Outsourced IT Services for Schools: Why It’s Worth It & How Much to Pay

Everything schools need to know about finding and budgeting for outsourced IT services

Managing the IT services that schools rely on can be a very unique challenge. Schools need dynamic and flexible IT solutions in place in order to efficiently respond to enrollment rates that are constantly in flux. While most schools have an employee or team of employees that are responsible for managing IT, it can often be an uphill battle to stay on top of everything that’s required to keep schools efficient and productive.

How Can Schools Benefit from Outsourcing IT Services?

As mentioned, many schools today have an in-house IT professional or team to manage network management and IT optimization. Sometimes this is just a regular employee who is relatively tech-savvy. However, schools have a lot of moving pieces and this can be a huge responsibility for one person or a small in-house team. That’s where the benefit of outsourcing IT services comes in.

When schools make the decision to outsource IT to a team of specialized professionals, they can rest assured that there is a consistent and sufficient focus being paid to the ‘big picture’. Instead of in-house IT employees struggling to troubleshoot and juggle different IT issues, a team of IT professionals – whose sole focus is the school’s network – can watch from above and solve problems before they even begin.

Here are the top benefits of outsourcing your school’s IT management:

  • Improved management and monitoring

Here’s the thing. In-house IT professionals are incredible at what they do, but the fact of the matter is, they’re often overloaded – especially in a bustling school environment where countless people rely on different technologies.

When schools outsource their network monitoring, management, and maintenance to a professional IT company, in-house staff are freed up and can rest assured that their network is running optimally and securely. This means, the entire school has access to a healthy network and the productivity benefits that come with it.

  • Cost reduction

Many people associate outsourced IT services with a cost increase. The reality is, in the long run, outsourced IT services can translate into huge cost reductions. If you decide to outsource fully, your school can save the many costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and paying a salaried in-house IT employee.

However, even if you plan to retain some in-house IT support, partnering with a managed service provider can help you get access to a variety of hardware and software for cheaper prices than you’d get on your own. Not to mention, with an extra team of IT professionals in your corner, problems will get solved quicker and downtime won’t leave your paid employees twirling their thumbs.

  • Strategic expertise

The best part about outsourcing your school’s IT services is that you’ll instantly be connected with a reliable group of certified technology professionals. With this kind of strategic experience and expertise in your corner, you’ll know for sure that your IT infrastructure is being monitored, managed, and optimized by the very best.

IT professionals who work for managed service firms are constantly supplementing their education and keeping certifications up-to-date with the latest training opportunities. When you know that your IT team is constantly working to stay on the cutting-edge, you can rest assured your IT infrastructure will be continually positioned for productivity and optimization.

  • Increased flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing to a team of strategic IT professionals is that your school will have much more flexibility from end-to-end. A strategic IT provider will be able to position your school’s network for optimal scalability.

This means your network can grow alongside your school as enrollment or staffing levels change. This kind of built-in and flexible scalability can only be provided by a dynamic team of IT professionals and is exactly what schools need to get the very most out of their IT infrastructure.

  • Productivity and efficiency boosts

We’ve covered a little bit of this already, but it must be noted that adding a professional managed IT services team to your school’s administrative force can translate into huge boosts to the overall productivity and efficiency of your school’s IT operation.

When you have a team dedicated to managing, monitoring, maintaining, and optimizing your school’s IT network, your staff and students will have a seamless and productive experience when they use school technology. Even better, you’ll free up employees from dealing with pesky tech troubleshooting and avoid disruptions to the learning experience.

  • Peak data security

Schools collect, store, and transmit a great deal of confidential student and teacher information. Without a reliable data security strategy, this sensitive information can be left vulnerable to data breaches or network crashes.

The right managed service provider will have a game plan for securing and encrypting school data and keeping the entire network locked down strategically. This way, you can say goodbye to worrying about unaddressed vulnerabilities and security gaps that threaten your school’s network and reputation.

Tips for Creating a Budget: How Much Should Your School Pay for Outsourced IT Services

Now that we’ve discussed some of the key benefits of outsourcing your school’s IT services, let’s talk numbers. How much will an outsourced IT arrangement cost your school? What kind of funding should you allocate? Will managed services fit into your school’s already tight budget?

The reality is, the IT needs of every school are different and the services offered by different managed IT companies will vary as well. While it’s impossible to give a specific dollar amount, we can assure you that managed services from the right IT service provider can definitely provide a budget-friendly option for schools of all shapes and sizes.

Here are the key things to consider when budgeting for outsourced IT services:

  • Know what’s important – Create a list of IT priorities and clearly understand the services and solutions that are most important for your team. This will help you get the most value possible out of your outsourced IT agreement and will ensure you avoid paying for services or extras that you don’t need.
  • Decide whether you’re outsourcing fully or keeping some in-house support – Have a clear idea of what support level you require. Whether you want to outsource your school’s IT services completely or only partially outsource while keeping an in-house employee, knowing the level of service and support you require will help providers give you no-nonsense quotes.
  • Communicate clearly with providers – Don’t keep your budget constraints a secret. If you have a specific amount of money that you’re able to invest, be open and honest about what you’re able and willing to spend. This way, providers can customize their services in a way that respects your budget and meets your financial limits.
  • Remember to factor in long-term cost-savings & return-on-investment – When you’re creating a budget for outsourcing your school’s IT services, don’t forget to account for the cost savings you’ll receive and the long-term return-on-investment that the provider will offer.

Finding the Right Provider: Knowing Whose Qualified to Optimize IT Management for Schools

Once you take the time to consider the benefits and understand the budget requirements, all that’s left to do is find a reliable managed IT service provider for your school. While choosing the right provider can seem daunting or tricky, the process doesn’t have to be an uphill battle – as long as you go in with the right information and the right perspective.

Here are a few guidelines to help narrow your search:

  • The best providers are teams of IT professionals who have experience optimizing IT for schools
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for specific examples of how providers have helped schools do more with their IT infrastructures
  • If a provider has worked with other schools in the past, don’t hesitate to ask for references.
  • Talk to other schools – find out whether they’re outsourcing and ask for provider recommendations.

Of course, if you’re ready to start your search for an outsourced IT provider now, we suggest reaching out to our team of IT professionals at Network Outsource. Our team has extensive experience providing IT services and support to educational institutions of all shapes and sizes. We’re committed to optimizing IT in a way that improves the lives of administrators and enriches the learning experience for students.

If you’re ready to take hold of your school’s IT infrastructure, reach out to the team of IT experts at Network Outsource for consultation. Our team will help you harness your entire IT infrastructure to ensure your entire school is positioned to run efficiently and effectively. Contact Network Outsource anytime at (516) 271-0577 or info@networkoutsource.com.