The Hybrid approach to outsourcing your ICT

The amount of help that a small or medium business or not for profit organisation can receive with the introduction of a managed service provider (MSP) into the organisation can be significant.  The problem is that you have to find the right one for your business.

There are the neigh Sayers who insist that an MSP is an expensive indulgence that does not have the return on investment required for an SME.   There are also the others who trumpet the achievements within the business that can be accredited to the use of an MSP.

What happens if you only want an MSP for the following scenarios?

You have an IT team but they are doing the fire fighting.

Your normal IT team spend most of their working days doing the normal everyday things that need to be done.   This takes 4 – 6 hours a day, checking logs, fielding user and device problems and supporting the business team so that it can do what is needed.

This takes them away from the important component of innovation and creating easier, better and more cost effective ways for them to support the business.   An MSP can be used to design and implement these cost effective innovations and bring your IT team up to the level where they have more time to do the innovation internally.   Most MSP’s are more than happy to come in and help with this scenario.

You have a single IT person but there are other expertise required for a project.

In small businesses and organisations staff members and management are jacks of all trades and experts of some.   Your finance person might also be accounts in and out, and the part time IT support person and he is now faced with the end of financial year reports and work.

This is another area where an MSP can help your business by taking that load away from the overworked staff member and replacing them for a set period of time with an outsourced help desk and IT support team.

In addition to this there are times when the expertise for a project is missing.   The project can be outsourced and then when complete can be transferred to the normal IT person.    This is a great way for knowledge transfer to occur and a way to increase the understanding of the onsite IT team.

You have lost your IT person and need someone for the transitionAn MSP can be employed when you have had a resignation of the IT person.   They can be introduced before the incumbent leaves, to get up to speed and then once a replacement comes in they can also transfer the inherent knowledge back to the new IT person.   They can also be used as a stop gap measure while the new person gets up to speed.

Your IT people do not have the expertise or training required to implement There are times when management and IT do not see or pull in the same direction.   This can be a major problem when the IT team are protecting their jobs and think that a technology will put them out of their role or moving them to something new and different that they are scared of.

It was believed that cloud technologies was going to have significant change to the IT teams role in a business.   From the data that has been available for the last 12 to 18 moths this has not happened.   In some cases the implementation of cloud services has decreased the capital expense and increased the support component of a business thus ensuring that IT are still as important to a business as they use to be.

Using tools to create a better business environment.Innovation comes in many forms within a business.   Implementing and utilising the right tools to support your business will free up valuable staff assets and make the business more resilient.   These tools come in many forms and types from managing VM ware sprawl to tracking unauthorised mobile apps to understanding what the network is doing and finding bottlenecks within the network.

All of the tools need to be understood prior to implementation and management need to understand what will be delivered to the bottom line.   It is no use using a tool if what is being delivered to the business is not understood.   This once again is where an MSP can be utilised to help bring the required understanding to the business, as well as implement and train you It staff so that they then have the chance to get back to what they do best.

So there you have it a Managed Service Provider does not have to be the complete package.   You can use an MSP to manage the IT within your business in a number of ways, from full utilisation to just helping out when you need it.

Roger Smith, is an educator. Teaching students at ADFA (UNSW) and showing them how vulnerable they are to cybercrime.

He is also CEO at R & I ICT Consulting Services Pty Ltd, an Amazon #1 author on Cybercrime and founder of the SME Security Framework. He is a Consultant who specialises in inexpensive and highly effective security strategies for small and medium businesses and not for profit organisations.

He has developed and authored the SME Security Framework and the Security Policy Training Course which are considered to be the definitive guides to helping SME's protect their organisation using the principles of Technology, Management, Adaptability and Compliance.

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