Outsourced IT Support Services: Ultimate Guide with Pros & Cons, Use Cases, & Processes
The covid pandemic has rocked the world's economy, bringing along with it the most extensive stock price collapse since the 2008 financial crisis, according to Statista.
The changes have touched many businesses, including IT support outsourcing. In short, the service involves employing IT vendors to cover the tech side of an organization, which usually results in many perks like cost and time savings, agility, top expertise, etc.
So, how has the market of outsourced IT support services changed recently? How can you still benefit from IT outsourcing? Answers to these and more questions can be found in this article, namely:
- Key statistics & trends in the IT support outsourcing market
- Main benefits of outsourced IT support
- Tips and tricks for how to outsource your IT support wisely
- Cost drivers of outsourced IT support to help you understand your budget
Let’s begin with the basics and provide you with the right directions in this regard.
What is Outsourced IT Support?
Outsourced IT support is hiring a remote service provider or managed service provider (MSP) to handle all of your software development processes or IT infrastructure, including software security and disaster recovery, network monitoring, cloud migration, and so on.
By opting into IT support outsourcing, you can benefit from the latest expertise and a worldwide pool of talent. Another convenience is cost saving – when outsourcing, you ditch expenses for training an in-house team.
According to a worldwide survey, the leading causes of support-related security breaches are poor user practices, lack of training, poor funding for IT security, and a lack of executive buy-in for adopting new solutions by in-house support teams.
If you don't feel ready for the above challenges, your best option is outsourced IT support.
The market for outsourced services has been continually growing since the 1990s. Today, there are several service types of IT outsourcing:
- Outsourcing software development (web and mobile-based apps)
- Project management
- Outsourced software testing services
- Cloud migration and support
- Security and disaster recovery management
- Ongoing support and software maintenance
- And more…
IT support outsourcing will continue to trend upward in the coming years and we will talk more about these services in the article’s next section.
Outsourced IT Support: Statistics & Facts
Multiple facts prove why outsourced IT support is a smart and secure option.
Here are just a few that make the service very prominent for a business of any kind:
- In 2021, global spending on IT services is expected to have amounted to around 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars. This number displays a growth of 11.2% from the previous year.
- IT support outsourcing is a considerable part of the global managed services market, projected to reach around 274 billion U.S. dollars by 2026.
- In 2021, the worldwide contract value of IT outsourcing was 66.5 billion U.S. dollars.
- The covid pandemic accelerated the adoption of the cloud. In 2021, cloud security is expected to have grown by 41.2% compared to 2020. It is now the fastest-growing segment of the IT security market.
- The high demand for outsourced IT support services in 2020 can be partly explained by the fact that, in 2020 alone, tech specialists discovered 18,325 new common IT vulnerabilities and exposures. This was the highest number ever registered.
What Services Can Outsourced IT Support Provide?
IT support outsourcing includes numerous options for a business of any size. According to a global CIO survey, the main areas where companies involve external partners are cloud operations, cybersecurity, and cloud migration.
Here are some more IT functions you may outsource:
1. Software Development & Support
Many IT outsourcing companies provide custom software solutions from scratch. This involves a full-cycle process starting from business analysis, including tech and biz requirements, project scope, infrastructure, and test planning to create a top application. Alternatively, you can extend your team with programmers or other IT specialists and receive specific expertise.
The same applies to offshore software development services provided by MLSDev. As a result, you will get the following benefits:
- Cut costs on your IT department by 40-60%, if outsourcing to Eastern Europe (Ukraine).
- Speed up development processes and product launch.
- Receive top expertise once you are outsourcing IT support services.
- Eliminate the hiring and retention processes associated with building an in-house team.
- Minimize potential risks when starting a new business direction.
- Receive higher flexibility and the opportunity to concentrate on strategic business tasks.
- Get access to top technical expertise and a wide range of tools and technologies.
- Ongoing regular software upgrades, support, & maintenance are included.
Interested in outsourcing web and mobile app development services?
MLSDev has profound expertise in helping businesses digitize their business and innovate with app development. You will receive a full-fledged service with business analysis, software design and implementation, QA, and PM to create a top product for users to enjoy. Don't hesitate to contact us for a consultation!
