What Does IT Support Cost?

What does it cost to manage your network? It’s not an easy question to answer, because each business will have slightly different needs that can affect the cost of their IT support. An accounting team who does most of its work in-office, for example, will have different IT support needs (and costs) than a law firm with lawyers working remotely.

What we can do here is to help you understand the three main ways that businesses pay for IT support: hiring in-house staff, paying for an hourly IT consultant, or working with a flat-rate managed IT service provider. By arming you with the costs of each approach, and their relative benefits, you’ll be prepared to make an informed choice.

Should I Outsource My IT Support or Build an Internal IT Team?

The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you want to outsource your support to an IT firm or run IT as an internal function.

According to research, businesses should expect to spend on average between 2% and 7% of their revenue on IT-related costs, while other research finds that at the very low end, businesses should expect to spend is $3,000 per year, per employee, with the average being about $8,500, across all industries.

But should you run IT as an internal function or an external one? Generally, small and even midsized businesses don’t benefit from building an internal IT team, because it’s just too costly and complicated a function to run

In the Tulsa area, the average salary for an IT support specialist is $58,867. But you’ll need more than just to hire a single technician to ensure your business technology stays functioning. You’ll need to consider benefits, ongoing training, and the costs of the software tools your tech will need, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars a year.

If you want Director level expertise to help you manage your IT strategy and investment, then you may be facing a much higher yearly commitment of between $155,791 and $230,840! Obviously, that’s way out of reach of most business, which leaves you with just some of the skillsets you’ll need to thrive.

The costs alone prohibit most small businesses from hiring an IT department of their own.

Break-Fix vs. Managed IT Services

If you’ve decided to outsource, then the next decision you’ll face is whether to hire an hourly IT consultant to fix issues as they occur, also known as a break-fix provider, or work with a managed IT service provider.

The hourly IT consultant engagement is falling out of favor is that it’s not proactive; it’s reactive. That means your business is always on the back foot, losing valuable productivity as your IT support team gets locked in the permanent struggle of keeping you ahead of the next IT issue.

But that’s not the only reason that the managed IT service model has been increasing in popularity over the last decade. 

  • Misaligned Expectations
    Simply put, an hourly IT consultant wants to charge you as much as possible, while you want to pay as little as possible for their service. Unfortunately, you’re at their mercy, because you don’t know how long it should take to restore your network, which introduces mistrust into the relationship.
  • Lack of Budgeting Clarity
    The hourly engagement is inherently unpredictable and harder to budget. Complex projects like a server migration, office move, or server maintenance can mean a hefty fee that far exceeds what you were hoping to spend for IT that year. When projects expand beyond their original scope or demand more time and resources from the consultants, a common occurrence, there will almost certainly be extra stress.
  • Lack of Specialized Expertise
    Moreover, outsourcing IT to experts means you can leverage their specialized knowledge and cross-organizational experience. These experts can benchmark your performance against industry peers and recommend improvements. You can also do away with the need for internal training and the costs associated with software and tools that your team would otherwise require. This not only enhances your operational efficiency but also ensures that your business can witness significant cost savings and improved business performance across the board.

Managed IT services, by contrast, provide your business with a contractual guarantee of 99.99% or greater uptime and availability for a flat monthly fee. Budgeting this way allows for more accurate planning, better resource allocation, and improved forecasting and risk management capabilities.

In a survey by 451 Research, more than half of the respondents said that they had adopted some form of managed services. Almost half (47 percent) use managed services for day-to-day operational monitoring, alerting, and incident response.

Hiring a managed IT service allows you to focus on the core operations of your business instead of worrying about IT operations and management. Whether it’s patching your applications or scaling your IT capacity as your business grows, managed IT seamlessly manages and streamlines your IT operations.

Other Factors to Consider in Your Buying Journey

When evaluating the costs of an in-house IT team, managed IT support provider, or IT consultant, there are several other important factors to make an informed decision.

What Service Do You Need?
An in-house IT team gives you the ability to achieve almost any level of support, including 24/7 availability, tight focus in specialized IT domains, and the capacity for ongoing maintenance and emergency responses. In some rare circumstances, it may be better to have an internal IT point of contact and hire an IT company to support that person’s work, an arrangement known as “co-managed IT services.”

When hiring a managed IT company, examine the service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure they meet your operational needs. If you’re going with an IT consultant, ensure their expertise and availability align with your service requirements.

Regulated Industries Require High-Touch Support
Special regulatory compliance needs are also an important part of the IT support process. Companies in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, or legal services, face strict regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, or SOX are critical to govern their network technology. In these sectors, partnering with the right IT company can be a powerful way to access the skills and expertise you need to face those compliance requirements with confidence.

Even larger organizations can reap major compliance benefits from working with a qualified MSP. That partnership frees up internal teams to handle strategic and regulatory aspects, helps you find gaps in your compliance program, and helps your senior management sleep better at night knowing that compliance is being handled thoroughly. If you’re looking to balance the need for compliance and strategic oversight with cost and efficiency benefits of external IT support, then this hybrid approach is often a great fit.

NSN Management: The South-West’s Proactive IT Support Provider

Tired of the IT support providers that let you down? The NSN Management team helps businesses develop a strategic, proactive approach to business uptime and availability. Our customer-first philosophy of first time resolution means you never wait for a quick answer or solution to your IT problems.

Contact us any time at: 918 262 4060