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The Pros & Cons of Do-It-Yourself IT

So, you think you can do IT yourself?
Many business owners simplify their IT needs into one question: Is my internet working? If the internet is flowing and emails are coming in, they feel that everything is right with the world.

Depending on the size and structure of your company, this may or may not be true. It is important to examine your business model when deciding whether do-it-yourself IT is right for you.

The Sole Proprietor  

A sole proprietor is a one-person show. Typically, all their business transactions are completed on a smartphone or tablet. Think auto detailers, landscapers, or hairstylists renting a booth in a local salon. For these business owners, the idea of internet technology is most likely based on the strength of their mobile network signal, so they can process client credit card transactions. 

The Case for Do-It-Yourself 

Let's face it, with this type of business, there isn’t much going on in the way of data transmission and security. The main concern is internet connectivity for credit card processing and email. This kind of business owner can usually manage their IT needs sufficiently. 

The Case Against Do-It-Yourself 

Let’s equate this to someone trying to kill a mosquito with a grenade launcher. Sure, a Managed IT Service could help the business owner when they need assistance, but if they are savvy enough to do a targeted internet search, so can Google. The only caution here is the exposure to ransomware. Ensuring a proper backup solution is in place is a critical key component.

The Verdict

A sole proprietor can have decent success with DIY IT, but one ransomware attack can cripple the business.    

The Small Professional Office

Small professional offices include law practices, general practitioners, and certified personal accountants. Connectivity and security are at the heart of the needs of their business. For these owners, concerns centralize on securing their client emails and ensuring that they have continuous internet access for their staff.  

The Case for Do-It-Yourself 

These small business owners usually want to watch every penny in their budget. This financial constraint may mean that adding a Managed IT Services provider is outside of their budget. They can easily see that their emails and wi-fi are functioning, but if not, it can usually be cleared up with a call to an internet provider. If things get too complicated, they might be forced to call in a computer whiz kid that their friend's son knows from high school. 

The Case Against Do-It-Yourself 

Look at your business as a time/expense relationship. You should not be wasting hours trying to fix your internet issues. If you can increase revenue by focusing on your business rather than spending hours trying to troubleshoot computer problems, you should be paying someone else to manage your IT. Think of this like getting your oil changed at the local auto repair shop. Sure, maybe you can do it yourself, but for most people it will take a lot longer than the professional mechanic down the street. 

Now let's think about network security and backups. At this level, most small business owners consider plugging in an external hard drive once a month or using an online backup service as running backups. Usually, they don't think their data is important enough for someone to want to steal it. However, the more critical question is, “What's it worth to you?” That’s what the hackers care about.

The Verdict

The small professional business owner can choose do-it-yourself IT, but it’s risky. Hiring a professional IT provider is usually the safer choice.


The Medium Professional Office 

The medium-sized professional office usually consists of doctors, insurance and engineering firms, or even independent real estate offices. This type of office is usually a small separate building that is not tied to a significant corporate organization, so they are left to succeed or fail on their own. Reputation and security are essential, but they are figuring it out as they grow. The foundation may be shaky, and a data breach with associated fines could ruin their business or degrade their reputation. 

The Case for Do-It-Yourself

Generally, in these offices, IT-related tasks are delegated to an employee that has a "knack" for computers. Putting an employee in charge of IT support when it is not their sole focus means that when something breaks, they must figure out how to fix it. The employee is then charged with researching the problem and working on a resolution. There is a financial benefit from tasking an employee with fixing IT issues because you do not have to pay for someone outside the organization to correct the problem.  

The Case Against Do-It-Yourself

Putting an employee in charge of IT can be messy if they don’t have professional training or certifications. In a small office with 5-20 employees, everyone needs to focus on their job, and they all require technology to get their work done. The employee charged with fixing IT issues doesn’t have a map of the network, they don’t know how to handle backups, and they don’t understand all the facets of networking and security protocols that your business needs to have in place. Chances are, they will "fix" the problem with a workaround solution, which may cause other problems in the long run.  

The Verdict

A medium professional office should not do IT themselves. You can inadvertently destroy your business because of security issues you don’t know how to handle. Hire a professional IT team.   

The Large Professional Company

Large professional companies usually have 50-200 employees and are growing because of highly sought-after products or services. They don't consider themselves to be a target for cyber-criminals, and if their email is working, all is right in their world.  

The Case for Do-It-Yourself IT

Most companies this size have a small internal IT department. Many times this department consists of a single employee. Unfortunately, the workload for this individual is far too heavy for them to both effectively service IT tickets, and plan for future IT needs and budget. IT at this level would need to ensure that you are covering all the bases with cybersecurity, network security, workstation management, and help desk activities.  

The Case Against Do-It-Yourself IT

This case is variable, depending on your situation. If your current IT department has many large projects, then it may be beneficial to outsource routine tasks to a Managed IT Service provider. A Managed IT Service provider can assist with help desk services, network security, and monitoring to build efficiency across your IT Department and company. 

The Verdict

Large professional companies should explore more than just a single solution for their IT strategy. Implementing a mix of DIY (internal department) and Managed IT Service may be the most effective option.  

The Modern Risks of DIY IT

Businesses technology is requiring more security than ever before. As technology continues to advance, it also becomes more of a target, and we find that business owners can do less and less themselves.

For most businesses, it is smart to work with a trusted technology partner in a way that benefits your business model. If you are interested in professional IT services for your business, give Bit-Wizards a call!



Wiz E. Wig, Mascot & Director of Magic
Wiz E. Wig

Director of Magic