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How to Avoid Having Your Own IT Department

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Your business has real IT needs, no matter how big or small, or in what industry.  Your needs might be modest, just a server and some laptops or a network of phones, or they might be more intensive, requiring multiple dedicated servers and ongoing maintenance and updates.  Either way, having your own IT department, whether that means one person or a whole division, is an expensive proposition.  In many cases, it makes sense for a larger company to keep those costs in-house, but for smaller companies and start-ups, even one hire can be too much, putting the IT burden on people who aren’t trained for it.  

Fortunately, there are now different ways to manage this problem if becoming an IT expert isn’t on your list of skills to acquire

SaaS

It seems like everyone is talking about SaaS these days, and it can be confusing and intimidating if you aren’t in the know.  But SaaS simply stands for Software as a Service.  Instead of putting an application on your computer or phone, the application lives somewhere out in the cloud, and you connect to it, often using a web browser.  The example most people are familiar with is Google’s apps, like Docs and Sheets.  You don’t install them on your computer.  You simply connect to them online to use them.  Using SaaS programs for your business won’t eliminate all your IT needs.  Someone still needs to be making sure the computers and other equipment gets updated and has virus protection.  But by outsourcing most of your software needs to the cloud, you are saving yourself a lot of time and trouble downloading, installing, reinstalling, and maintaining programs.  

IaaS

The next acronym you should be familiar with is IaaS, which stands for Infrastructure as a Service.  Infrastructure as a service essentially moves your servers, networks, and storage onto the cloud.  You will still need some expertise to navigate the systems available, but you won’t need to dedicate an air-conditioned room of office space to your servers or deal with external hard drives that can get lost or broken.  Your data and the networks and servers you need to access, share, and use it are all located online.  

A Managed Service Provider

If using software, networks, and storage in the cloud sounds like it might still be too complicated, or if you have enough hardware that maintaining it is a burden, you might be interested in an MSP or managed service provider.  See this article for more information about what is a managed service provider and why you should get one

In brief, depending on the terms of your agreement, an MSP can keep you up and running by doing things like updating your hardware and software, performing maintenance, setting up and maintaining networks, managing phones and other wireless devices, and providing cybersecurity services, among other things.  

Downtime is Costly

Whether downtime means office workers cannot access software or technicians in the field who can’t call into the office for parts, having your information technology down will cost you and your company.  Fortunately, you can reduce that downtime with these three options and keep business running smoothly without necessarily having to hire your own IT department.  

What do you think?

Written by JR Dominguez

JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.

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