The process of hiring or changing IT providers can be a difficult one, with a lot of unknowns related to prices and services. At Capital Network Solutions (CNS), one of the first questions we invariably receive from potential customers is:
How much does a managed IT services plan cost and what does it cover?
There is no simple answer to this question. As with buying a car, there are many variables and add-ons to consider when pricing IT plans. In this article, we will shed some light on a murky situation by looking at the various costs and services that come with outsourcing your IT department.
At CNS, we have 30 years of experience providing managed IT services and security solutions to businesses throughout the Sacramento area and across the western United States. We have a unique insight into industry-standard IT costs, as well as the services and support you should expect to receive for your money.
What are “Managed IT Services”?
Most small and medium-sized businesses lack the resources to staff their own IT departments. At the same time, putting your entire business environment in the hands of a single employee with limited skills and extensive legacy knowledge also presents a dicey situation.
Essentially an outsourced IT department, a managed service provider takes responsibility for your online environment. Instead of paying out-of-pocket for a break/fix service every time something goes wrong, a managed IT services provider monitors your system comprehensively and deals with problems proactively.
Different tiers of services, support and software get supplied for a monthly fee, maximizing uptime and productivity while allowing you to focus on your core business goals. Not only does a managed IT services plan provide a comprehensive IT solution that mitigates risks of internal and external threats, but the flat monthly fees also make it easier to budget for IT-related costs.
However, every business has slightly different needs, which is why there are different types of managed IT subscription plans on the market, usually with customization options to ensure an ideal fit for your organization.
What questions should you ask before hiring a managed service provider?
When it comes to managed IT support, one size does not fit all. The goal should not be to cram your organization into a glass slipper, but rather to find a managed services plan that makes the most sense for your business needs.
Here are some questions that every business should ask itself before signing up for a managed IT services plan:
- How many people do you employ?
- Do you have dedicated IT personnel on staff?
- Does the business have an on-premises server and how much data is in use?
- Do you handle sensitive data or need to meet any regulatory compliance requirements (e.g., PCI, HIPAA or SOC)?
- Would you prefer to pay a flat monthly amount for an all-you-can-eat plan, or would you prefer a lower monthly fee with unpredictable charges?
The answers to these questions will help determine which type of managed IT subscription plans, if any, works best for your business.
You should also insist on transparency from any managed service provider that you consider. For example, here are some questions you should ask your potential managed service provider:
- Do they have a local office?
- Will they provide onsite and offsite support?
- Do they offer multiple types of plans with customization options, or is it one-size-fits-all?
- Did they outline your prices and services in full in a service level agreement?
- Do they provide 24/7 help desk support?
If you want reliable and affordable IT security and support for your Sacramento business, call CNS at (916) 366-6566.