With a secure connection there’s no reason why your IT team has to be onsite to run your organisation’s IT. Moreover, you could outsource your entire IT function to a remote provider, removing any need for an in-house IT department.
However, running your organisation’s IT remotely does come with some potential risks. Here we look at what they are, and provide ideas for workarounds.
Risks of running IT remotely
Giving system access to an IT service provider or remote team potentially lowers your security level to that of the provider. Conversely it could increase your security level if the IT company is providing your business with cyber security and data protection services, or has better security policies and procedures in place than your organisation does.
That said, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your organisation’s systems and data are secure, and that the IT company is not providing a backdoor to your systems via their own. A thorough risk assessment of potential partners is essential to make sure they meet your physical and network security requirements, and access and administrative control standards. If your organisation operates in the regulated industries, it’s advisable to partner with an experienced IT provider who has in depth knowledge of the regulatory framework and compliance environment.
If you’re not outsourcing all your organisation’s IT requirement, restrict access accordingly. This might involve providing access to just a segment of your network or an isolated subnet. You may also want to restrict access to only specific IP addresses, within a certain time period, ensuring that the provider only accesses your systems from their registered location and at times when you can easily monitor their activity.
Of course, if you’re outsourcing infrastructure monitoring and management the provider will require extensive access, and if you require 24/7 IT support that access also needs to be 247! However, only provide access to the systems the provider needs to provide the agreed services.
Remote IT providers may not be able to provide support for device issues, apart from talking users through ways to resolve the problem themselves. For example, if a computer, laptop or company tablet won’t boot up. If your provider is based offshore and you have issues they can’t support, you may need to find alternative technical support. Outsourcing to an on-shore IT service provider who can easily visit your site, could be a better option.
On premise IT infrastructure
Similarly it can be difficult (often impossible) for remote IT providers to support IT infrastructure faults if your organisation has on premise servers, data centres and other hardware. While many issues can be resolved via a secure VPN, some technical faults may require an onsite visit from a IT technician. Migrating to cloud solutions removes this problem.
Run your IT remotely, with site visits on demand
For many organisations it’s perfectly feasible to run the organisation’s IT remotely, and only rarely need onsite technical support. However, that support often comes at a price when you need to find an alternative provider to fix an issue asap.
By working with an onshore IT provider with sufficient coverage nationwide you can provide your business with a safety net for these eventualities. The majority of IT services can be delivered remotely, but when you do need onsite technical support you have a trusted provider to call. As well as being a more affordable solution that emergency IT support, your provider will also have an in depth knowledge of your business and IT estate, and will deliver a far better service than someone without this background insight.
For more on IT outsourcing for SMEs, download our guide below. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss your IT requirement and outsourcing it to a remote IT provider, please get in touch.