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When to Hire an Inhouse IT vs. Managed Service Provider (MSP)

March 9, 2023

by Anna Peck

Senior SEO Specialist at Clutch.co

When it comes to IT services, should businesses onboard an in-house IT team or hire an MSP? This article will go into the benefits and challenges of both resources to help companies make the best choice for their businesses.

All businesses that work with client information need to invest in IT services. Why? Because without that support, your company can be in grave danger.

One in every four Americans will stop doing business with a company after it suffers a data breach, and with malware attacks increasing significantly over the last few years, having IT support is more important than ever.

Looking for technical support that will streamline your IT services needs should be part of every business plan.

Professional IT support can do the following for your company:

  • Build, repair, and maintain hardware of IT systems
  • Protect companies from cybersecurity attacks
  • Cloud services
  • Data backup and analytics
  • Act as a help desk
  • Troubleshooting with any IT issues

Now that it’s clear what IT service support can do for any business, the next challenge comes with whether to hire internal IT staff or outsource the work to a managed service provider (MSP). The answer depends on what type of partner your company is looking for.

inhouse it vs msp

Looking to hire for IT services? Explore our list of the top technical support solutions.

Inhouse IT Support

What is In-House IT Support?

Having in-house IT support that works full-time could save your company from any internal IT disaster.
In-house IT support will have intimate knowledge of your IT infrastructure, giving them the opportunity to fix problems quickly.
Dependent on company size, you can choose to hire as many or as few IT professionals as you like.

4 Benefits of Inhouse IT

If your company is looking to add in-house IT support full-time, explore the benefits:

  1. On-site availability
  2. Company knowledge
  3. Dedication
  4. Direct control


On-Site Availability

Many businesses prefer in-house IT support because of the on-site access.

Having day-to-day support within your business hours can provide effective coverage for your company and team. For example, if an in-office team member is having issues downloading the latest version of Microsoft Excel, an in-person interaction with a member of the IT staff can do the trick.

In-house IT support can provide your company with quick support when it’s needed the most.

Learn more about how the world of IT works with our IT services glossary.

Company Knowledge

Having an internal IT team will have direct knowledge about your company and IT solutions. Since in-house IT support is directly ingrained in your company culture, they will be informed of company policy changes and other factors that might impact their own processes.

As previously mentioned, they will also have more knowledge of your IT infrastructure since they are directly connected.


Direct Control

With an internal IT team, your stakeholders have direct control of who and how many to hire.

During an interview process, you can evaluate candidates based on their expertise as well as how closely they’ll fit within your company culture.

Working with outsourced IT employees gives your business no control over how many team members will be supporting your IT needs since an MSP works with so many different clients.

3 Challenges of Inhouse IT

Along with the benefits, there are drawbacks to having exclusive, in-house IT support:

  1. Higher personnel costs
  2. Lots of downtime
  3. Lower expertise level


Higher Personnel Costs

Having an in-house IT team is more expensive for businesses. In fact, hiring an MSP can reduce in-house costs by 40%.

When hiring an in-house IT team, businesses need to factor in recruitment costs, salaries, paid vacation, and benefits like healthcare.

With an MSP, that isn’t a lift on the client.

Learn how much IT services cost with our IT services pricing guide

Lots of Downtime

While having IT support is important, not every company needs it constantly, especially if you’re a small business.

If you don’t require a lot of IT services, it might not be the most cost-effective option. Even if your company doesn’t have the business need, your business still needs to pay an internal IT team, which leads to an outflow of money that could be used elsewhere.


Lower Expertise Level

This challenge does depend on who your company chooses to hire for IT support, but it isn’t a surprise that an in-house IT department will lack the expertise and knowledge that an MSP delivers.

As the IT world continues to shift, some new technologies and innovations need to be communicated. It is likely that a business doesn’t have the bandwidth to provide specific training to their in-house team while that would be a main focus for an MSP.

Managed Service Providers

What are Managed Service Providers?

An MSP, like an in-house IT provider, can support a company’s network & IT infrastructure, deliver ongoing support, and perform other tasks that need IT management.

The catch is – an outsourced IT team can fix IT problems remotely.

4 Benefits of Managed Service Providers

MSPs can deliver a wealth of knowledge to their clients. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a managed service provider to help with IT solutions:

  1. Scalability
  2. 24/7 support
  3. Broader expertise
  4. More resources



Your business can grow with a trusted MSP.

Hiring outsourced IT support allows your company to scale. Your company will be able to use new services depending on need, which is an added benefit.

An in-house team, especially if they’re small, could become overwhelmed if a lot of new services or tasks are required from them as a result of the company scaling up.


24/7 Support

One benefit of working with an outsourced IT services provider is that they’ll likely deliver 24/7 support since they’re not employed to work during your company’s business hours.

Any problems that might arise during your off hours will be handled by an around-the-clock MSP.

Having 24/7 support will also limit the chance of major outages or snafus due to the consistent monitoring that is occurring with an MSP.


Broader Expertise

Managed service providers specialize in information technology, meaning that MSPs offer more tools, resources, experience, and talent in terms of dealing with IT support issues.

An in-house IT staff might only have a few specialized skills relevant to the company that they’re working for, which can work, but what happens when a major cyberattack occurs that leads to data loss, and your current staff doesn’t have the expertise to manage it?

Managed service providers are continually learning and expanding their capabilities.


More Resources

With an MSP, there are a lot more resources available to your business than with a small team that works in-house.

If you’re relying on one or two IT team members, then your requests might fall behind if there is a sick day. An MSP is able to cover those with their on-staff engineers that work endlessly.

Learn how to build an IT budget with our guide. 

3 Challenges of Managed Service Providers

Managed IT service providers offer a lot of support to their clients, but there can be a few challenges with choosing to go with outsourced IT support:

  1. Less focus
  2. Lack of system control
  3. Variables for cost


Less Focus

MSPs have different clients, which means their focus isn’t solely on your company. They will be working with others and setting priorities inside their organization.

An MSP engineer will try to visit your site frequently, but not as frequently as the IT team member that has a desk in your office.


Lack of System Control

A big challenge of working with an MSP is that they are outsourced, which gives them less control.

Being away from the IT infrastructure can lead to delays in response time and other issues that could impact business need.

If another party set up your IT systems, there will also be a learning curve for an onboarded MSP taking on a new project.


Variables for Cost

Outsourcing your IT services can have various costs - so your business should have a secure budget in place.

While your company isn’t having to hire and support a new team member, MSPs can charge monthly rates depending on the services they end up providing.

Generally, your partnership will be through a service-level agreement (SLA) that guarantees a specific service and quality.

IT support can be unpredictable – some months, your company will be paying less than others. Make sure that your business is ready to take that risk when hiring an MSP.

Additional Reading: ‘How to Create an IT Budget [With Template]

Factors that Influence Your IT Hiring Choice

Here are several factors that might impact your choice of IT services support:

  • Industry knowledge & expertise
  • Positive customer testimonials & reviews
  • Cost of service
  • Location
  • Communication skills
  • Skillset

Should You Hire Inhouse IT Support or an MSP?

IT technical support is a key element of any company, no matter the industry. Companies won’t run without the appropriate IT infrastructure in place. To have effective IT services support, businesses need to make the right choice in hiring an in-house team or outsourcing an IT team.

If businesses choose to follow the in-house support route, your business will have a dedicated team with on-site availability but might spend a lot on personnel costs. If hiring an MSP, remember that your business isn’t their only client, but their skill level and 24/7 support should make up for it.

All companies are different – consider the pros and cons of each IT support option and make a decision based on business goals.

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