2. Cloud Management
Outsourced IT support helps organizations move to the cloud-based on well-known platforms like AWS, Digital Ocean, and Google Cloud without compromising security, time, or finances. In addition, managed cloud services provide migration from bare metal servers, cloud setup and configuration, ongoing monitoring, and security.
How it helps:
- Outsourced cloud support automates software deployments, secures updates and maintenance cycles.
- Receive operational improvement and business continuity.
- Achieve operational stability even during peak loads.
- Save time and money by outsourcing IT support to professionals.
- Reduce risks and delegate tasks like scalability and support to a remote team.
- Receive web and mobile-based application uptime, eliminate system downtime.
3. DevOps Services
An uninterrupted software development cycle is impossible in the event of a system crack-down. So, by outsourcing your DevOps services, you can ensure a reliable backup in a disaster scenario. DevOps helps businesses with the latest software development approaches, methodologies, CI/CD processes, and toolsets.
Outsourced IT support services like DevOps will help you:
- Speed up software delivery to the market and to the end-users.
- Create a solid backup and recovery plan to have in place in the event of a disaster scenario.
- Continually manage back-ups or update your data copies to make sure nothing gets lost.
- Comply with the latest cybersecurity and information security practices.
- Improved collaboration among development and testing teams.
- Cut inefficiencies in operations.
- Receive the auto-scalability and fault-tolerance of business systems.
- Get infinite scalability based on properly-regulated development processes.
4. Network & Server Management
One of the biggest tasks of an IT support engineer is maintaining a reliable and secure network. Network outsourcing companies have well-trained staff who know the best network and server management practices.
Outsourcing network and server management may bring the following benefits:
- Mitigate outage-related downtime remotely and promptly.
- Maintain continuous network monitoring.
- Offer hardware installation support.
- Reduce the costs of on-site network failure.
5. Data Storage
Strong storage practices secure your business’ success. Outsourced IT support can help you in the following ways:
- Provide regular check-ups of your storage setup.
- Ensure your storage setup is optimized effectively.
- Run product expertise and deduce recommendations for implementing better storage practices.
6. Security & Compliance
When outsourcing IT support, compliance with the latest regulations and security standards is a must-have condition for finance, healthcare, retail systems, etc. Today's outsourcing companies track the most critical compliance and security regulations, regardless of their location.
In addition, it is vital to create an effective cybersecurity strategy to keep internal business and customer data safe.
Here’s what the company you hire for outsourcing IT support should do:
- Remove vulnerable factors like cybercrimes, data leaks, malicious files, and other similar weak points.
- Set configurations that follow the best security practices and protocols.
- Run multi-factor authentication and internal firewall setups.
- Enforce the organization’s security and compliance policies.
- Cover penetration, security, and vulnerability testing to eliminate any bottlenecks.
- Follow the latest security standards like GDPR and HIPAA in software.
- Prevent, react to, and protect from human errors and damages like server failures and natural disasters.
Virtualization means creating a virtual copy of a physical machine, computer, network, or server, which allows you to streamline business operations, cut costs on IT infrastructure, and increase productivity. It is possible to virtualize applications, networks, data, storage, memory, and more and operate a few virtual machines (VM) independently on one physical server.
Once you find a professional IT vendor, outsourcing virtualization services can be beneficial in a few ways:
- You get automated operations and effective work done by Dev/Test teams.
- You can cut IT expenses considerably.
- You improve business resiliency in the event of a disaster or system failure.
- The performance, availability, and security of your business will increase.
- You receive simplified management, greater team efficiency, and productivity.
8. Telecommunication & Phone Systems
Hardware supply and telecommunications between customers and employees in-house is another reason to outsource IT.
Companies outsourcing the support of telecommunications and phone systems can benefit in the following ways:
- Get high-level expertise with testing and audits.
- Save time and resources.
- Have regular checks of service providers.
9. Data Monitoring & Insights
Complete visibility into the company's processes helps you monitor trends and detect possible vulnerabilities earlier.
Outsourced technical support will enable you to:
- Enhance reporting and provide easy-to-access interactive dashboards.
