Vulnerable hardware, unreliable infrastructure, or a strained in-house IT team can spell disaster for any company. As technology increasingly weaves its way into the fabric of business operations, the pressure to maintain a robust and secure IT framework has never been higher.
The solution could lie outside your office walls. Outsourced IT services offer a lifeline to companies looking to remain competitive without breaking the bank.
But are they the right fit for your organization? We’ll dig into everything that will help you decide as we explore the ins and outs of entrusting your tech needs to external specialists.
What Are Outsourced IT Services?
Outsourced IT is when external service providers take on the responsibility of managing a company’s technology requirements. These can range from handling day-to-day IT tasks, such as help desk operations and network management, to more strategic initiatives like:
- Cybersecurity defense
- Data analytics
- Cloud services
- IT consultancy
By contracting out these services, you can access a pool of experienced and specialized professionals who can offer up-to-date solutions that might be out of reach internally due to cost or skill constraints.
An arrangement with an IT outsourcing partner can be a comprehensive package handling the entirety of the organization’s IT needs or a selective approach targeting specific areas. Outsourcing aims to enhance efficiency, minimize downtime, and fortify security protocols, all while potentially reducing operational costs.
How Can Outsourcing Your IT Functions Benefit Your Company?
Outsourcing IT functions can benefit companies of all sizes, from start-ups to established enterprises. Here are some of the key advantages that you stand to gain:
Probably the most compelling benefit is that outsourcing can significantly reduce operational expenses related to salaries, training, and infrastructure. For example, a full-stack developer based in Latin America (LatAm) has an average salary of $54k, whereas a US-based equivalent averages $161.5k.
Those cost savings can be reinvested in other ways, such as driving growth or refining product design.
Access to expertise
Specialized IT outsourcing firms bring a wealth of knowledge and up-to-date skill sets. By partnering with one of these external providers, your company can gain access to a broad spectrum of IT professionals and industry-specific expertise that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive to develop in-house.
In an era where cyberthreats are rampant and the average cost of a data breach has reached $4.45 million, outsourced IT providers offer advanced security protocols and dedicated monitoring services. This ensures comprehensive defense mechanisms against cyber incidents, keeping data and systems secure.
As your business needs change, an outsourcing partner can quickly adapt its support levels and services, making it easier to scale operations up or down without the challenges of hiring or training new staff.
Focus on core business
Outsourcing your IT allows you to concentrate on your primary business objectives and organizational growth strategies by relieving your internal team from the time-consuming tasks of IT management and troubleshooting.
Examples of IT Functions You Can Outsource
A broad range of IT services can be outsourced. Here are some of the most common:
Help desk support
Outsourcing help desk services ensures that your employees and clients receive professional technical support without the need for extensive in-house resources. This support can range from basic troubleshooting to advanced issue resolution, helping maintain productivity and user satisfaction.
With the increasing sophistication of cyberthreats, it’s vital to implement robust security measures. Outsourcing cybersecurity can give you access to specialized expertise. Providers can implement and maintain security protocols, perform regular audits, and conduct proactive threat hunting to safeguard your data and infrastructure.
Managing (or migrating to) cloud-based infrastructure requires specific knowledge. Outsourcing cloud services allows businesses to benefit from seamless scaling, cloud application management, and optimization without having to delve into the intricacies of cloud operations and maintenance.
Establishing and maintaining a reliable network infrastructure is crucial for any business operation. Outsourced network management can ensure high availability, performance monitoring, and quick resolution of any network issues, helping avoid potential downtime.
Data backup and disaster recovery
Data is often one of a business’ most valuable assets. Outsourcing data backup and disaster recovery planning means entrusting this critical function to experts who can minimize data loss and swiftly restore operations in case of a breach, failure, or disaster.
Things To Consider When Outsourcing Your IT Functions
Outsourcing IT functions is a significant decision that demands careful consideration. Here are some critical factors to evaluate when determining your outsourcing strategy:
Provider expertise and reliability
When outsourcing IT functions, the expertise of your provider is paramount. Assess its certifications, industry authority, and customer success stories. Reliability isn’t just about the provider’s ability to perform specific tasks but also about its financial stability and operational longevity—can it be a partner for the long haul?
Evaluate its incident response history and policy for dealing with IT emergencies. A provider with a robust infrastructure and a proven track record will offer peace of mind.
A detailed service-level agreement (SLA) guarantees quality and recourse if things don’t go as planned. The SLA you agree on with your IT provider should outline:
- Performance metrics
- Downtime protocols
- Support availability
The SLA must align with your business’ operational hours and service requirements. Remember, SLAs are negotiable, so don’t hesitate to discuss and tailor them to fit your company’s needs.
Data security and compliance
IT providers should understand the importance of data security and must actively demonstrate compliance with industry standards and regulations. Inquire about their security frameworks, compliance certifications, and regular audit practices.
Review their protocols for data encryption, breach notification, and identity management. Given the global reach of data regulations, any provider you consider should be prepared to comply with relevant legislation across different jurisdictions.
