Monday, January 9, 2017

Recurring IT Costs - What should you expect?

It's easy to see that a light bulb needs to be purchased or a failed system needs replacement.  But all too many times the reasoning behind why money goes into reoccurring IT costs seems to elude many.  I hope to clear up what is to be typically expected of any modern business regarding what their annual IT Budget should include for reoccurring IT Costs. 

I break it down into the MUSTS, the OPTIONS and the OTHER. 

Anti-Virus Clients, Internet Gateway Security, Anti-Spam, Domain Certificates, Public Domain and Web Hosting. 

If you're doing business without any one of these components, you're playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.  It's not a matter of if it's a matter of when you will be infected.  In fact, almost guarantee your already infected, whether your aware of it or not.  Probably have slow performing systems, odd glitches, popups, tons of spam, blocked emails, and the list goes on.   Worse is many infections sit silently collecting data about your computer use, emails you send, websites you visit, tracking so they can sell your info to the highest bidder for marketing purposes and more.  

It's important to note that no single anti-anything will prevent this.  But through a healthy combination of trusted security prevention systems you can block most and your IT Dept. can swiftly mitigate should something slip through.  

So how much?
The budget will depend on how extensive the protection software/system your using.  Overall here are some budget examples.

Small 40-100 User Network:
Initial Purchase Cost
Annual Reoccurring Cost
Anti-Virus / Client Security
$30 per device
$25 / year per device
Internet Gateway Security
$1,200 - $2,400 per site
$600 - $1,200 / year per site
Anti-Spam / Email Security
$2,500 if you own
$2 / month per mailbox
Domain Certificate
$75-$200 / year / domain
$75-$200 / year / domain
Public Domain
$10-$50 / year / domain
$10-$50 / year / domain
Web Hosting
$10-$100 / month
$10-$100 / month
Annual Total - 40 Users:
$5k - $7.5k     ($150 / user)
$3k - $5k         ($100 / user)
Annual Total - 60 Users:
$5k - $8k        ($110 / user)
$4k - $5.5k      ($80 / user)
Annual Total - 80 Users:
$6k - $9k        ($90 / user)
$5k - $6.5k      ($70 / user)
Annual Total - 100 Users:
$7k - $9.6       ($80 / user)
$6k - $7.5k      ($65 / user)

These 5 are the most common IT operating expenses which are reoccurring annual cost that I would consider optional. 

Website Filtering & Control is basically policing the internet use of your staff.  Mainly used to control how your staff uses the internet and what you allow them to access when.  Usually provides staff internet usage reports and the like.   About 20% of my clients implement such a system.

VPN License are a necessity to remote connect to your office.  Usually this is purchases in 5 packs and only as needed bases.  If your remote connecting without a VPN connection you're asking for problems.

Offsite Backup is pretty much common place.  Entire separate blog on this topic.  In general your data should be housed on your servers and your servers should be backing up offsite.  >75% of my clients take advantage of this and reduce their risk.

Warranty usually included with computers / servers is 3 years.   On some key systems, servers for sure, I suggest extending that to 5 or even more years.  Many things depending here.

Computer Monitoring Software is directly babysitting your employees or more politically correct 'Employee Investigation' software.  <10% of my clients use this.

Small 40-100 User Network:
Initial Purchase Cost
Annual Reoccurring Cost
Website Filtering & Control
$100 / user per year
$100 / user per year
VPN License
$50 / user per year
$50 / user per year
Offsite Backup
$100-$200 / server / month
$100-$200 / server / month
5% - 10% of hardware purchase per year
5% - 10% of hardware purchase per year
Computer Monitoring Software
$100 / user
$10 / user per year

Services like Office 365, Dropbox, Box, Hosted VoIP Phone System and other SaaS (Software as a Service).  Totally optional services depending on your operation.  

I'm a fan of cloud services, when the need is right this provides awesome team synergies and tools.  At times it's a cost savings.   However I will argue there's more times than not that cloud is over hyped and over marketed because software vendors realize the real profit is in reoccurring revenue and are changing licensing models as such.   Again case by case depending on your business needs / operations.   

Apx 60% my clients use these services or some form of it. 

Small 40-100 User Network:
Initial Purchase Cost
Annual Reoccurring Cost
Office 365
$5 - $20 / user per month
Dropbox / Box
$5 - $15 / user per month
Hosted VoIP Phone System
$100 - $300 per phone
$15 - $30 / user per month

In all this I left out workstations, servers, switches and the like network system equipment.  These are items that could go to OPEX or CAPEX depending.   As well as monthly telco expense.   With another blog I will outline what a full Annual IT Budget should look like for these smaller 40-100 user networks. 

Well hope this helped put some $$$ into perspective.  Again this was an over generalization of annual reoccurring IT costs and each business needs a case by cases evaluation.

Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant

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