Smaller companies often cannot afford to have an IT department. One of the common solutions is to hire a single person to do IT or, worse, get an outside friend who's "good with computers" to do it. The issue is that without working IT, everything grinds to a halt. There are a number of good reasons to avoid the one-person IT shop:
- People get sick, have personal emergencies, or go on vacation. If your IT department is one person and they are not available, then you might be down to searching the internet for a solution. Also, your poor IT person may never get any downtime and may end up burning out. An employee who can never take a vacation, who's dates get interrupted, and who is always "on call" is one that is eventually going to start hating their job and possibly their boss.
- Sometimes, that person may not have the answers. No matter how competent or talented they are, they will come across a problem that stumps them sooner or later. Without anyone to bounce ideas off of or talk to, they may end up leaving you or an employee hanging, possibly for hours or days.
- The one, IT person, is going to be so busy solving your problems they will not have time to keep with training, new developments, and more. They may spend all of their time "putting out fires" rather than handling routine updates. Even for a small company, stuff can easily end up being left undone. Alternatively, things may be being done in the middle of the night when your IT person is exhausted, resulting in lower quality service and a higher number of potentially downtime-causing mistakes. You need your IT stuff to be done right.
- It is harder for the "trunk slammer" to keep up on the latest developments and information. They seldom have the time to take professional development training and may not be able to network with other professionals to discuss the latest tools. This means that your systems may become antiquated very quickly, even if you have the budget to upgrade.
- If something happens to that person, you may have to scramble as you realize nobody else knew the passwords, or that some important documentation existed only in their head. Worst case scenario, they are in the perfect position to be disgruntled on their way out of the door. Also, if that person quits, you then have to find a replacement and bring them up to speed, often without any help in doing so.
- When more than one person has a problem at the same time, the IT person has to prioritize, which can cause resentment and conflict. Fighting over resources is not the way to support a peaceful office environment, and this can be a headache for the IT person too.
However, many small companies cannot afford to hire more than one IT person. This is where partnering with an IT company comes in. An IT company or managed services provider will handle all of your IT needs. They will also often provide secure cloud backups for your business' data. Although not having somebody on site can sometimes be an issue, the company will always have somebody on duty, without that person having to give up on having a life.
Small companies should avoid hiring one person IT shops, whether in-house or out, for all of the above reasons. Instead, until you have grown enough to be able to afford at least two, you should go with a proper managed services provider who can handle all of your IT needs without any of these issues.