Should I rely on one internal colleague to manage my IT?

Should I rely on one internal colleague to manage my IT?

When you start a small business you always need to try and push the boundaries whilst also keeping costs as low as possible. It’s therefore tempting to pass IT responsibilities to a member of your team, either as their main job role or added on top of other duties. So what are the pitfalls of this approach?

Trusting a single person with your IT systems can lead to failure

With so many demands on you and your business every day, its common for small businesses to nominate an internal staff member to be responsible for IT. This is far cheaper than seeking any form of support and most companies can get by with this setup in the early days.

Unfortunately this previously great business decision quickly sours if your IT person leaves the company unexpectedly due to illness or via dismissal. Trusting a single person to manage all of your IT is akin to putting all of your eggs in one basket. If your access to that person is restricted for what ever reason this will have a serious impact on your business operations, especially if you can’t access your valuable and/or necessary data. Do you have any plans in place to respond if the individual is unable to pass on credentials verbally? Reliable access to your data? There are several instances where this might occur, for instance where the individual becomes ill or even passes away, they are let go from the company or they go on annual leave for an extended period of time.

And it can get worse

As well as being harmful in the sense that without access to critical devices, passwords and data it’s incredibly difficult to run your business, you also face the risk of a disgruntled employee utilising this access to damage your company.

Back in 2016, Steffan Needham was asked to leave his IT position at a business named Voova. Seeking revenge, Needham decided to use credentials that he had for a colleague to access the organisation’s server and deleted 23 of their Amazon Servers that held the entirety of the company’s main application. The damage was so severe that Voova were unable to recover any of their data. Although this was tragic for the company, it does raise the serious concern around what happens if your IT person decides to leave or is fired. What could your colleague responsible for managing your IT do with the data or devices they are responsible for if they decide to go rogue?

An external party managing your IT means that all credentials and the responsibility for keeping these secure lands with them. Alongside this, any responsible IT support company will work with you to minimise any risks and vulnerabilities as well as create a comprehensive disaster recovery procedure. You’ll also benefit from the typically free IT security audit so that you start off on the best footing.

It’s a tough job

As well as being potentially risky, handing IT responsibilities to a single member of your staff is likely to be problematic due to a lack of necessary knowledge over many areas of technology. They may be able to troubleshoot a few temperamental laptops and set up new emails, but do they know how to resolve patchy internet coverage, manage a local or cloud server or create a comprehensive disaster recovery procedure? Equally, does your staff member even have time to do the job justice? If you’ve employed them for another purpose it’s likely that they already have a full time’s worth of tasks and responsibilities so something has to give. If they are unable to reliably troubleshoot your issues at all times this is likely to hurt your team’s morale, motivation and productivity.

One benefit of  engaging a managed service provider to take over your IT maintenance is that you instantly gain access to a range of people with specialties in all areas of business IT management. You’ll be able to liaise with Microsoft Dynamics/Sharepoint/Office 365 specialists, those well versed in data security and more. As it’s the day job, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a problem that they haven’t seen and solved before. 

So what can you do?

Working with an IT support company on a fixed cost SLA means you avoid all of the risks associated with relying on one person for your support for one predictable monthly outlay. As well as the benefits of tapping into a high level of experience and expertise, a managed service will work with you to proactively improve your IT security, operations and data management. Overall we truly believe that in the long run, working with an external party is far more cost effective when you take into account the difficulties associated with managing systems internally and the resulting detrimental impact on your business operations.

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