IT professionals change companies all the time. The tech industry has the highest turnover rate of any industry so you are not alone. This may be the second or third time this has happened to you. If so, now may be the perfect time to make a policy change or consider outsourcing the IT function altogether. We at Binatech are more than happy to provide you with a free IT assessment, should you wish, to help guide you through this process.
The next step is to protect yourself. When an IT professional leaves, a lot of intellectual property leaves with them. Even if you have a great relationship with the outgoing person, it’s an important and necessary step to counteract a possible security threat.
When deciding to contract new IT services, there are three crucial elements that you should keep top of mind: TRUST, DOCUMENTATION and HIRING.
The first question you’ll need to ask yourself is…
You can begin by opening conversations with IT vendors. When vetting them, you must ensure that they have highly capable, effective countermeasures to any and all potential risks to guarantee your business technology is safe and not vulnerable to cybersercurity threats.
If you decide to go the route of hiring an internal staff member, we recommend hiring IT vendors like Managed Service Providers (MSPs) or IT Consultants to shore you up against any vulnerabilities. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a compromised situation and their expert advice is very valuable.
Once your IT person has departed, you will want to disable their access to your IT network. Then you'll need to think about what you and your new IT person(s) will need to move forward. Which brings us to our next question...
We cannot stress this enough, every IT network must be documented on paper, computer files or both for safety. There are two types of documentation that you should provide to your incoming IT person if you want them to get up to speed quickly and efficiently without missing a beat. The first is configurations.
Your configurations are the keys to your IT. They include login credentials, licensing keys, technology access, encryptions, network diagrams, software lists, inventory of equipment, etc… Configurations are crucial for understanding and mastering your technological environment. This initial documentation will save time, energy, and will allow you to anticipate and protect yourself against back-doors, coding, or software that allows re-entry into your company network after someone is fired or quits. It’ll also help you whenever there is a change of IT personnel.
Issues history is the second type of documentation integral to your success. It refers to any current, known, or resolved issues in your IT environment. Break/fix jobs, past IT projects, installation, and anything else that would happen at an IT support desk. Hopefully, you have documentation of this going all the way back to when your network environment was set up.
Both your configurations and issues history should be in your contingency plan. This is a document or process created by your IT person/vendor or a third-party consultant that ensures you know what to do and where to find things should anything happen to your IT person.
If you don’t have any of the above documentation, the new vendor or IT person may have to start from scratch, which can be costly, challenging and time-consuming. Moving forward, we would highly recommend having solid IT documentation.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of trust and documentation, the next challenge to tackle is…
Answering this question can seem overwhelming. But fear not, as we have some excellent advice on how to proceed. To start, you’ll need to figure out whether you want to hire an internal IT employee, IT consultant, small MSP, or large MSP.
Putting all the weight of your IT function (essentially the internal communication, trade secrets, and intellectual property) on the shoulders of a single person is risky. Whether you’re hiring a part-time IT person or a full-time professional, we always recommend backing them up with expert guidance from an IT consultant or IT vendor.
You never know what unexpected problems may arise, and having an IT vendor who can stay current, anticipate threats and be familiar with your field is paramount. Plus, they’ll ensure documentation is in place and accurate.
An IT consultant can be a fantastic idea if you are a small company (1-5 employee range) looking to get quick fixes on an as-needed basis. However, if you are looking for ongoing monthly IT management support from an individual IT consultant alone, you may run into a few problems.
As your IT consultant is a one-person operation, the response time to getting an issue addressed is usually slow. In our experience, many IT consultants will prioritize 2-3 VIP customers and have less time to commit to your business. Not responding immediately and in real-time can cause a massive blow to your operations. Especially if multiple users are having issues at the same time.
We know an IT consultant who will mostly support businesses that are 1-5 computer users but will outsource to an IT team if he lands an unlimited support agreement with a company of 100 people. This can be dangerous. You might trust YOUR IT consultant, but you may not trust the team that he quickly hired at a moment's notice to handle your company’s most sensitive information.
In short, a managed service provider is an IT services company that manages the IT infrastructure and IT processes for clients. MSPs have become the gold standard for small to mid-sized businesses that love it for people's redundancy. When an IT person quits, it doesn't affect the client's network that much as they have a team dedicated to it. All documentation, processes, and trust will generally remain the same after one of their people's leaves.
MSPs are a great option for many companies. We advise going with a large MSP versus a tiny MSP made up of a small group. Here’s why:
An MSP that has more computer engineers in your local area is definitely worth looking at. These companies will have many engineers with generalized and specialized IT degrees and IT certifications and the people-power to anticipate and solve any of your IT issues.
These larger companies have built-in benchmarking of metrics to ensure you’re fully optimized. They have trusted and reliable teams that can support your network and should be able to respond to any issue immediately and in real-time. (i.e. Technical Account Manager, Help Desk Account Specialist, Help Desk Team that knows your technology intimately, and an Executive Sponsor for higher-level business discussions).
Giant Managed Service Providers tend to be a pearl necklace of smaller managed service providers. They have gobbled up small MSPs and are constantly going through a painful standardization process trying to wrangle these small IT shops into a cohesive unit. These should be looked at as small MSPs because of how they operate. And when one pearl in the necklace snaps, the whole company suffers.
There are thousands of small MSPs that are hungry for new business and will take any job no matter how big or small. Many of them are conservative startups with the goal of getting acquired by a national/global MSP. So you may question where their focus lies.
They’ll have only 1-2 technicians and one junior technician. They usually price lower to get the bid but will make sure to get their profit by other means. Make sure to ask if they outsource their IT support help desk or any other critical functions. We would strongly advise against getting stuck in a long-term contract with an MSP that doesn’t have the ability to serve its client due to demand and a lack of personnel.
Losing your IT person is not cause for panic, it’s a massive opportunity. Now you get to choose the right option for you and your company to create an everlasting IT environment that helps your people thrive.
We highly recommend that while in this transition period, you learn as much as you can about your options. Speaking to more than one IT vendor is crucial for you to fully understand what will work best for you.
A good IT vendor will be patient and take you through all the pros and cons. If you would like to have a conversation with us at Binatech, we are happy to provide a free IT assessment to find the best option for you. Whether you are looking for a long-term commitment or something more particular to your companies’ needs, the experts at Binatech will be happy to chat with you.