Network Support: In-House or Outsource?
The following scenario is all too common: a company starts out with a handful of workstations and one modest server, only to find itself a few years down the road with a sprawl of desktops, remote PCs, thin clients, application servers, file servers, web servers, print servers, hubs, routers, switches, NAS devices, wi-fi hotspots and a plethora of other networking equipment that looks nothing like the original basic setup. While company growth is generally considered a good thing, growing a company’s network can be harmful to business success if done improperly. Networks that are properly “engineered” instead of haphazardly “evolved” are preferred for sustainable growth, especially when the growth exceeds that which on-hand networking staff can reasonably support at any given time.
Although there is no clearly defined point when it should occur, at some point or another owners of small to mid-sized businesses eventually come to the conclusion that their networking strategy needs to be reevaluated. Although the time when this occurs may not be exact, signs that indicate the need for this include the following:
- noticeable increase in network support tickets
- significant decrease in network performance
- visible indicators of networking equipment failure
- obvious networking software failures
When one or more of the above start to occur, it is most likely time to start thinking about defining or redefining a clear, concise network support strategy. One of the most essential questions to answer at this time is whether network support should be conducted in-house or performed by an outside company. Although initial instincts may encourage business owners and IT management staff to go the in-house route, this can be a perilous move for small to mid-sized firms that are not prepared to handle such responsibilities internally.
Just as most small to mid-sized firms don’t take on the responsibility of milling their own printer paper or manufacturing their own staples, the decision to handle one’s own network support affairs often centers around whether it is efficient to go the “DIY” route. Many successful companies choose to focus on their core competencies rather than handle every logistical matter themselves. This focus is what often leads to success in their own particular industry, as outsourcing network support affords them more time to specialize on whatever products and services they offer in order to succeed and become profitable. When cash flow is diverted to staff who focus on fixing network printers and troubleshooting Internet outages, that is money that cannot be used to improve one’s primary focus on income-generating activities.
Another benefit to using an outside vendor for network support is in-line with the idea of preserving cash flow for profitable activities, namely the ability to reduce operational costs. Outside firms providing network support are experts in what they do, thus being able to perform their duties faster, better and cheaper than in-house staff lacking the skills and experience in specific networking support duties.
Consider our previous discussion in the article titled “Network Security – The Cold Hard Facts” which explained the various duties and expertise in network design, protocols, device configuration and more required to maintain a secure network. Another article titled “The Top 3 Issues Affecting Today’s Large Computer Networks” details the various issues experts must tackle on a daily basis in order to maintain an effective network. These topics are full-time affairs requiring every care and attention to detail a full-time professional would put into his or her own line of work. Allowing one’s staff to handle these issues “on the side” or as a secondary thought to be addressed after business hours would be detrimental to productivity. Saving these tasks for outsourced networking professionals allows a company’s staff to focus time and energy on what they do best.
Outsourcing your network support may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Leave it to IT Direct to help you get started with a network support outsourcing solution that’s right for your business. IT Direct is the leading authority in Connecticut for computer networking and consulting solutions of any scale. Contact us today to get started.