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How Much Should Your IT Cost?

What is the “Right Price” for (Outsourced) IT Support?

The number one question that people ask us when we present our ideas for IT support solutions is "How much does it cost?" The second question is often, “Why so much?”

Here we aim to provide some insight into what drives most Managed Service IT pricing models.

Managed Services are, by default, a very proactive purchase. With the mounting security breaches and rise in email attacks over the past few years, many companies understand the need for a proactive IT plan. Options include having an IT specialist on staff; if you are a company with 10 or more employees, this may be a good solution. However, this puts the burden of “best practices” onto one person or a small team. and relies on the depth and knowledge of their skill set.

Surprisingly, there are many companies where they attempt to “go it alone,” without any IT support team. In fact, a large percentage of business owners understand intellectually that the risk of not having an effective safety plan in place puts their company at immense risk, yet they still hesitate to take action and invest in one.

Most Managed Service providers charge in one of two ways; either per-user or per device. This fee is generally monthly, recurring and can range anywhere from $75.00 per user/ device or go as high as $250.00 per user/ device depending on the pricing preferences of the Provider. This pricing model may or may not be part of an "all you can eat '' offering; where all remote and on-site support is included in the monthly charge. Some Managed Service Providers outline certain limitations to the unlimited support and may classify more extensive projects (such as a company-wide data migration or new user setups for example) as "extra" and charge an additional fee. Therefore, it is important to be sure to agree on a cost for special projects up-front to avoid overpaying down the line in the event that something does not go as planned or the tech team needs to spend more time than originally budgeted for.

Additionally, some Managed Service Providers sell subscription-based software to their clients, and these charges (whether one time fees or monthly recurring), will likely also be part of your monthly billing. Examples of these can include licenses for Office 365, Dropbox for Business, (or another Cloud-storage solution), Adobe and/ or other cloud-based subscriptions. The cost for these licenses can range anywhere from 5.00 per user/ per month to upward of 599.00 per user/ per month (what you may see from a mid-sized company using Adobe). The actual price-point for these subscriptions depends on which license(s) you are using as well as how many users you have who need it, so basically it varies from company to company.

The important thing, however, to keep in mind, is that in almost all cases, the Managed Service Provider, is NOT charging you more than you would pay for the same licenses were you to order them on your own directly from the manufacturer or a third-party. In fact, most of the time, the Managed Service Provider is actually able to offer you the same pricing but with better value- because they are able to include Enterprise-level support or quicker turnaround than you would have gotten as a "regular" business buyer --- at no additional cost.

Outside of this, there is really nothing else your Managed Service Provider should be billing you for.

The final thing to consider when it comes to costs for IT is telecom and internet billing. Many, but not all, Managed Service Providers can handle purchasing, setting up and maintaining your phone system(s) and/ or internet line(s) though these services will be directly billed to your company. Note, we said handle not sell. Often (but not always), your MSP, will serve as a liaison between you and your phone and/ or internet service provider but you will still be paying the provider directly - so those costs will not appear on your monthly service agreement from the MSP, but as a separate billing (depending on whether or not the phone and internet provider(s) are the same or two different companies). There is a benefit to having your MSP handle this for you. Ever wait on hold with Verizon for eternity to get a tech out to your site? An MSP who is also a Master Agent typically gets business-level access and support via a dedicated sales rep, which gets priority over the solo user. Aha and here is another example of where an MSP can offer you added value on your bill for the same cost.

Your average internet provider will run you about 150.00 a month with 5 Static IPs for average speeds (150/ 150 meg), though this price can fluctuate greatly based on where you are located, whether your area is deemed "mass market" and whether or not a build-out is required to get the service into your building or if the internet provider is already in there. If anyone has told you that their Managed Service Provider gets them better internet service than you, that is not true. All the business internet you order, whether it's on your own or through an MSP, is the same - works the same, looks the same, is the same. However, the service that you receive should be expedited with an MSP involved.

Questions to ask if you have quotes from more than one Managed Service Provider as there is more to what a company offers than just services.

1. Do they offer a certain SLA (Service Level Agreement) and if so, what is it?

2. Do they have a standard, proven, process in place for documenting policies and procedures (This translates into money in your pocket because better documentation means less bothering your staff for info. and quicker problem-resolution)

3. What about their staff? Are they staff better qualified than the cheaper alternative()? What kind of credentials do they have?

4. How long have they been in business? And what is their reputation from a variety of clients?

5. Are they adequately securing your environment and do they have the documentation to prove it?

More questions, let us know 

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Teaching Tech in Belize --- What it Taught me

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I quickly realized that though these girls came from an “underdeveloped country,” their commitment and determination --- and perhaps the absence of outside distractions --- enabled them to focus and advance both their skills and abilities. The program culminated in each of the girls developing their own product or service to sell, as well as a website to represent it; both created over the course of just one week. Each of the girls had something amazing to present, and it was evident from the quality of their work that the talent-game was strong in Belize. The girls were tasked with explaining why they picked their project, and the creativity we saw was astonishing. One girl created a website, which was a self-help guide for people afflicted with asthma. She explained that the reason she picked this particular project was because of her own experience. She suffers from asthma and had an attack once where she was challenged by not being able to get to medical help in time. Thus, she had to figure out how to solve the problem on her own. This site would be to help others in the same situation. Another girl created an online store for people to purchase feminine-hygiene products anonymously since she said that many of her friends felt uncomfortable getting what they needed otherwise. The creativity and resourcefulness of each of these young girls blew my mind, but what I loved most, was seeing women getting ahead in tech in a country that’s third world and also being able to interact with so many other smart women in tech. At the awards ceremony on the last day of the camp, a few of the girls shared their experiences from the week. One girl, Sole, told us how before this program, she always thought of IT as a field that was “so, so boring” but her experience “made her change her mind and realize how fascinating IT actually can be.” She expressed that she found herself looking forward to pursuing a career in tech. 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I learned that The Inn at Twin Palms where we stayed, offered us lodging there at a very discounted rate, and also, the local news station came down to the school multiple times throughout the week to give media coverage to the program. Now that I am back in New York, the work is far from over. The Society of Woman Coders has been in ongoing contact with the Belizian government to set up follow-up programs for the girls, as well as offer them additional resources, mentors and online support groups. The goal is to continue to foster their newfound knowledge and interest in tech. Word already has caught on, and since hearing about the work we did in Belize, many other developing countries have been reaching out to Kavya to inquire about bringing the program to their girls as well. But, for me, I know that these young girls from Belize will always have a place in my heart and I cannot help but feel grateful to RCS, The Society of Women Coders, and of course, all of Belize, for the opportunity to have been part of it.