Pros and Cons of Local Governments Outsourcing IT

managed IT Services

If you work in local government, making decisions about what functions to outsource vs hire internally can get complicated. You're likely balancing a tight budget all while performing regular job duties. Whether those responsibilities include case management, handling critical data, or any other crucial job functions, you shouldn't stress about technology on top of it.

To simplify things, here are some pros and cons of outsourcing your IT management vs hiring an in-house IT specialist to manage your network.

How Does a Managed IT Service Help the Local Government? (Pros)

You'll find that there's a wide range of services managed service providers (MSPs) can offer government agencies. A few pros include reduced cost, ease with scaling and managing hardware and software, and perks associated with having an entire support team in your corner.

1. Outsourcing Solves Hiring & Turnover Roadblocks

It can be tough to find qualified talent, and even harder to retain it with so many companies recruiting the best and brightest. If you opt to hire an IT professional, you could go through a great deal of searching, hiring, and investment, only to find yourself starting over if they leave or get recruited to another role.

Hiring an IT provider will eliminate the risk of leaving your municipality without IT support. This can help to exponentially scale your IT capabilities, and you won’t need to stress about who is to maintain your network infrastructure.  

2. Managed Government IT Services are More Cost-Effective Than In-House

In today’s market, salaries in the IT sector are more competitive than ever. This means that if you want qualified candidates, you’ll need to cough up a salary that’s at least on par with the average pay for these roles. This might not be possible depending on your budget.

Even if you can pony up the salary to reel in candidates, the added cost of benefits and insurance can add up quickly. After considering the amount of combined experience you get from an IT provider, the cost-benefit analysis makes it clear that an IT provider is more worthwhile.

3. Ability to Scale & Maintain IT Solutions for Government

An in-house IT professional may also struggle to keep up with the demands of maintaining an entire network. An outsourced team, however, will have the time and resources to optimize, secure, and manage it. For this reason, if you have an existing IT specialist on staff, outsourcing IT can be a great way to supplement the work they do.

Concerns with Outsourced Tech Support For State and Local Government (Cons)

A University of Portsmouth Business School study measured top concerns with outsourcing IT solutions for local government decision-makers. It concluded that the intersection of the private and public sectors can be a tricky one due to the culture of cautious risk reduction present in local government. However, there are some ways to put these concerns at ease.

1. Hidden Costs & Fees 

According to the study, the number one concern among decision-makers with outsourcing government IT solutions is the hidden costs. Local governments often have tight budget constraints, which makes the idea of tacked-on fees for labor and devices a major headache.

To mitigate this, make sure you fully understand IT service contracts, so you’re not surprised by fees related to extra services not covered by your regular payments. It’s also helpful to develop a trusting relationship with your chosen provider, so it’s wise to select a service with personable and transparent sales reps and VCIOs. 

2. Loss of Internal Capabilities & Control / Over-Dependence

Another major fear the study uncovered was the idea of losing internal capabilities by eliminating in-house IT roles. This also ties into decision-maker concerns that their municipalities will become overly dependent on their IT provider, and thus unable to solve issues on their own. 

This may seem daunting, but considering how much an IT provider can bring to the table, there’s no way a single or even a few government IT specialists could bring the same level of expertise. An IT company will have IT technicians, VCIOs, cybersecurity specialists, and more on staff to optimize and secure your network.

Unless you are able to hire a candidate with all of this combined experience, hiring internally won’t deliver nearly the same efficiency.

3. Entrusting Cybersecurity & Data Protection to an IT Provider

Cybersecurity is a big worry for local governments, which is a justifiable concern since the rise in cyber attacks after the pandemic. Governments handle extremely sensitive information, so they are often concerned with handing off their cybersecurity strategy to an MSP or managed security service provider (MSSP).

Insider Threats Are Your Main Risk

Remember that cybersecurity providers are trained professionals, often with years of experience handling sensitive information correctly. Insider threats are your biggest cybersecurity risk, in fact, due to intentional or unintentional data breaches. 

Disgruntled employees may try to damage your organization by leaking information or otherwise causing havoc for your system. Well-meaning employees can also be security risks if they aren’t properly trained on email security or data protection.

This can be mitigated through the guidance and training provided by an MSP along with data backups/offsite cloud backups.

What Makes a Worthwhile Managed IT Provider?

To review, some details that will determine the success of your IT outsourcing include:

  • Your readiness to partner with and form a strong relationship with a provider
  • The transparency of IT contracts and providers
  • The flexibility of your staff to adopt new technology and cybersecurity practices
  • How well a provider can listen to your needs and create customized technology solutions

To learn more about determining if a government IT solutions provider is right for you, read our blog: 10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Managed Services Provider.

If you're ready to find the best government technology solutions to serve your community, click the button below to speak to an experienced information technology specialist.

Get a Tech Evaluation

About Jada Sterling, Digital Content Manager

Jada Sterling is Usherwood's Content Manager. She is responsible for developing content that furthers the mission of Usherwood Office Technology by helping clients and prospective clients better understand how technology can help grow their business.