Do-It-Yourself IT: Is it really worth it?

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DIY ITIt is fairly common for small businesses, especially in their early years, to try to do everything including running and maintaining their IT infrastructure to save on time and costs. To a certain extent, this is justifiable especially if you are just setting up your business.

However, do-it-yourself (DIY) IT is only adequate when you have a very basic IT set-up, an internet connection, traditional telephony, basic security, and so on. When your business starts to grow and your IT becomes more complex DIY IT is no longer enough.

Let’s talk about the risks of DIY IT

As your business starts to become more and more dependent on computers, mobiles devices, cloud services, and other new technologies, you need experts to ensure all of these work seamlessly or you will be exposing your business to unwanted and unpleasant surprises such as:

* Network crashes – There are numerous reasons why a network will crash. It could be due to faulty or badly installed software, hardware conflict, full hard drives, RAM problems, DoS (denial of service) or DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks, BIOS problems, etc. Network outages may last for hours, even weeks! And, even those companies with well-protected systems may encounter this problem. The only difference, however, is that they have contingency plans and have technically skilled people to minimise the impact of a network crashing. Whilst those who are working on DIY IT may not be able to recover from a network outage.

* Server problems – So your business has grown fast, and you now have your first server. How sure are you that your current server meets your business needs? Choosing the best server solution(s) for your business should be left to the experts. Only they can translate your needs into server specifications like what type of server you need to process your data; what software your server should run; how much memory and disk space you require, and so on. Investing in a server without understanding how it should be configured is throwing away your money. It’s even more risky for companies who don’t bother to add a server to their growing computing environment and only rely on peer-to-peer networks. These companies miss the important benefits of a server or servers such as file and network security, increased reliability, centralised data storage and shared resources, virus management, and centralised backup.

* Security breaches – A DIY IT structure doesn’t stand a chance against malicious attacks. Hackers are now becoming more sophisticated, aggressive, and damaging. Don’t ever think that just because you’re small, you are immune from these attacks. Recent studies found that hackers are increasingly targeting small and vulnerable businesses. In fact, according to security experts at Symantec, “startups are incredibly vulnerable to cyber attacks in their first 18 months”. This doesn’t include attacks made by rogue employees who infiltrate systems to wreak havoc either for personal gain or personal enjoyment.

* Wrong tech investments – Unless you are, or you have hired technically skilled people, DIY IT often results in investments which do not fit your actual business needs. Most of the time, startup businesses pick technologies based solely on price and popularity. Remember that technology investments are not easily changed or disposed the moment you realise they’re not working for you. This is why every business, regardless of size, needs to have a strategic plan to guide them to make the right investments that will not only meet their needs but will also meet their long-term goals.

Benefits of seeking outsourced IT support and expertise

To keep your business running like a well-oiled machine, reduce risks and costs, and manage growth, it can make sense to look outside for the expertise you need. Managed IT service providers (MSPs) are third party partners who take care of all the aspects of your IT infrastructure. A MSP can make sure your current systems are maintained or review your systems and IT support for improvement. Outsourced IT services help you:

1. Control IT costs – With outsourcing, you generally pay a fixed monthly fee for support and maintenance giving you cost control. A good MSP will also help you plan and account for any necessary upcoming investments based on your business plans and growth, ensuring you are not hit with costly, urgent IT expenses.

2. Reduce labour costs – Hiring and training IT staff is time consuming and expensive. In comparison, outsourcing lets you use a team of experienced, qualified, trained and certified tech experts that is impossible for a single resource to match. All at a reasonable, affordable monthly fee.

3. Reduce risks – With the help of capable MSP partner, you can rest assured that you have the right processes in place to recover quickly in the event of a network crash or a security breach. Also, the risks that you face are considerably lower compared with those employing DIY IT because you are using business-grade technologies whilst your provider ensures you are secured at all times.

4. Increase productivity, efficiency and competitiveness – Trying to do everything yourself, using limited resources, can be time-consuming and distracting, delaying the growth of your business. Outsourced IT keeps your systems running smoothly, seamlessly and efficiently. Thereby, eliminating bottlenecks and delays which hinder productivity.

5. Implement new technology in no time – With the right MSP partner, you will be able to start new projects right away with the help of experienced IT staff. Handling the same project in-house might involve weeks or months to hire the right people, train them, and provide the support they need.

Outsourcing can help your business stay focused on your core business and not get distracted by complex IT decisions or problems. It also levels the playing field so you can compete with larger companies who are enjoying similar technologies and expertise.

If you want more information about our Managed IT services, contact us for a free consultation.