IT outsourcing has become commonplace in the financial and professional services industries. More firms are now seeing the value in bringing in a managed service partner or vendor, especially with the increase in new technology and constant innovation in IT. However, choosing a vendor or partner to manage your IT needs requires your time and consideration. Continue reading for some of Eze Castle Integration's best practices when looking to outsource IT for your firm.
Perform a self-assessment of your firm
The first step when looking to outsource your IT needs is to do some reflecting on your firm's needs. Ask yourself the following:
What is right for your firm?
What are your firm's IT priorities?
What is the organization looking to achieve?
An assessment can help your firm find a compatible provider who understands your industry as well as your priorities and goals.
Perform Due Diligence
Once you know what you are looking for in a firm, it is crucial to perform due diligence on an IT service provider.
- Have they done projects similar to this before?
- Who are some of their clients?
- Are they familiar with the specific needs of your industry?
You want to make sure that your firm is aligned with the provider in terms of expectations of service, project management, as well as expertise.
Pick the Right Projects to Outsource
Not all projects should be outsourced. One common trend in the financial industry is outsourcing migration to the cloud. While a CTO or director of IT could perform this in-house, it is a complicated project that a firm may undertake just once. On the flip side, a managed service provider has likely managed hundreds of cloud migrations and knows the ins and outs.
Additionally, your firm has to consider which cloud model fits best with the organization. In the past, Private Cloud was usually the go-to for firms, as it was considered the most secure model. Now, firms both start-up and well-established, big and small, are evaluating a hybrid cloud approach. Having a Hybrid Cloud model, or using both the Public and Private Cloud, can provide a firm flexiblity while also enabling key security layers.
It is crucial to have this conversation with an experienced Managed Service Provider, as selecting the right model depends on the firm's priorities. Again, while the CTO or Director of IT could make these decisions and perform the migration, there is often value in bringing in a partner who has done this many times for similar organizations in the same industry.
Make Sure Critical Needs Are Met
Ensure that your vendor is meeting all the critical needs of your organization. Example: they should be employing a layered approach to cybersecurity. Additionally, ensure the security tier your firm applies aligns with your organization's risk profile.
Tier 0: Basic - Must have protections for any size investment firm
Tier 1: Standard - Industry-standard policies and infrastructure protections
Tier 2: Advanced - Forward thinking IT solutions for institutional grade security
We used to only see Tier 2 in the largest and most established firms, but with cybersecurity being a top of mind for many, more organizations are choosing protections from Tier 2. For more information on the Cybersecurity Tiers, click here.
Choose a Vendor/Firm That Can Grow with You
When choosing an IT vendor, make sure that their services are scalable with your firm. It takes time to get even the best vendor up-to-speed, and if you plan on growing your firm, you need to ensure that the service provider can grow with you. You don't want to have to repeat the entire process of self-assessment, due diligence, getting C-Suite buy in, etc. in a couple of years because the firm you chose is no longer able to support an organization of your caliber.
Look for a Vendor You Can Trust
This could be the most important practice of all. Trusting your IT vendor or partner is crucial. Accountability and transparency provides clarity, keeps projects on track and ensures alignment of goals between the two organizations. Lack of trust between the organizations creates confusion and slows processes down.