IT Management for Small Businesses: In-house vs. Off-site
If your company is new to IT management or if you are experiencing growth that requires a more sophisticated IT network, you may be wondering where to turn for help. All that Information Technology jargon can be quite confusing, especially for someone with little experience with business technology. To help you get a handle on the basics of IT networking for small business, we’ve put together a plain-English guide.
What is In-House IT Management?
In-house IT management occurs when a company has a person or team on the payroll who is responsible for handling all the IT issues the company may come across. This person (or team) reports to the office, solves technical issues on-site, and is often a salaried employee who receives a paycheck regardless of the number of IT issues dealt with each week. An in-house IT department may handle such things as setting up and maintaining a network or on-site server, keeping the company’s website(s) up and running, and trouble-shooting equipment such as routers, computers, telephone systems, and power sources.
What is an Off-Site IT Management Company?
An off-site IT management company is a company that deals solely with IT issues. They may supplement a company’s in-house IT department, or may serve as the company’s sole source of IT management. They are a separate entity from the businesses they serve.
These companies may come only when called upon, may do consultations with recommendations for managing a new or existing network, or may come to the office during routinely scheduled visits to perform maintenance or check for potential problems.
What Does an IT Professional Do?
An IT professional generally knows how to troubleshoot and repair software and hardware problems for Macs (Apple) and PCs (Microsoft). IT professionals also look at the business-end of a company’s IT network and can recommend or maintain applications that are useful for assisting the company in meeting its business goals. These types of applications may include Microsoft Exchange, Web-based applications, and server maintenance and monitoring programs.
This type of service may include setting up a security protocol to keep the company’s sensitive information safe, or to block employees from productivity-stealing activities like spending time on facebook or YouTube.
An IT professional can help set up a suitable back up procedure for the company’s information (files, programs, and databases), or may utilize a cloud computing service to store information off-site in an Web-based (Online) format.
This type of service can help you move your equipment to a new location safely, or set up a new branch in another area with an IT system that will meet your current and future needs.
Website management and maintenance, often referred to as Web mastering, is a very common service provided by IT professionals. Handling upgrades, performing Website maintenance, solving technical issues, managing hosting, and ensuring Website security are all a part of an IT professional’s job. They can assist you in selecting secure login procedures and passwords, and in setting up regular back-ups of your Website to prevent IT disasters from resulting in a total loss of your company’s Website.
If you are expanding your company or just getting started, an IT consulting firm can help you choose the right computers, networking system, and software to meet your company’s needs. An IT service will also help you set up essential systems like secure file transfers, back-ups, and company-wide email to handle your company’s needs.
If you still have questions about IT management, computer services, or networking, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help sort through the confusion and get you on track to a well-managed small business IT department.
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