Many businesses are turning to managed IT support to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Rather than employing an extensively trained, expensive team in-house, outsourcing this function ensures that the infrastructure is in the hands of experienced and well-qualified IT professionals.
With a Managed Services Provider (MSP), businesses only pay for the services they need, whether it be a fully or partially managed package. That said, how much should a business ideally spend on an MSP in the South Florida area? The answer is dependent on the type of services needed.
The problem often times is that providers will not talk price until after presenting all of their services. However, when it comes to signing up with the best MSP, this amount must be known to properly budget for the service.
MSP pricing varies by region and provider
In South Florida as in other regions, a majority of providers base services on these variables.
Number of Users
The number of users in the network requiring monitoring is a first consideration in price and the most commonly used. This would include everyone in the business using a PC, laptop, Mac, or mobile device.
Number of Devices
Per device pricing is also a method the MSP will use. This would include every device that is to be covered, rather than users.
The above costs also include monitoring devices, anti-virus protection and other extras as well as support. This is usually a fixed price. However, there is another approach known as "Break/Fix." In Break/Fix when equipment malfunctions due to data loss, hardware, viruses, etc, which tends to be pricier.
The Cost of Managed IT in South Florida
Managed IT services costs are directly dependent on the level of support. As a result, they can range from a low of $10 per user/device to as high as $250 per user/device.
It goes without saying that the higher the cost, the greater the quality and level of service. For example, those that pay the $250 per month will receive the most efficient service with no surprise add-on costs and receive top-notch support. However, these higher end costs and services are usually paid by larger enterprises or multi-location businesses who cannot afford any downtime.
Conversely, smaller businesses could pay between $10-$100 per user/device a month. This entry level fee mainly buys security and oversight with limited benefits. Should unexpected issues arise, another $50-$300 per hour depending on the complexity of the problem, could be incurred. At these rates, they tend to have add-on costs for additional services such as onsite work and special projects.
In between the lowest priced option and premium service is a mid-range IT service. This service can include IT planning, design, and strategy, as well as system backups, 24/7 support, remote support, and disaster recovery. Average monthly charges for this level of service runs from $50-$200 per user per month.
What is Commonly included in Managed IT Service Agreements?
Specific service agreements with the above components are commonly structured as follows:
Time and Materials (T&M)
This is the simplest and most inexpensive plan offered. In this agreement, the provider is paid as repairs are made, similar to the Break/Fix agreement. The monthly cost averages $75-$200 an hour.
Remote Monitoring and Management
This tier of service is generally an entry level managed IT service. Averaging $10-$30 per month per user/device, the MSP actively manages the network and alerts when there are signs of issues. However, more extensive services outside the realm of basic monitoring and optimization would incur additional costs.
The remote support agreement includes most things except for firewalls, backups, projects, and onsite support. This plan usually includes some degree of consulting services as well as unlimited remote support. While this is a lower budget agreement, there could be variations in the monthly bill should other services need to be included. The monthly costs average $30-$100 per user/device monthly.
This model offers an extensive array of services such as hardware upgrades, licensing, project work, remote and onsite support, as well as the services of a dedicated consultant. Averaging $100-$300 per user/device monthly, this plan is most appropriate for larger budget businesses who need quick responses with very little downtime.
Considerations for Purchasing Managed IT in South Florida
Complexity and Connectivity of the Network
A complex and elaborate network consisting of a high volume of devices will require more resources for the MSP to manage. Add in applications such as web filtering, cloud applications, anti-virus software and this can easily change the scope and cost of the agreement.
In-House IT Team Considerations
Some businesses may already have an existing in-house IT staff. However, blending this staff with an MSP is not necessarily an efficient move. Giving the MSP total control will allow them to more accurately determine the workload which may result in a better deal.
Individual or Packaged Services
Depending on the size of the business, having an MSP handle issues on a per case basis may not be as cost effective as having a complete, more comprehensive plan. For example, in a mid-range plan, the MSP may maintain a staff member on premises to oversee the network and solve problems as they happen immediately.
The above factors can result in agreements that vary widely in costs. However, they can be negotiable when adding other support features. For example, the remote support plan does not include onsite support and other extras. However, some limited onsite support may be negotiated as a starting point in the agreement. The MSP may agree to the addition to bring the business on board.
As we have seen, MSP costs can vary greatly depending on the size of the business, location, and complexity of the network. As a result, it is crucial to plan and clarify what services to outsource and the plan that best fits this need.
Contact us for more information on our complete line of outsourcing services and solutions that are suitable for your South Florida business.