Cultural fit, language, and time zones
Effective communication and alignment with your company’s working style are fundamental for successful outsourcing. This includes language proficiency, responsiveness during business hours, and a shared understanding of business ethics.
Consideration of time zones is also crucial. While partnering with a provider in a different time zone could offer apparent cost savings, it can also lead to potential communication delays or scheduling challenges.
Nearshoring from Mexico, for instance, can limit cultural and time zone differences, enabling more effective collaboration.
Scalability and flexibility
Your business needs will evolve, so it’s vital that your IT provider can adapt accordingly. Assess the provider’s flexibility in adopting new technologies or processes and its capacity to scale services up or down.
This includes technical capabilities as well as contractual flexibility—can you modify the scope of services easily? An outsourcing partner should accommodate your growth, offering services that can expand and contract with the ebb and flow of your business operations.
Where Can You Find IT Solutions Providers To Outsource To?
There are several ways to secure outsourced IT. Here’s a look at five effective methods:
IT recruitment agencies
Agencies like Near specialize in matching companies with IT professionals. Unlike general staffing agencies, these agencies have a solid understanding of companies’ technical requirements and can screen candidates more thoroughly for IT expertise.
Recruitment agencies typically have a pre-vetted pool of candidates for IT roles like:
- DevOps roles
- Front-end engineers
- Product managers
- UX/UI designers
Instead of only trying to find and expand your team with candidates from your immediate area, agencies can also connect you with skilled remote talent. For example, with Near, you can hire and onboard IT professionals based in LatAm to integrate with and support your in-house team.
Managed services providers (MSPs)
Some firms specialize exclusively in outsourced IT and managed services. These companies serve as an extension of your IT department or, in some cases, replace it entirely.
They often offer a broad spectrum of services, from end-to-end management of specific IT functions to comprehensive coverage of all your IT needs. Many providers work on a subscription model or offer software as a service (SaaS) for tasks like help desk support or cloud hosting.
Partnering with these specialized firms can ensure a more tailored approach to your IT outsourcing requirements, as they have a deep understanding of managed services and can offer scalable solutions that are often hard to achieve in-house.
Professional networks and referrals
Tapping into your professional network can be an excellent way to find IT solutions. Ask peers, business associates, or advisors for referrals. They can provide firsthand insights into their experiences with IT outsourcing firms and might connect you with highly recommended providers.
Online marketplaces and platforms
Platforms like Upwork, Toptal, or Clutch.co can be valuable resources for finding IT outsourcing providers. These online marketplaces list agencies and freelancers with various expertise, client reviews, and ratings.
They enable you to sift through a large pool of potential candidates to pinpoint those who meet your technical requirements and budget.
4 Tips for Choosing an IT Solutions Provider
Choosing an IT solutions provider can be complicated, with so many different avenues to pursue. Here are four tips to remember when searching for and negotiating with an outsourcing partner.
1. Evaluate its communication and problem-solving processes
Determine how potential providers communicate with their clients and resolve problems. You want a partner who not only responds promptly but also communicates effectively and proactively.
Ask questions like:
- Do you have an established process for regular check-ins and updates?
- How do you handle escalation and emergencies?
- Could you walk me through a recent example of how you solved a client’s significant IT challenge?
Consider setting up a mock scenario, or pose a case study during the vetting process to evaluate the provider’s approach to problem-solving. Its ability to anticipate issues and communicate effectively is as critical as its technical prowess.
2. Assess its technological alignment and roadmap
Verify if the provider’s technology stack and infrastructure align with your current environment and future business goals. Is it invested in the same technologies that your business depends on or plans to adopt?
Beyond its existing capabilities, explore its technological roadmap. Established IT solutions providers should have a clear vision of technological trends and how they plan to integrate them into their services. This foresight is crucial for ensuring the partnership supports your long-term strategic objectives.
3. Analyze its cultural adaptability and client education approach
Choose a provider that demonstrates cultural adaptability and a willingness to integrate with your company’s ethos and working style.
This extends to its attitude toward client education—will it take the time to explain its processes and empower your team with knowledge? A valuable provider sees itself as a partner in your success, not just a service vendor.
It should be eager to understand your business challenges and contribute to creating a collaborative environment where both parties learn and grow.
4. Scrutinize its innovation and improvement practices
Outsourced IT services should not only maintain your current systems but also bring innovative solutions to the table. Inquire about their research and development, how often they upgrade their technologies, and their approach to adopting new industry practices.
A provider that invests in continuous improvement and stays ahead of IT trends can offer competitive advantages to your operations. Additionally, consider if it has a culture that encourages innovation within its team—a sign of this would be a track record of bespoke solutions it’s developed for challenges similar to yours.
An IT partner committed to innovation will help ensure that you aren’t just keeping up with the pace of technological change but are positioned to lead in your industry.
Outsourced IT is more than just a simple cost calculation. It’s about forging a partnership that aligns strategically with your business’ vision and brings a wealth of knowledge and innovation to the table.
If you’re ready to work with an affordable, efficient, and experienced partner, just fill out a short form to unlock access to profiles of over 35,000 pre-vetted candidates. Your perfect IT solutions provider is just a click away.