Technical Support Options for Small Business – Part Two

Even a small network needs ongoing maintenance from a highly-trained technician in order to combat against new threats from viruses, spam, spyware, sluggishness, user errors and data loss. But not every business can afford to hire a full-time IT manager.

If this is the case for your business, you’re left with three options:

• Do nothing
• Do it yourself
• Outsource to a technical team

Today, in the second part of a three part series where we investigate IT options for small to medium-sized companies without full time IT managers, we’d like to talk about the dangers of the “do it yourself” option for IT Management.

Why not manage your IT with your own internal resources?  This option is definitely better than doing nothing, but it still leaves you at risk for network disasters. Here’s how it usually goes: Instead of hiring a qualified technician to support your network, you designate the most technically-savvy person on staff to be your makeshift IT manager. You figure that when things go wrong – and they almost certainly will – you’ll bring in outside help to solve the problem.

The problem is that you’re pulling this person away from the real job you hired them to do. If you’re having them split their time between responsibilities, they simply won’t have the  time to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in IT support, security, and management. And if they weren’t trained in information systems, their efforts could actually make things worse. The inevitable result is a poorly maintained, unstable network with excessive downtime and expensive IT and recovery costs.

Another variation of this is to get your neighbour’s kid, or a friend to provide computer support on a part-time basis.

This is a mistake because that person may not be fully qualified to handle the job. In most cases, they are able to fix the problem in the short term, but they might not have the time or expertise to get to the root of the problem.

This option is another form of reactive support. Yes, you have someone in charge of IT, but that person only gets involved when there is a problem. If your part-time technician is not performing regular maintenance and monitoring of your network, you’re open to issues that can end up being very costly.