Can Your Business Survive If Your IT Person Leaves?
If your IT person suddenly decided to quit tomorrow, would your company be able to continue running smoothly? Chances are, that loss would have a significant impact across your entire business. While there are many great benefits of having an in-house IT specialist that you can count on, the unknowns can be a big source of ever-growing fear for companies big and small. Sure, it’s only one person leaving. But think about how important that IT specialist’s role is to everyday operations. When you consider the value of good IT support, one person leaving becomes a huge issue.
Potential Issues You’ll Have To Deal With
When your IT person leaves, you’re not just dealing with one less employee around your office. You’re faced with a bevy of issues that you need to take care of immediately. Here are just a handful of potential problems you will need to face.
Loss of Secure Access: Do you have passwords to any part of your system’s backend? Most executives and those in management roles do not. Knowing those passwords is the job of your IT staff. So, when that person leaves, you’re faced with major access issues. You won’t be able to get into critical systems or even have the tools you need to regain access. This can bring your entire business to a grinding halt.
A Lack of Documentation: In addition to having no passwords, you’ll also be left with very little documentation. Most IT professionals do not keep libraries full of information on how to keep your systems running smoothly. They’re a silo of knowledge themselves and keep everything in their brain. When they leave, so does that crucial information.
Rebuilding Costs: Having your IT specialist leave essentially forces you to start from square one. Not only do you have to hire a new person, but they will need time to understand and/or rebuild your system. This is not a quick process. It can take several months. Plus, you have to think about the added costs and hiccups in productivity.
Crisis Mode: Perhaps the biggest issue you’ll face is that your business will be put in crisis mode. Without a dedicated person to handle network solutions or hardware problems, every member of your team will have to figure things out on their own. This leads to quick decisions and irrational thinking. It’s not uncommon for things to fall apart even more quickly when people are left to take care of problems they’re not qualified to address. It’s always good to have some kind of backup plan to prevent this from happening. At the very least, you should have some systems in place to take care of IT matters in the interim.
What Solutions Are Available?
Whether you’re looking to replace an internal employee who suddenly left or you’re considering investing in IT support for the first time, you have many options available to you.
A staffing agency can get you a qualified IT specialist pretty quickly. However, there are some caveats. It requires hiring a recruiter and working with the new employee on a contractor basis. It’s not exactly like having an in-house person.
• Fast fulfillment
• Potential to become a permanent hire
• On-site response is faster
• No real hiring process
• Most contractors will charge extra for tools
• You’re getting someone who speaks tech, not business
• Contractors have no clear strategy to help you improve business
Permanent Hires: If you want to go the traditional route, you can hire a new employee permanently. This involves going through the entire hiring and training process.
• You can forge a personal connection
• They can learn your business more intimately
• Quick on-site response to issues
• You have to find employees yourself or pay for a recruiter
• The company must pay for training, salary and benefits
• The company must invest in management and tools
• You’re paying for someone who speaks tech, not business
Outsourced IT Company: Off-site IT is an excellent choice for small businesses. While you don’t have an internal employee to speak to, there’s no need to worry about any sudden departures like a permanent hire, or investment in training and tools needed to service your company.
• Affordable costs and cost control
• Streamlined processes
• More breadth and depth of expertise
• You get many professionals working on your needs
• They can create a strategy for your business
• You’re getting a team that talks business, not just tech
• No one throat to choke
• May take some time to find the right company
• Contracts require longer terms
Outsourced IT Consultant:
An IT consultant is someone who advises businesses on how to best utilize technology. While not in-house personnel, they can provide you with support to keep things running smoothly.
• You can connect with them personally
• They’re driven to provide good support because it is their livelihood
• They can create custom strategies for your company
• Not all consultants are available whenever you need them
• Limited to one person’s time
• Tend to charge more
• Their behavior can turn malicious if their livelihood is threatened
Relying on a single IT professional to take care of all your needs sounds good in theory. However, most companies are faced with several issues when that person suddenly leaves. The best way to prevent any serious IT problems is to plan ahead and have a fail-safe in place to ensure that no major interruptions affect your business.
“Can Your Business Survive If Your IT Person Leaves?” was first published by Forbes.com on March 12, 2020