Teamwork is Always Better: Network Administrators vs. Managed Service Providers

Teamwork is Always Better: Network Administrators vs. Managed Service Providers

Businesses often find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place in the IT world. On one side they have their full time IT Administrator, who may have been with them since they were just a thought and computers were still notepads and pencils. Or they can have that IT Administrator who has slowly upgraded them over time, but waits years to upgrade things which should only take months. On the other side of the fence, businesses have the fear of hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP) which some believe may try to force them to upgrade too fast, causing them to spend too much money too early, on software and equipment they don’t need. It makes decisions for business owners and executives tough on how to manage their IT systems. There is another way, however.

Managed Service Providers are beginning to tailor themselves to the needs of their clients and the speed of their business, educating their support teams to be more sensitive to operations. Instead of responding to problems by recommending an immediate upgrade of everything the business has, MSP technicians and administrators focus on creating a plan that the business can stick to, one that meets their needs and can be modified in the ever changing industry world. The following is a comparison between using MSP or having an in-house Network Administrator:

Network Administrator

  • Full Salary (plus benefits)
  • One person in charge of everything
  • In case of emergencies, one point of contact
  • Technology upgrades based on singular research with or without testing, possible network analysis
  • Keeps systems running, fixes computers when they die
  • Five year plan optional
  • 9-5 cover


  • Yearly or Monthly Contract
  • One point person followed by full team of certified/experienced technical specialists/consultants
  • In case of emergencies, interchangeable members of team available to counter multiple issues.
  • Technology upgrades based on committee format with testing and network analysis
  • Keeps systems running, replacing parts before systems die, not after
  • Five year plan always created for client, tailored to client’s needs and industry
  • Central management system, allowing for better response times for viruses
  • Round the clock coverage for employees working late
  • Remote management system, less expensive than on site repair work

MSP and Network Administrators can be compared by using an old story:

A father brought his daughter a stick and asked her to break it over her knee. The little girl easily did so, for which her father proudly praised her. He then handed her a bundle of sticks and asked her to try the same exercise without hurting herself. Curious, after failing to break the sticks, the girl looked at her father who replied, “Together as a family we can withstand more than as individuals.”

A business looking to grow cannot use one person to build, but a team of technicians can provide and work as a group and a family to make sure the client receives everything they need. This same team can be used to augment the services by your onsite network administrator, giving them the team they deserve. This builds trust and makes the business more profitable. If you are considering your company’s future IT department structure, consult with a Managed Service Provider to see what benefits you receive by working with a team of technicians.

Nick McCourt

Article contributed by Nick McCourt, IT Consultant, Tier One Technology Partners

About Tier One Technology Partners: MKS&H’s technology consulting group, Tier One Technology Partners provides your growing organization with IT strategy and effective IT services solutions to keep you one step ahead. Tier One was founded in 2000 in the response to listening to the needs of our clients and the business challenges that they were facing in such a rapidly changing IT environment. Thus, Tier One was developed with the simple goal of being an IT consultant, partner, and support firm.

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