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One of the key decisions small and medium businesses must make when starting out is whether to hire an in-house IT professional or team or to outsource to an external contractor. While an in-house IT team is the right solution for some businesses, it can be expensive and time-consuming to find and hire the right people – and even more expensive if you get it wrong, or underestimate the scope of work that should be expected of a functional IT support team.

Multinational and global businesses often have no choice but to turn to outsourcing due to the sheer scale of their output and workforce. For example, HR service providers like CloudPay work with companies to identify common challenges, costs, and obstacles involved in payroll systems across a large enterprise.

Additionally, today, many businesses use IT outsourcing to fulfill their tech support needs, and many surveys show the percentage of total IT work that is outsourced increasing year on year. Also, with companies like particle.io, it has become even easier to get technological services done from outside of your business in order to connect, manage, and extract product data. So what exactly are the advantages of using an outside contractor to meet your company’s IT requirements? Here are what we feel are the three key advantages of outsourcing.

1. Reduce your IT spend. Every company has different IT needs, but for many businesses, IT outsourcing can save money compared to hiring and maintaining an in-house IT support team. How much might you save? It’s very much dependent on the nature and size of your business, but some sources estimate that it’s possible to save between 25% and 40% of your IT spend by outsourcing. Contracting out your IT support also makes your spending predictable – most IT contractors charge a fixed monthly fee for the agreed level of service.

2. Reduce your exposure to risk. If you hire IT staff in-house – or worse, if you opt not to use an IT function at all and play it by ear – you could inadvertently be increasing your exposure to business risk. If you are concerned about risk to your business by a third-party vendor, you may want to consider using software from the likes of Aravo which allows you to assess and manage any potential risks present. Every IT decision you make – what hardware to buy, what operating systems to use, what firewall or antivirus suite to adopt – carries a degree of risk if you make the wrong choice. Most IT consultancies have a solid base of highly experienced IT professionals who can help you make the right decisions when it comes to tech, and ensure they are implemented in a way that provides your business with the maximum possible protection against hacking, malware and viruses, data loss and downtime.

3. IT outsourcing lets you focus on your core business. This one can’t be overstated. Other than in firms which are themselves operating in the tech sector, money spent maintaining an in-house IT team isn’t directly delivering competitive advantage. It’s also giving your company an arguably unnecessary support function with all the related management, training and development, and HR costs that involves. IT outsourcing lets you focus your spending and your time on delivering your product or service, and on improving and growing your business.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to how a business might choose to fulfill its IT needs, more and more companies are seeing the advantages of IT outsourcing. It is, of course, vital to do your research and choose a contractor who is not only competent and qualified but also a good fit for your business. Get it right, and you will find yourself working with a highly professional and responsive business partner who can help your company make the most of its resources and capabilities.