Outsourcing Your IT? 3 Things to Consider
by Stephanie Faris on Wednesday, March 1 12:00
Increasingly, organizations are choosing to outsource chunks of their operations to contract workers. Information technology is one area that is highly compatible with outsourcing, especially for smaller businesses. Instead of paying someone a salary, businesses can bring on contract workers on an as-needed basis to handle software installations, app upgrades, or other short-term IT projects. This helps businesses save money without sacrificing their technology needs. However, there are a few things to consider before bringing outsiders into your environment, whether they're working remotely or on site.
Data security should be your top concern when you're working with contractors. Data breaches can be expensive and destructive to a business, violating hard-earned customer trust. Carefully consider that risk when choosing which processes to outsource. Try to keep access to sensitive records limited to employees unless absolutely necessary. Live by the principle of least privilege when granting access to both employees and contractors, setting up access at the lowest level possible and adding higher-level rights as the worker needs them. Before outsourcing, make sure you have a plan in place to detect and address a data breach quickly and efficiently if, for some reason, your outsourcing should lead to a security issue.
Despite its many benefits, IT outsourcing often comes at a cost. A salaried employee is usually on hand to tackle any emergencies that arise, such as a downed server or a password lockout. As you consider outsourcing IT, think of the areas where immediate responses are needed and weigh the negatives of not being able to get help right away. You may find that outsourcing your helpdesk support doesn't work, since your end users have to wait too long for help. As you're choosing a contractor, ask about any time-sensitive issues that might require quick turnaround time. Tech professionals may be able to provide remote support or set other projects aside when an emergency situation arises.
Before outsourcing, it's important to consider the impact it will have on your salaried employees. When you combine workers in this way, you run the risk of alienating the employees you have, especially if your contract workers are more experienced and are making a higher hourly wage. Handle the transition carefully, communicating as openly as possible about your decision to outsource some of the work. You'll likely find your decision to outsource certain parts of your IT operations will have salaried workers concerned that their own jobs may be at risk. Make it clear that these new workers won't be replacing your existing team and that you still have a need for permanent employees. Make sure managers understand the importance of maintaining harmony between salaried and contract workers, especially if some of your team works remotely.
Outsourcing will only continue to consume more of the way businesses operate. When handled the right way, businesses can use contractors to handle certain aspects of their IT without sacrificing the quality of the work they do. It's important to plan carefully to avoid issues like security breaches and unhappy customers or employees.