansion. However, a 3rd party provider like Cloud and More is always on standby.

Our third support service is called More People, and it is designed for businesses that need a period of intense, on-site support. In practice, that means one (or more) of our expert team will work with you, in-house, for as long as it takes. This might be necessary if:

  • You are installing a complex new system
  • You are moving from an on premise solution to a cloud service
  • You are expanding quickly and need new staff up and running asap
  • You are moving office or opening a second location
  • You are experiencing a seasonal peak in business and need someone in house to make sure your systems are robust

Our expert can work as your in-house IT lead during this time, or report to your IT manager. However, most importantly, we can bring our expertise to bear in a focused way, helping you over a hump in the road.

Which IT support model do you need?

Outsourced IT support is a growing sector because it is a crucial one. In our wide experience, few small and medium sized companies have the in-house IT resources they need to keep vital systems and services secure and working at the most optimum level. As we have seen in this guide, many small companies do not have any in-house IT support at all.

That is a concern, because businesses rely on technology more than ever. When IT drops out, so does your ability to conduct business.

Happily, the solution is readily available. Good outsourced IT support can be the IT team you do not have, but it can also be flexible to meet different needs. Businesses with in-house IT teams often need outsourced support in a particular area, or during a particularly busy time. A good service will mould itself to your requirements.

At Cloud and More, our service is always bespoke. Whatever your requirement for outsourced support, we are here to provide it. For more information on Cloud and More’s IT support services, please click here.

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