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IT Support Options for K-12 Schools

3 Options For IT Support And How To Choose The One That Fits Your K-12 School

If you’re an Operations Manager or Executive Director of a K-12 school, chances are you have looked into IT support options. For those unfamiliar with the world of IT support, it can be confusing trying to figure out which option is best for your school. You might be interested in the most cost-efficient option but worry that it won’t offer enough support. Maybe you have looked at more extensive options and wondered what is truly necessary for your school’s needs.

It can be problematic to look at cost alone to decide which option is best for you. When determining IT needs, there are three predominant options – that all come with different benefits and drawbacks – to consider before factoring in the cost of the company.

Those in the industry who use the time-and-materials option are often referred to as “break-fix services.” This essentially means that you pay an agreed-upon hourly rate for a technician to “fix” a problem when something “breaks.” Many people like this option because it is the most straightforward and simple way to pay for IT assistance, but it often doesn’t work in your favor and can even lead you to pay more for basic services.

The only time that I would recommend the time-and-materials approach is if you already have a competent IT person or team proactively managing your IT and you need additional support for a problem that your current IT team doesn’t have the expertise to handle. Under the break-fix model, you’ll find a fundamental conflict of interest between you and your IT firm. The IT company has no immediate need to stabilize your network because they are getting paid hourly. Computer networks absolutely need ongoing maintenance and monitoring to stay secure – something the break-fix model cannot supply.

In this option, the IT services company takes over the role of your in-house IT department for a fixed and agreed-upon monthly rate. They’ll install, support and maintain all of the users, devices and PCs that are connected to your network on a routine basis. They will even take care of your hardware and software needs for an extra cost. This model works for many organizations because it allows them to plan for IT services in their monthly budget and provides them with routine maintenance and IT support that they will need. With managed IT services that are offered by managed services providers, you need to pay attention to the services they deliver for their monthly fees. Sometimes your needs may cost extra or the services you truly need are simply not offered.

It’s my sincere belief that the managed IT approach is undoubtedly the most cost-effective and intelligent option for any K-12 school. Managed IT services are all about protecting your students and staff from IT-related problems while keeping your systems up and running. In our current age, cybercriminals are working around the clock, trying to gather valuable data. K-12 Schools have become especially vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches over the last few years. Hiring a managed services provider will help protect your organization and prevent common “disasters” such as rogue employees, lost devices, hardware failures, fires, natural disasters and a host of other issues that can interrupt or outright destroy your IT infrastructure and the data it holds.

The final option that you will run into on your hunt for IT support is companies offering technology as a service. These companies offer everything that managed IT services offer but with the addition of new hardware, software and support. This service ensures that your school is always up-to-date with the newest technologies. You’ll need to read the fine print, though since many of these companies do not cover third-party software. The greatest benefit of technology as a service is that you’ll avoid the heavy cost of new hardware and software when you need it, but you will be paying far more for the same hardware and software over time.

Choosing the correct form of IT support for your K-12 school is incredibly important and something you want to attend to. Mistakes could have disastrous effects on your organization. If you’re unsure of which model will work best for you, give us a call. We’d be glad to help you find the perfect IT support for your school.