With the constant evolution and necessary maintenance of technology, many organizations are choosing managed IT services over hiring in-house. The option of having your IT needs managed by an outside company has obvious appeal. No more hiring, training, and maintaining a full-time IT staff. Instead, you can save time and money by simply hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
However, as a manager or business owner, you’re probably wondering how much money you can actually save. And if it’s worth it to hand over something as important as your technology to someone else.
Well, in this blog, we are going to shed some light on how you can estimate your managed IT services cost to see if outsourcing is right for you.
Managed IT Services Cost
Like many types of services, the cost of having your IT needs managed by an outside provider depends on multiple factors. Each business has specific technologies that may be relatively simple or quite complex. The more complex the technology, the more it costs to maintain. And the level of management you can choose from varies as well.
Managed IT services range from basic to comprehensive and are priced accordingly.
The biggest challenge with determining managed IT services cost is the fact that there are so many services that full under the umbrella of “IT.” Your business may have drastically different IT needs than another business.
To help you get a clearer picture of where you fall on the spectrum of technology service needs, let’s go over some of the basics of managed IT services.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Firstly, let us define what managed IT services mean. At its core, managed IT services mean your technology needs — whatever those may be — are managed by an outside company. A third-party team of experts will maintain some or all of your infrastructure and systems for a fee.
There is a vast range of services that fall under the IT category, though, which means managing a company’s IT could mean managing 10, 20, or 1,000 different things.
Why do Businesses Use Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services can save businesses money because outsourcing IT management is typically more efficient for most companies than employing a team of IT professionals. IT is highly complex and requires extensive training in specific technologies and practices. Employing a team with the skillset to manage all of your IT needs is costly, which is why only large corporations tend to do it.
For small and mid-sized businesses, it often makes more sense to outsource IT management. With outsourcing, you only pay for the services you need, much like you would for legal services or other specialized, potentially high-cost services.
The Two Basic Approaches to Managed IT
Managed IT services typically fall under two broad categories — fully managed IT and partially managed IT.
Partially Managed IT Services
Some businesses have one or more employees that are tasked with managing IT. If an organization has specific technology needs, it might require a dedicated IT employee or team to handle in-house. Even some companies that don’t have an absolute necessity for in-house IT still use an in-house model for the comfort of having a person there every day to deal with tasks and issues.
For these types of businesses that already employ in-house IT help, partially managed services can be a great addition. This way, an organization can customize its plan, choosing what a provider manages and when. Partial management can range from providing support for exceptionally complex tasks —possibly beyond the skill or workload of the in-house IT team — to providing support for routine tasks like security or backup administration.
Fully Managed IT Services
Moving beyond partially managed IT services, for many small to mid-sized businesses, the most economical and efficient option is to outsource all IT management. Hiring and training in-house personnel is expensive. Instead, an organization can consult with a service provider who can give expert insight, advice, and service necessary to keep your business technology running smoothly 24/7. A reputable managed IT services provider will be capable of collaborating with you and other leaders in your organization and deliver industry-leading services that an in-house team may struggle to match.
Managed IT Services Cost Models
The cost of managed IT services varies by region, provider, and customer. However, there are a few basic pricing models that many managed IT service providers use. These will help you understand a little more how pricing works.
Per User Pricing
Many service plans will be based on the number of users that are being monitored and cared for. You can calculate your users fairly easily.
Whoever is using the specified technology in your company is considered a user. So, anyone that uses a PC, Mac, laptop, mobile device, tablet, or anything else that requires IT support is someone you should count towards your total users. In today’s technology-driven workplaces, you can usually expect every employee to be a “user.”
Per Device Pricing
While per-user pricing is often a common model, per device pricing is also a possibility.
Instead of pricing services based on how many people are using the technology, the provider may offer to charge based on how many devices your business uses. You would include all the devices that you want to be covered — which really should be every device that sees any use in your company. This includes PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and other devices.
One of the other common forms of pricing is per node. A node is a system or device connected to a network. This is typically computers and servers. A node will have a unique IP address, whereas a device might not necessarily have an IP address.
What to Look for When Considering Managed IT Services Cost
Any reputable IT services company will be upfront and clear about what your services will cost and what will be covered by the fees you pay. The provider will document it in your contract so that you can verify the arrangement before you sign anything or hand over any money. Clarity is beneficial for both you as a customer and the IT company.
IT management services are further broken down into service levels. The names that different providers use may vary, but you can expect services to fall into three general tiers.
Managed IT Services Cost: Factors to Consider
IT service providers are businesses just like you. As with most, if not all, businesses, IT service providers base pricing on how much time and resources will need to be devoted to the customer to get the job done. The more difficult the job, the more they will need to charge. On top of that, the more unpredictable the job, the more pricing needs to account for possible spikes in resources.
When an IT company is determining pricing, the following factors will play a role in the final dollar value.
The complexity of your technology matrix is one of the first factors IT providers consider. Your technology matrix includes all of your technological devices and the ways that they interact with one another. The more devices, the more variety, and the more connectivity that must be maintained, the higher the workload the service provider will expect. Your systems may include:
- Antivirus Software
- Wi-Fi for internal use
- Wi-Fi for guests
- Web filtering
- Personal devices
- Cloud applications
- Unique connectivity issues — like warehouse use or outdoor use
- Business software
This is a very small list of potential devices, software, and circumstances. You can see how the complexity of a system can increase rapidly, even if you do not consider yourself a technology-oriented company.
2. Type of Service
There are many different levels of service an IT provider offers. If you’re looking for basic monitoring of your systems, your price tag will often be lower than if you’re looking for unlimited IT support and disaster recovery services. Or maybe you need cloud migration and maintenance support.
There are so many options that fall under “IT services,” and each service you need will affect how much you end up paying.
3. Onsite or Remote
Another significant factor that will affect your final bill is whether you are looking for onsite or remote support. Remote support services are typically a more affordable option for clients looking for consistent IT help than onsite support.
With remote support, you can receive IT help with just the click of a button, however onsite IT support definitely has its benefits. Know that if you choose onsite support, you might be paying slightly more to receive these benefits.
What Will My Managed IT Services Cost?
Unfortunately, you can’t get an exact quote for managed IT services from an article. The variables differ too widely from business to business and from provider to provider. However, you can use the information given here to identify where your needs lie on the spectrum of potential services.
If you’re looking for assistance determining what managed IT services might look like for you, consider signing up for a free evaluation. During this assessment, a qualified IT expert will come out to your office and take a look at your systems. They can help you determine what IT services you might need and how much they will cost.