On-site IT support vs. remote IT support: What’s better for your RIA?

On-site IT support vs. remote IT support: What’s better for your RIA?

One of the most critical aspects of running a successful registered investment advisory (RIA) or financial advisory firm is making sure that all of your IT needs are taken care of. Whether this involves setting up new hardware and software, ensuring that all your backups are working, or troubleshooting any tech issues, having a reliable IT support system is invaluable in optimizing your operations.

You have two main options when it comes to the type of IT support your RIA firm needs: on-site and remote IT support. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

On-site IT support

On-site IT support entails having a dedicated IT professional come to your office and take care of your tech needs. This individual can be either an in-house employee who is on your payroll or a third-party contractor who you hire for specific tasks or projects.

The primary benefit of having on-site IT support is that the person handling your IT needs is physically present in your office, ensuring that any pressing tech issues are addressed quickly and efficiently. Additionally, this individual can get to know your practice and how things work, which can lead to a better overall understanding of your IT requirements.

On the downside, having an on-site IT specialist can be costly, as you will have to pay a salary or an hourly fee for their services. Also, if the person leaves your firm or becomes unavailable for any reason, you will be left without expert IT support until a replacement can be found. This could lead to delays in addressing tech issues and prolonged downtime, which could have serious consequences for your RIA firm.

What’s more, most on-site IT personnel are likely to be generalists, meaning that they can handle a variety of tasks but may not be experts in any particular field. This could lead to difficulties when it comes to resolving complex tech issues or keeping up with the latest developments in specific areas such as cybersecurity or compliance.

If you hire a third-party contractor or a local IT provider in your town, you may think that it will be easier for them to come to your office and fix any tech issues. This is rarely the case, as most IT providers operate remotely and only come on-site when absolutely necessary. And in cases where they do have to visit in person, they almost always troubleshoot problems remotely first.

Remote IT support

Remote IT support, on the other hand, involves having an IT professional provide assistance from a remote location. They can do so over the phone, via email, or by using a secure remote access tool to connect to your systems. Though some may offer on-site visits as needed or whenever you want, the vast majority of their work will be done at a distance.

Remote IT support is usually more cost-effective, as you don’t need to pay for an employee’s benefits or contractor’s travel expenses. Additionally, since the IT expert can provide assistance from anywhere, you aren’t constrained by geographical boundaries when it comes to finding the right person for the job.

Another benefit of remote IT support is that you can usually get assistance more quickly if you have an IT emergency during inconvenient times, such as weekends or holidays, since the technician doesn’t need to be on site. This also means that they can start working on the issue right away, significantly reducing your downtime.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of remote IT support, however, is that you can get access to a wide range of specialized skills and expertise. Most remote IT support providers have a team of experts in different areas, meaning that you can get assistance from the person who is best suited to the task at hand.

Related reading: What should your RIA’s tech stack include?

Is on-site IT support necessary for RIAs?

Some RIA firms may find it beneficial to have an on-site IT specialist to ensure that all their tech needs are taken care of physically in the office. However, many RIAs and financial advisory firms understand that on-site support isn’t necessary and they can get great IT services with remote support exclusively. Today, there are IT services providers offering comprehensive packages that remotely cover all the basics such as monitoring, backups, and cybersecurity.

For instance, RIA WorkSpace provides managed IT services tailored to the specific needs of RIAs. Our team of experienced technicians can configure, maintain, and troubleshoot your systems remotely, enabling your office to run as smoothly and securely as possible.

Even during the initial setup, we take care of everything remotely — we configure all computers, firewalls, switches, wireless access points, and other devices before we ship them out to you. You can simply plug them in, and we will walk you through the rest of the setup process. If you would prefer to have a technician come to your office to assist with the setup, we can also arrange that for you for an additional fee. Our clients opt for the remote option 90% of the time, since it tends to be faster and more cost-effective.

Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not you should go for on-site or remote IT support depends on your firm’s needs and preferences. Keep in mind that many RIAs find remote IT support to be a more affordable and convenient way to manage their tech needs.

If you’re ready to get started with remote IT support, contact RIA WorkSpace today. We’ll be happy to discuss your needs and put together a tailored solution that fits your budget.