- Provide real-time visibility to ensure timely end-user support.
- Identify vulnerabilities early.
10. Real-Time Support
A real-time help desk that is accessible 24/7 is essential for any business’ success. However, having a trained team in-house working around the clock is often too expensive and impossible for small and medium businesses.
IT support outsourcing will help you:
- Save time and costs managing round-the-clock working shifts.
- Provide as many agents as you may need.
- Ensure uninterrupted workflow.
In-House vs. Outsourced IT Support
Having an in-house specialist to handle every request is typical for companies of any size.
However, today’s options are much broader. A company can keep an in-house team, outsource IT support or choose a hybrid form of collaboration.
Here, we compare these options by the cost, benefits, and potential bottlenecks.
1. In-House Support
Cost: In-house IT support pricing depends significantly on the level of expertise of your employees. An average IT-support technician earns $50,000 a year. IT managers make about $80,000 - $130,000 a year.
Ideally, a company should have at least one technician and one support manager on a team or spend at least $130,000 yearly. Again, the team set depends on the business goals and might include 10-15 IT support engineers resulting in a considerable investment.
Pros: Quick response time and the convenience of having an IT person on hand as needed.
Cons: If a team has a single IT support specialist on staff, some vital security or compliance updates may be missed due to the lack of time to follow updates.
2. Outsourced IT Support
Cost: When hiring a vendor or a team via outsourcing, the average hourly rate for IT services will be $40-60, based on the service type and level of the IT engineer. If you sign a contract for a monthly minimum of 40 hours (a typical contract for small businesses), your monthly fee will be $1,600/month, or about $20,000 a year.
However, there are other price models. Sometimes monthly IT support contract pricing depends on the number of personnel that require help.
Pros: As a customer, you get round-the-clock support and an almost 100% guarantee that a dedicated support specialist will solve your issue. This is because a company offering IT staff augmentation typically trains its hired engineers in different specialties.
Cons: You may experience communication gaps. It is also essential to find a reputable vendor to avoid fraud.
Interested in the possible costs of outsourcing your IT services?
MLSDev has answers! We have extensive expertise in providing different IT outsourcing services to partners around the globe and would be happy to share our experience with you. Feel free to contact us to discuss your business support needs and to get an estimate of related costs.
3. Hybrid Support Model
Pros: You may hire a vendor to handle routine tasks and give your in-house team more time for training and keeping up with updates.
Cons: This is an expensive option, especially for small and medium businesses.
If you are interested in the benefits from outsourced IT support, continue reading the following section.
6 Key Benefits of Outsourced IT Support
Let’s check out what pros you can receive once you decide to outsource your IT activities. At a minimum, many teams outsource because this can cut your expenses by around 40-60% and become more flexible in operations, making it a great option.
- 1. Cost Efficiency
Outsourced IT support saves time on employee training. You don’t have to maintain the latest IT infrastructure like a data center, either. Additionally, you can hire skilled IT support specialists from developing countries and get superb quality at moderate rates.
- 2. Expertise
If there’s a shortage of specialists in your area, outsourcing IT support can help find the required specialist faster and at a lower cost. Moreover, IT outsourcing companies like MLSDev, who care about their brand name, invest time and money in personnel training.
- 3. Availability
Today, most IT support outsourcing companies hire multinational teams to provide 24/7 support. This means that you can expand your working hours and be ready to respond to your clients' needs around the clock.
- 4. Added Flexibility
When opting for outsourced IT support, you pay for the work only when you need it. For a small or medium business, this could mean that they don't have to pay a full-time salary to a support employee for only a few tasks a month.
- 5. Improved Business Focus
Typically, a business owner isn't necessarily tech-savvy. Making sure that the tech side of your business is up and running takes too much time and expense, which could instead be focused on building core competencies and developing competitive advantages.
Outsourcing IT support lets you concentrate on growing your business while handing minor troubles over to a third-party specialist.
- 6. Reduced Risks & Improved Cybersecurity
A professional IT outsourcing team should have an up-to-date security strategy to make sure they are keeping up with the latest trends in security.
When & How to Outsource Your IT Support?
