CYBER SECURITY | 5 MIN READ
Businesses looking to strengthen their cyber security efforts may wish to build an in-house IT team. While internal IT departments may seem like the perfect fit, some organizations may prefer to completely or partially outsource their IT to a managed service provider. Keep reading to learn about four reasons why your organization should re-think building an internal IT department.Not enough time? Jump to:
When you build an in-house IT department, the costs can quickly add up. You have to pay for the salary and benefits of every full-time employee, which becomes sizable if you're trying to build an entire team.
You also have to pay for all equipment that's essential for your team to effectively do their jobs. This means buying expensive workstations. Just one computer with enough processing power for an IT employee to do their job can cost close to $2,000.
For your IT department to effectively manage workflow and protect your network, you'll also need to buy or lease a variety of cyber security and management software.
Security software could include everything from antivirus to email filtering. Management software includes a ticketing system to handle requests for IT support.
Though having your IT department in-house would seem like issues would be solved quicker, sick leave and vacation time poses potential issues for productivity.
For instance, if your department is comprised of a few employees and one or two leave for vacation or sick leave at the same time, then less employees bear the brunt of more work.
Additionally, in-house staff are constantly bogged down by low-level complaints. Other employees can take advantage of the fact that they can walk down the hallway to solve issues, which means that they could visit the department every time they have a problem, no matter how small.
This can take in-house employees away from their main job − monitoring and protecting your network. Additionally, because in-house employees tend to work the normal 9-5 Monday-Friday hours, response times may be slower if an emergency happens outside of normal business hours.
On the other hand, with managed IT, you can sometimes pay for 24/7 service, which ensures that all emergencies, even those that occur outside business hours, are promptly responded to.
Planning and Management
Building an in-house IT department requires a high level of planning and management.
On top of having to budget for all the necessary equipment and salaries for new employees, you have to create space for them in your office, and then ensure that you're hiring sufficient staff so that once the department is running, your network runs smoothly.
Unless you are a Fortune500 company, when you build your own IT department, you will likely only hire a handful of employees. This means that the quality of your cyber security infrastructure is limited by the skills set of your internal department.
For instance, if you only hire two employees, one entry-level and one senior-level, both of them may not collectively have experience solving every type of IT issue. This could keep your network stagnant and at a disadvantage in the event of a major issue.
When you outsource your IT, an entire team of IT professionals with a range of different abilities and skills sets manages your network for you. This ensures that your team has enough collective knowledge to solve any network issue.
What to Look for in an IT Provider
Whether you decide to keep your IT in-house or outsource to a Managed Service Provider, consider the following points to ensure that no matter which form of IT you choose, your team is the best fit for your company's needs.
Disaster Recovery Planning
If your business experiences any sort of network outage, whether it stems from a bad storm or a ransomware attack, every minute that your company is offline could be costing you money.
The costs of downtime quickly add up, which means that in the event of a network outage, your MSP should be able to quickly remediate the problem and bring you back online.
To be proactive instead of reactive, your MSP should work with you from the beginning to establish a disaster recovery plan that includes points such as the chain of command in the event of a cyber attack or network crash.
Additionally, on and off-site data backup is another major point that needs to be addressed in a contingency plan. If your data is not effectively and regularly backed up, then in the event of a network outage, you may have to restore your network to an older backup.
In this scenario, you may lose all the data that's been created since the last backup. Would your company be okay with losing all your files and information from the past few days? How about the last few weeks?
Data should be backed up as often as possible to minimize the amount of data that you lose during a severe network outage.
While a ransomware attack or network crash can cause minimal data loss if data is backed up, it also ensures that network downtime is kept to a minimal, which reduces any downtime costs.
Quality Customer Support
If your company is experiencing any network problem, whether it's a cyber attack or just some simple usability issues, your MSP should resolve them in a timely manner.
Some managed service providers have packages that include 24/7 support, which sounds great in theory, but if you're left waiting hours just to get a call or email back then there's much left to be desired. Ask follow-up questions to see if your managed service provider has fast response times for support both inside and outside of normal business hours.
Additionally, make sure to ask if remote support is available. While having a technician physically visit your company's building can be useful in certain situations, many IT issues can be solved remotely.
Remote support also minimizes network downtime by fixing issues without you having to wait for a technician to drive to your office. When evaluating the level of customer service that an MSP offers, ask them if they have a Network Operations Center (NOC).
NOC's go beyond simple help desk support to employ a team of IT professionals to assist your business by phone, email, or in person. NOC's sometimes use tiered segmentation to properly elevate issues, with a higher tier corresponding to a more urgent issue.
Tiered help centers ensure that crisis situations are dealt with efficiently and swiftly. Though Network Operations Centers can cost more, they can resolve issues faster, which increases company productivity and reduces network downtime.
If your MSP uses a help desk instead of a NOC, make sure that it isn't run by a third party or overseas, as this can lead to language barriers or a lower quality of service.
Cyber Security Education Programs
While your MSP can ensure that your company has the newest hardware and software on the market, all it takes is one employee who is uneducated about cyber security threats to slip up and let a hacker into your network. This can happen in an instant and can compromise your entire network.
Thankfully, some MSP's offer cyber security training for employees, including mock phishing tests. These tests send fake phishing emails to employees, and send those who click the email's link to a cyber security training course.
Some MSP's can also work with you to develop a password policy for your company, which ensures that, once employees are trained on how to avoid cyber threats, they don't let hackers into your network through the usage of weak passwords.
While in-house IT can be the right solution for certain types of businesses, you shouldn't assume that it is the right fit for yours.
We hope that this article sparks a conversation within your organization about your needs in an IT team. Please subscribe to our blog to learn more about cyber security!
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Content Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their cyber security infrastructure.