IT Support for Small Business is becoming one of the hardest decisions made for a new or young business owner. What is the difference in no IT, outsourced IT or in-house IT?
The Challenge of IT Support for Small Business
One of the greatest challenges among small business owners today is making the decision about IT support and maintenance of the information system; whether to hire an in-house IT tech or to outsource IT support for their business. With the relatively recent availability of Managed Services for small business, the list of choices – and decisions – has grown once again.
We The IT Team are constantly searching for ways to make the decision making process simpler and easier for you, the small business owner. To help you with that, today we will take a look at the IT support choices currently available, as well as some of the costs involved. (Although we have tried to give you some idea of the costs involved, please remember that these are merely estimates based on averages, and that the actual cost of IT support services can vary greatly, based on the needs of each business.)
Self-managed IT Support:
According to Robert Half, the national median income for an in-house IT tech is currently running at a bit over $70,000 per year, with the upper end of that range reaching nearly $90,000 annually. For more experienced technicians, the median pay rate is above $78,000 annually, with the upper range much closer to $85,000 yearly. These pay ranges include salary, bonuses, and profit sharing for in-house employees, but do not include benefits, such as health insurance.
If we choose a salary of $70,000 for the purpose of this comparison, we must then add benefits, sick pay, vacation time, and your annual payroll tax. These will total approximately $13,000 a year. Purchasing an IT Management System application could easily set you back by $1000, plus training in the new application, which would likely cost about $2500 per user. The total for one-time expenses will range from $3500 to $10,000, depending on the number of user desktops involved. Total cost of salary and benefits for your new IT specialist would be about $100,000 per year, though it could be more.
Outsourcing your IT Support:
For many small business owners, outsourcing their IT support needs may seem extravagant due to the hourly rate that such companies charge. However, this type of support can be extremely cost-effective because of the expertise being purchased, the experience the techs who visit are able to offer, and the backup provided by the team that supports them. Further, as a small business owner, you should easily be able to budget for the monthly expense, based on the system evaluation and recommendations of the company you employ as your IT support team.
A responsible IT support company will always begin with an objective assessment of your information system, along with recommendations for the work they will perform to meet your needs. In other words, they will not “pad” the bill, but will only perform the tasks you request of them. This can greatly reduce the cost of IT support for your small business, rather than hiring an in-house tech and paying an annual salary, as discussed above.
Beyond this, a reputable IT support company will guarantee the expertise of the tech they send you. The tech will also possess a great deal more experience than an employee, as they deal with a variety of systems every day. In most cases, there will be little they have not seen, which will allow them to handle your specific needs more efficiently. Further, they will most likely assign a particular technician to your account, someone who will visit you regularly, allowing them to become intimately familiar with your information system and the needs of your business, and with whom you will build a relationship of trust over time.
Best of all, your service will always be hands-on, with a live human being in place to answer your questions.
The cost of this type of support can vary greatly, depending upon the age and number of servers and desktops being used in your organization. However, you will usually be able to save money by purchasing blocks of time in advance and only using the hours purchased on as as-needed basis. For the average small business, you should probably budget for something between $1000 and $2500 per month, a vast savings over hiring an in-house IT tech.
Managed Services IT Support:
With remote monitoring of your small business information system now available 24/7, 365, this option has become one of the more cost-effective and appealing choices among small business owners in today’s marketplace. For a flat rate monthly fee, business owners and IT managers can now purchase pro-active monitoring and maintenance of servers, desktops, and remote machines being used by their company. In addition to this, a business may also subscribe to this type of service in a graduated, piecemeal fashion; perhaps beginning with managed antivirus protection, then gradually adding email monitoring for spam and continuity, email archiving, desktop monitoring, mobile device monitoring, online data backup services, and more.
By using such a service, your small business will find it very easy to budget for them. Because of the flat rate subscription fee you will pay each month, there will be no budget-busting surprises. As each of the managed services you’re using begins to save you money, by reducing system downtime and increasing productivity, you’ll be able to add another layer of protection, without having to invest in expensive an all-in-one package.
The most important benefit of a managed services program is that it is fully automated and never rests. The system is working on your behalf 24/7, 365, monitoring and maintaining your information system even while you sleep. You will also receive notification of impending problems, allowing you to intervene before your system goes down.
Once again, the cost of a managed services package for your small business will have a number of determining factors. Beginning with the age of your equipment and software, as well as the number of machines and users, to the selection of the various management and maintenance services to which you subscribe, these will determine the monthly cost of your choices. A la carte services may begin for as little as $2-$15 per month per machine, and range upward from there. For the average small business, your monthly cost may range from $500 to $2000 per month for ‘round-the-clock protection of your information system, data, and workstations. You should consult with an IT support provider for more information on a managed services package features and costs.
IT Support Service Packages
For most of our small business clients, a combination of outsourcing their IT support to us, along with one of our proactive managed services packages has been the ultimate solution to their IT needs. This type of cost-effective combination of support services has provided them expert IT support when needed on-site, as well as the 24 hour protection of their information system that they need for their peace of mind. “It’s good to sleep again at night!” they tell us.
If this information has been helpful, and you would like to know more about how Managed Services and IT support service packages from North Star could benefit you and your business, the IT experts at We The IT Team are here to help you with all of your IT support needs right around Australia. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your IT service request for help with your operating system, apps, servers, VoIP system or any other IT issues you may have.