Is Outsourcing IT Support Safe for Businesses?
Information Technology support is an integral part of every company out there. It is usually the backbone of any company that uses the internet to provide a product or service to a group of people.
As small businesses expand, there is a need to fill up spaces required to keep their business going; additional roles open up, and more highly skilled staff are vital to ensure continuity. A potent internal IT unit is enough to cater to the IT support needs of a company, but not every small business has the resources to set up and sustain it. Outsourcing IT support is an alternative to building a unit of skilled operatives.
In this article, we will consider IT Support outsourcing and the security implications for businesses, if any.
What Is Outsourcing in IT?
Outsourcing is the process of employing a third-party company or organization to take care of specific needs or functions of your business.
IT outsourcing simply means taking certain IT operations out of your business to be taken care of by another company with the resources required to perform such functions without any significant issues. For example, a company can outsource a call center because they currently don’t have the resources or cannot afford to buy and maintain call center equipment.
Also, small businesses regularly outsource IT services like help desk, IT support, data center, data storage, backup, and network monitoring. It can apply to any IT duty or role; some companies can outsource a whole IT department.
There are different types of IT outsourcing, and they include the following:
1. Offshore Outsourcing: The process of employing a company’s services outside your country of operation.
2. Nearshore Outsourcing: This involves using an external service provider that’s close by or shares a border with the country your business operates.
3. Onshore Outsourcing: This involves using another company’s services in the same country your business operates.
4. On-demand Outsourcing: This is a type of outsourcing based on what is required at the moment.
5. Managed Services: This involves another company fully managing certain or all functions of your IT services.
Is It Safe to Outsource IT Support Services?
Outsourcing IT support services might be necessary depending on the situation; therefore, it makes sense to understand how safe it is. Also, trusting an outsider with ensuring that these services run smoothly can come with some risks. Knowing these risks and how to mitigate them in the case they happen should be your priority.
The safety of outsourcing technical support mostly depends on the company involved. Furthermore, Well-known outsourcing companies are better off and safer to use than their unknown counterparts because they are usually more reputable and under scrutiny. It is better to understand the policies and contracts these companies offer before selecting.
Ensure whichever outsourcing company you choose has the same security or regulatory standards your business requires to maintain service. You should also ensure the outsourcing company you choose has the necessary technical expertise and resources. Otherwise, you put your company at the risk of poor technical support, resulting in the loss of customers.
In most cases, there is little or no trouble with the safety of outsourcing IT support services, but to ensure this is the case, you have to work hand in hand with the company managing your technical support services.
Benefits of Outsourcing IT Support
There are lots of benefits that come with outsourcing IT support services, and they include the following:
1. Reduced Labor Cost
In building an IT support team for your company, you have to think about the cost. The cost of personnel alone might leave a dent in your budget. In most cases, you still have to invest heavily in personnel training, software licenses, and other supplementary costs to ensure you deliver the best service. Outsourcing, on the other hand, will allow you to bring in qualified professionals without additional charges. Enabling you to channel your focus and resources on other areas of your growing business.
2. Reduced Infrastructure Cost
In-house IT support teams will need the required infrastructure to support operations. Infrastructure equipment like servers, routers, switches, data storage devices, and other items can be quite costly. Maintaining and repairing them will add to your expenses. Even more, outsourcing takes the burden of getting them off you and allows you to pay only for resources you use, enabling you to save on costs.
Outsourcing technical support allows you to be flexible in scaling your operations. At peak periods, your business can quickly scale up to meet up with the demand of requests thrown at you. When there are little or no requests, you can also scale down to avoid unnecessary costs. You cannot do this with an in-house team; you will have to employ more people, which takes time and money.
4. Focus on Business
Building an IT support team can take your time, resources, and focus away from core business objectives. Outsourcing IT support services allows your business to focus on other areas like strategy, innovation, and marketing. It also permits you to focus on the primary purpose of the company and deliver better service, giving you an edge over your competitors.
In most cases, internal IT support units cannot always be available; they are susceptible to interruptions. Most outsourcing companies offer committed teams with 24/7 support, even on holidays. They will provide your business with a steady stream of service and assured uptime.
6. Experience and Skill
Outsourcing companies usually have access to a pool of IT personnel with a vast amount of experience and skill. By employing their services, you allow your business also to have access to them. Any issues that you think an internal IT team cannot solve in time will be taken care of by experienced IT professionals.
7. Reduced Risk
Outsourcing IT support services can reduce the risks that come with running an internal IT support unit. Most service providers have years of experience dealing with technical support issues and will continue to carry the responsibility of reducing risks that come with it. Besides ensuring their infrastructure and services are top-notch, they also must ensure they comply with security and compliance standards.
Disadvantages of Outsourcing IT Support
As there are advantages of outsourcing technical support services, there are also disadvantages. They include the following:
1. Little or No Control Over Quality of Service
Outsourcing technical support to a third-party company means your business may have little or no control over the quality of service given. It is imperative that your technical support team fully understands the product or service your company provides. Building an IT support team can offer you the advantage of getting them exposed to the product or service provided and understanding it. On the other hand, outsourcing can leave you with no assurance that personnel on the ground fully understand the product or service to serve customers better. With an internal IT support team, you can also monitor the support process and make changes as you please, but that is not the case when you outsource. You’re just going to have to trust that your IT support service is in good hands.
2. Less Direct Reach With Customers
Outsourcing IT support can mean that any connection or contact with your customers will have to go through an intermediary, the company you select to handle technical support. It is preferable for any business that depends on communication with its customers to provide better service to have an internal IT support team. When feedback comes, it goes directly to the team, and they can implement any change required fast. On the other hand, outsourcing can reduce your response time because feedback can take some time to get to you, and some vital message might be lost in the process.
3. Language Barriers
Offshore outsourcing can sometimes prove a headache with customers having issues with technical support staff’s accents. Customer satisfaction problems can arise if a customer has difficulty understanding IT support personnel. You must identify and deal with this problem if you want to keep outsourcing.
4. Unexpected Costs
A significant advantage of outsourcing technical support services is reducing the cost of having a support team, but your business can also acquire hidden and unnecessary charges. It is crucial that as a business owner or manager, you read the terms of every contract with the outsourcing company. Hire a contract lawyer’s services if you feel you do not have the expertise required to understand the agreement. It will save you from any embarrassment in the future.
Your IT Support team can make or mar the success of your business. It is one of those things you just have to get right, or you put your company at the risk of drowning. Outsourcing IT support is a practice that is generally encouraged if your business does not have the necessary resources to build an in-house IT support unit. There are several advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing IT support; it is entirely up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.