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Why Small Businesses should Outsource their IT Support

What are your options?

Hire someone?

If they're worth what you'll need to pay them, they won't have very much to do. And they'll see that there's no path for advancement in your organization, so they'll always be looking for some other job where they'll have a future.

 

Have one of your current employees take on the additional responsibility of supporting IT?

 

They'll be less effective at the tasks for which you originally hired them, they'll be less effective at supporting IT than someone for whom it is a primary responsibility, and they may not be immediately available when some other individual has a problem.

 

At least get them some help.

Use your brother-in-law that works in IT for a big company

The way that big companies work is they compartmentalize responsibilities. As a result, people that are low on the totem pole, know a lot about a little, while the higher-ups know a little about a lot. And whatever they do know, in there opinion, is all you need. They're wrong, and they will not serve you well.

And they won't be able to respond your emergencies because they get paid more by the big company than by you.

Do without?

 

Then you're only ever responding to catastrophes, at which point you'll have to trust someone you don't already have a relationship with and that isn't already familiar with the nuts and bolts of your IT infrastructure.

 

You can outsource your IT support to T C Solutions or to someone else, but pick someone. Technology isn't going to get any simpler, and the sooner you pick someone to support you, the faster and better they'll be able to do it.

Buy versus Lease

Computers need to be replaced periodically. You should plan for this, and replace your computers on a regular schedule. Otherwise, you're constantly reacting to catastrophes. I suggest you replace your computers every three years, replacing a third of them each year. If you want to tempt fate a little more, replace a quarter of your computers every year, but come up with a plan and stick to it.

Leasing your computers forces you to stick to the plan. When a lease expires, you send the old computers back and install the new computers you got on a new lease. (One of my clients even had a program that allowed employees to take the old off-lease computers.)

There are also some financial incentives to leasing. When you buy computers, you can either depreciate them over 5 years, or fully depreciate them the first year. But you can only depreciate the purchase price, not the interest you paid on the purchase. And buying new computers is a capital expense. Leasing computers is an operating expense, and you can write off the entire lease payment, including the interest, each year of the lease.

So, lease the computer and the operating system. Don't lease the peripherals (monitors, printers, etc.), and don't lease the software. Peripherals last longer than the computers you use them with, so sending them back before they're "used up" doesn't make a lot of sense, and if you lease software, you don't qualify for the upgrades. And don't lease servers. Servers (properly configured servers, that is) have a useful life of about 6 years, which makes leasing impractical, and replacing a server is more cumbersome that replacing workstations, and you should keep the old server around for a while, just in case something goes wrong. So leasing the server wouldn't work out very well.


Monitors

CRT Monitors have a variable resolution. You could set the resolution of the display via a control panel in the computer, and the computer's display adapter would send a signal to the monitor that was a specific frequency that the monitor would interpret and project an image on the screen that corresponded with the selection you made on the computer. That's not true of Flat Panel (LCD) Monitors, or at least, it doesn't work the same way.

Flat Panel Monitors have a hardware resolution. If you select a resolution using the computer's control panel that doesn't correspond to the hardware resolution of the monitor, software in the monitor figures out how to render the selected resolution on the resolution it has. If the monitor has a hardware resolution of 1920x1080 and you set the resolution to 1366x768, everything (all the text, the icons and the graphics) will appear larger, but not very sharp, because every single pixel from the computer will be displayed on 1.4 pixels on the monitor. You should always select the hardware resolution of the monitor in your computer's Display control panel.

You should also select a monitor that is the appropriate size. Both a 21" monitor and a 24" monitor have a resolution of 1920x1080, so the same text and graphics will be larger on the larger monitor. On the other hand, 19" monitors typically have a resolution of 1440x900, while 20" monitors typically have a resolution of 1600x900. As a result, text and graphics will be smaller on the 20" monitor than on the 19" monitor. So you can't just go by the screen size. you need to consider the resolution as well, when selecting a monitor.

This is especially important on laptops. A laptop computer with a 15.6" display could have a resolution of either 1366x768 or 1920x1080. On the 1920x1080 display, everything will be a lot smaller than on the 1366x768 display. If you don't like the monitor on your desktop computer, you can replace it, but if you don't like the display on your laptop, you're stuck with it until you replace the whole laptop.

© 2013 T C Solutions, Inc.
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