By IT Director Luke Bragg
I know more than one business owner who feels overwhelmed trying to be an expert at everything: operations, HR, financials, marketing, technology, and sales. The fact is, whether they’re an expert or not, they’re responsible for everything, all while keeping their clients happy.
When juggling these different roles, business owners can be tempted to go with a solution that will meet their bottom line—the lowest monthly cost. But don’t let a low price tag fool you. That low monthly cost too often comes with something small business owners hate: surprises.
Expensive surprises, like unanticipated downtime, broken hardware, data loss, and even ransomware and other cyber attacks. These surprises can leave you with emergency funding decisions, all-hands-on-deck attempts to recover, and revenue-losing downtime—all headaches that no small business owner wants to deal with. How much should you spend on hardware, software, data storage, cybersecurity tools, and workstation support? That’s where our expertise comes in.
What Goes into IT Costs?
Creating a predictable, repeatable, sustainable IT budget requires two important steps:
- An in-depth review of everything that touches, or is touched by, your network. There is no standard IT budget or even one-size-fits-most. Any IT services provider who slaps a flat fee on your security and equipment without looking at your systems is taking you for a ride.
- A mindset shift. Your IT budget isn’t a monthly or annual expense, it is an investment. The return on that investment is the relief and financial security that no break-and-fix model can match.
Paying for the right IT for your business increases uptime, creates more efficient work processes, and provides dependable systems. When your business is stable and ready for any problem, you can rest easy knowing you have a trustworthy business reputation, client confidence, and an operational advantage over your competitors.
Is hidden downtime affecting your business? Learn how to tackle it in this explainer.
If you want to really dig into costs, here’s just some of the important pieces to keep in mind.
- What do you currently spend on IT?
- What do you get for that cost?
- Do you currently have an outsourced IT department? A small in-house team? Is IT one of the many things you’re juggling on your own?
- Number of workstations
- Number of users
- Apple vs Windows
- Industry-specific equipment
- Number of servers
- Age of current equipment
- Functionality of current equipment
- Anti-virus/Anti-malware (enterprise-grade—not the free kind)
- Customer Relationship Manager Software (CRM)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Line of business software
- Do you have a physical firewall?
- Amount of data you have
- Local storage or cloud storage? Both?
- Number of network switches
- Wireless coverage
- Do you have password policies?
- Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
- Password management system
- Email protection software
- Do you store credit card info?
- Do you have eCommerce?
- Do you store electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI)?
- Employee Cybersecurity Training
- Cybersecurity Insurance
- Are you bound by any regulatory agencies to treat your data in a particular way?
As you can see, it’s impossible to estimate your IT expenditure without knowing your business’s individual needs.
Many of our clients have servers, firewalls, backups, disaster recovery plans, encrypted credit card information, personal employee information, and specialized line-of-business software in addition to basic help desk support.
For something like 50 workstations, depending on the other factors that come into play, your costs for this kind of enterprise-level IT could range anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 a month.
That planned, recurring, budgeted cost replaces surprises, headaches, ransomware, downtime, malware, data breaches, lost reputation, and lost revenue that come with exorbitant break-and-fix price tags.
Ready to learn more about what an IT budget that covers all of your needs might look like for your specific situation? We’d love to talk to you.