The IT Dilemma: Who To W2 for IT?

stockxpertcom_id8109922_size4So you can hire someone as an employee to handle your IT support internally.  Great.  Who?  This discussion will focus on who a small to medium sized business should hire to handle the company’s IT support.

You’ve checked the boards and see everyone from kids in high school to retirees who just want to stay busy.  You are a company of 65 people with servers, a core switch, firewall, router and lots of end user machines – clients. (desktops & notebooks.)  The old statement, “you get what you pay for” will certainly apply here so watch out.  Yes, there are lots of people out there but you need someone who can cover all of the bases. (see my previous discussion, “The Right Outsource”)  This person doesn’t have to be a Certified Information Security Specialist Person (CISSP) but certainly one who know how to troubleshoot all of the end user machines and the peripherals like the printers – blindfolded.  The person needs to know how switches work, how routers work, and absolutely needs to know how firewalls work.  Your servers: this person needs to know how to work with the operating system running your server(s) and the applications on them like Exchange,SQL, Terminal services etc… Why?

If you hire someone who only knows the client side of things, the end user equipment, you will find yourself in big problems when, for example, the server has trouble.  The diagnosis will take forever; the resolution will be slow if you don’t call out for another person to visit, and all of this at a tremendous cost to you.  Say your firewall has a problem and you can’t communicate.  An inexperienced person will only foul that up more or at least take a long time to solve the problem.

Make sure the person of choice has strong server skills by asking what operating systems are you proficient with; knows firewalls by asking what firewalls are you skilled at like SonicWall and Cisco; does this person know how to manage switches and if so which ones.  How good is this person with Exchange or whatever you use as a communications server.  Have that person give you references that you can call and then ask them how they found him/her and call them.

For a full time employee with the skills to cover all of these technologies in the Washington DC Metro area, not in the city, you are looking at paying someone an annual salary of ninety thousand per year. ($90,000.00/year)  Why so much? Because it’s a lot to know and if they do know their stuff they will diagnose problems quicker no matter what the technology, remediate faster minimizing down time.  Also, they will know how to set an IT strategy that protects your investment as time goes on.

Don’t be fooled by a great looking resume.  Make sure they have a broad range of skills and are good at them.  They don’t need lots of certifications but do needs lots of experience.  Some of the best engineers have no certs.  They are just really good.

One last note, a company this size may benefit from using hosted and/or managed services.  These services can be used to compliment your IT staff.  If used properly your IT employee will find more time to manage bigger problems while proactively managing the entire network, from firewall to BlackBerry.

For further discussions on hosted and managed services contact Robert Lane of ASE, Inc. @ 703-273-8388 ext. 111.; ASE, Inc. is an IT consulting, engineering, hosted and managed services provider in the Washington DC metropolitan area since 2000.

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