To outsource IT support properly, a company owner should be aware of technical needs, team requests, and the ability of a third-party vendor to meet both the former and the latter.
The following sections will guide you on how to outsource your IT support wisely.
Before deciding which solution or option is better for your business, asking questions about the following matters.
- Importance of 24/7 Support Access
If your company operates around the clock or you plan to expand your business, you should be covered if a critical incident happens.
- Handling and Storing Sensitive Data
Almost every company has data about their clients, whether it is in the form of addresses or phone numbers. In this case, it is essential to take preventive measures to protect valuable assets. A dedicated IT support team should specialize in the latest security regulations.
- Define your Budget
Keeping an in-house team of experts available 24/7 is a luxury. You may cut some expenses by hiring a remote team to take care of your specific needs.
- Do you Use Proprietary Software?
An in-house specialist will be the best option if your company owns any proprietary software. Although, a vendor company also has ways and practices for handling these situations.
- Your Company’s Growth Plans
If you grow, you will need more tech supplies like servers and network hardware, more employees, and, naturally, you will have more points of vulnerability. A dedicated development team, allocated by an IT outsourcing company will offer you a smart way to balance your growth and finances.
Outsource IT Support Services: Cost Drivers
Suppose you want to know how to calculate outsourcing costs specifically for your project. In this case, you should consider numerous factors, such as the pricing model, rush response times, on-site support sessions, hardware setup, and more.
Here are several pricing models to consider before you start a contract with your IT support outsourcing vendor:
- Hourly: A provider charges you for the minimum working hours per month. All services exceeding the limit may be set differently.
Blocker: Be sure to discuss the hourly price if your demand exceeds the agreed monthly minimum.
- Flat fees: You agree on an average monthly payment for a pre-discussed list of services.
Blocker: If your server goes down during the night, you will need a specialist on-site, or your team will need support within minutes, but not as scheduled; a company may charge you unexpectedly high fees unless you have covered these scenarios in your contract.
- Per user/per month: This is the best payment format as you can be sure that every one of your employees is covered. This format usually includes technical monitoring, security, drive space, etc.
Blocker: On-site visits may not be included in the contract. Be sure to discuss in advance.
To Sum Things Up: Process of IT Support Outsourcing
As you already understand the benefits of outsourcing IT support services, you might be thinking about when this option is relevant to your case. To make things simple, if you have some issues with costs, system downtime, trouble with system performance, or perhaps want more flexibility, the time is right to outsource your IT.
1. If you lack IT expertise in-house - opening a new IT department is a costly option, and to save costs you can find capable IT engineers that are remote. Besides, you will not be bound to the location and can receive a pool of the best specialists at reasonable prices.
2. Even if you have an in-house team - outsourced IT support can strengthen your in-house IT department. It is possible to delegate the ongoing support of operations like software updates, security patches, regulatory compliance, etc.
3. You want to cut IT expenses - as mentioned previously, you can optimize and remove some IT expenditures by 40-60%. The price depends on the IT vendor’s location and rates. For instance, in Ukraine the average rate is $40 per hour for top expertise, compared with $100-150 an hour for the same service in the USA or Europe.
4. Receive a pool of the best technologies - professional IT outsourcing teams follow the latest stable technologies available on the market. Thus, you do not need to invest in internal education and can more simply add the required technology by outsourcing this function.
Finally, here are the main steps to take to ensure that your project will run smoothly and that you will find a suitable IT vendor:
- Clear up your business needs and budget (you can prepare an RFP document)
- List all the possible requirements and questions
- Search for and prepare a list of potential vendors
- Conduct research on your vendors and select the best ones
- Discuss project management and communication processes
- Agree on the payment model and discuss possible extra requests
- Sign clear agreements (e.g., NDA, SLA)
- Your involvement in the support process will still be required, so be ready to step in as needed
Do you want to hire an IT support outsourcing company to cover your technical support needs?
MLSDev is a leading company in the IT outsourcing market. Our company can boast of the latest technologies, tools, communication, and project management practices to make sure collaboration with us is straightforward and convenient for any customer. Feel free to contact us for a consultation and an estimate of your future project's budget and timeline.