In the fast-paced and dynamic world of IT, outsourcing is a frequent practice for businesses looking to streamline their operations and reduce costs. One of the biggest mysteries puzzling companies is the price variance with outsourced IT services. Why do some companies charge significantly higher rates while others offer seemingly similar services for a fraction of the cost?
The price of outsourced IT support and services varies based on the maturity level of the IT company and the services they offer. Novice IT companies may not have the ability to provide a full range of services, like advanced cybersecurity providers, due to limited business growth. More established providers can meet the specific needs of individual clients. Understanding these crucial elements, businesses can gain insights into the price differences between outsourced IT companies and make strategic choices when selecting a provider. Understanding what services IT companies offer allows businesses to make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls.
The journey of the IT provider typically starts as a single person who worked as an IT technician and decided they want their own IT business. This person works out of their home, has little overhead and has lower costs to get their business off the ground. Since this person has a low amount of operational expenses, and no other staff, they can get by with bargain basement pricing. The fees for this provider range $30 to $75 between an hour. This type of service is known as time and materials as the client is billed only for the time and materials used. Another common phrase for this method is “break fix” because service is almost entirely reactive to a problem occurring. Sometimes blocks of hours can be purchased to reduce the hourly cost. Occasionally the company offers some managed services such as server builds, desktop replacement, etc. Cybersecurity services are typically not offered.
Small Level Service Providers
The next basic level of an IT company is a person who has few clients and then needs to hire employees to sustain their services. At this point, an IT company charges more as overhead increases, especially with added salary and staff benefits. This service is still in the realm of “break fix” work and costs about $75 – $125 an hour not including materials and hardware. This IT provider does not include cybersecurity services. The challenge for the IT provider and client is the IT provider starts to be stretched too thin with the workload and client support might suffer. In the modern world of cybersecurity, they lack the capability to keep customers running and data secure.
Mid-Level Service Providers
The mid-level tier of the Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are the companies selling a flat monthly fee for services, costing between $100-$150 per user monthly. This IT company is starting to provide cybersecurity services but isn’t equipped to dedicate staff to cybersecurity specifically. The cybersecurity they provide has little maturity. They buy tools to put on company networks with a base security setting as an “out-of-the-box” configuration. These tools are not customized for the individual client; they don’t have the staff and resources to monitor tool sets effectively to ensure they’re working without issue.
Experienced IT Providers
The highest level of IT support for outsourced IT companies are companies with processes, have multiple employees specialized in different fields of the IT industry. IT providers send employees to trainings and cybersecurity events. They keep up with the latest threats. These companies can scale effectively so they can best serve customers. Therefore, these IT providers charge a wide range of premium prices for their services because they provide a premium product. They can provide top notch cybersecurity for companies, and they work for clients who need staff to be able to keep working without having to wait days or weeks for a resolution. Clients who pay for this elevated level of service need to have their computers working, they need to ensure their systems, and people are as secure as possible (cybersecurity), and data is backed up. Price ranges are from $y. Price variance depends on how quickly data needs to be accessible, how secure it needs to be and how redundant (automatic) the systems put in place are. These companies can also work with compliance needs for the customers. Ex: PCI, HIPAA, CMMC, NIST, FTC Data Safeguards.
At the highest level, IT support is fully managed with a full 24/7 helpdesk and a team of cybersecurity experts. These MSPs work with a third party or in-house security operations center to look at threats in real time. They specialize in multiple systems to ensure customers are taken care of efficiently and securely. The best of these MSPs has scaled so they don’t sacrifice IT support or customer service. They take a proactive approach to your business needs. They may be more expensive, but they have a United States (local) based helpdesk team. Clients can feel confident they are getting the best support and services needed on time.
Questions to Answer When Choosing a Provider
IT providers have access and keep all your data and assets secure. IT providers provide security, so it is critical to hire the right provider. Below are some questions to consider asking when hiring an IT company:
Where are you located?
Many of our clients love that we are local and can quickly physically access their equipment when needed.
What industry are your clients typically in? Does this company serve industries like your company?
For example, if your company is in the healthcare realm, do they have experience with other clients who must adhere to HIPPA laws?
What certifications or experience do their staff have? Are staff encouraged to continue their professional development?
MSP providers will have a staff with a wide range of education and experience. It’s important the MSP owner encourages their staff to continue learning and supports their efforts to grow individually within their fields.
What is their response time to client issues? Is someone guaranteed to be available to answer the phone at all times?
Networks, servers, and data work 24/7- so should your IT company. If there is a hack or server down, a tech needs to work on the issue quickly so when employees show up to work, they have the tools they need to do their jobs.
Do they have regularly scheduled meetings with client leaders to discuss software, trends, observations, etc.?
These meetings should provide insight into your network performance and recommendations to minimize downtime.
Do they ensure data is backed up? How often is it backed up?
There should be a dedicated staff person to ensure data is being backed up as promised.
Are they requiring a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment before bringing you on as a client?
They can’t support you if they don’t know your vulnerabilities. A cybersecurity risk assessment needs to be completed for every company. A cybersecurity risk assessment will outline network weakness. Once an MSP completes an assessment then a defense plan can be created with your company in mind.
Do they offer flat rates or pay as you go?
How important is it to you to know what you will be spending monthly?
Why should I hire your IT company over another IT company?
Any experienced IT company will know where their competitors are lacking in comparison to their own. An experienced IT company, who aims to stay competitive with other providers and who has experience in their profession, knows what sets them apart.
Expertise and companies that have highly specialized teams and an advanced technology infrastructure often charge a higher fee as they can offer clients premium service. Companies must find a balance between cost and quality when selecting an IT provider. While it may be tempting to go for the lowest-priced choice, it may end up costing more overall if the services provided are of low quality. However, paying a premium price for high-quality services may not be possible for businesses with a limited budget. Understanding these factors can help companies make informed decisions and allow for a balance of cost-effectiveness and quality of service.
When hiring an IT company, consider what they can offer and what it is you need to protect your assets and keep working. Outsourced IT company work shouldn’t just be about a focus on technology, but about supporting users and keeping your data secure. The fact is IT, when managed correctly, focuses on one thing: the user’s experience. Optimally supported IT environments are there to support people who depend on them.
To further discuss options for your company, feel free to reach out to us at 4BIS Cybersecurity. We are experts at helping people navigate this complicated process to find what works for their company. View our high-value range of cloud services here and please contact us to discuss options for your company.