Better IT Results Tip: Risks of Using an Independent IT Consultant

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In a recent conversation with a prospective client, I asked them how they currently handle IT. The business owner said, “Well, we have an independent IT guy. He has a full-time job, but he helps us out during evenings and weekends.”

I asked him how much he pays his IT guy. “By the hour” he says. So I asked who handles IT issues during the business day. “Oh, we just handle them ourselves, or wait until he can fix it”, he says. I asked about Technology Planning, IT budgeting, and cybersecurity. “We don’t have any of that”.

This of course is an extreme example, but many companies do have independent IT consultants. And for some businesses, that may be acceptable. But it is important to understand the risks and hidden costs associated with this type of IT support.

1st Party & 3rd Party Risk

If one of your users clicks on a phishing email that leads to a cyber attack, that is considered 1st party risk. You have business insurance and cyber insurance to help cover your losses. But when you use a 3rd party such as a software vendor, IT consultant, or Managed IT Provider, that is considered 3rd party risk. Does your 3rd party have cyber insurance to protect themselves, and professional liability insurance to protect you in the event of an error on their part?

Big Picture IT Planning

When you have an independent IT consultant and you pay him by the hour for IT support and services, you often don’t get any big picture IT planning such as a regularly updated Technology Roadmap, IT budgeting, or recommendations on cybersecurity protections. This might be because you don’t want to pay for those recommendations, or because your IT consultant doesn’t provide those types of services.

Hidden Costs & Risks

  • Your internal people performing IT tasks – If your independent IT consultant is unavailable (or you don’t want to pay for their time to fix simple IT issues), you may just let your internal people handle the issue on their own, which slows down their work and could also result in extra cybersecurity risk if they inadvertently cause a cybersecurity incident.
  • Slow Response to IT issues – If your IT consultant can’t get to your critical IT issues in a timely manner, you can experience productivity losses for your team and possible loss of revenue.
  • Lack of Big Picture IT planning – Without the proper IT planning, your IT systems might become inefficient, out of date, or even have severe cybersecurity risks.

Rowing in the Same Direction

Here’s the dirty secret about an independent IT consultant who works by the hour – he makes MORE money when you’re having IT issues. With a Managed IT provider who acts as your Technology Success Partner, you get flat monthly billing for IT support. It is in their best interest for your IT operations to run smoothly and for there to be fewer IT issues. They make more money when you have smooth IT operations, which means you’ll make more money because you aren’t dealing IT issues. That means you and your Technology Success Partner are rowing in the same direction.

If you’d like to have a conversation about how to get better IT results, let’s schedule a complimentary Discovery Call.