The Small Business Dilemma: The right outsource

stockxpertcom_id8109922_size4Who do you get to work on your company’s IT infrastructure?  Are you big enough to hire someone full time or not?    If not, what rate do you pay for the services you think you need?  I get asked these questions every week.  It’s amazing how many companies make the same mistake: picking the wrong skill sets, the wrong person for your company.  For this article I will address outsourcing – contracting someone to work on your company’s IT infrastructure.  Hopefully, when I’m done you will be able to make a good, educated decision.

You are a company too small to hire a full time employee as an IT administrator – the person who will keep the network that runs your business working.  You have a server, router, firewall, switch and a bunch of end user machines (desktops, notebooks etc… say ten of these).  You know nothing about IT nor do you want to but you don’t know how much to pay someone.   The problem is that a small business needs to look for someone who can handle a wide range of issues for a network like this.  This means someone who knows how to perform Moves, Adds & Changes (MAC), break/fix and remediation services to all of the equipment not just the end user machines, also known as clients.  If you get someone who only knows the clients then you are setting yourself up for disaster when disaster occurs.  Why?  Because the lower end administrator will have a harder time analyzing the problem, probably won’t know how to solve it and have to hand off to a higher skilled person who needs to schedule time to come see you.  All this equates to hours burned that you have to pay for and downtime.  The higher skilled administrator will figure out problems faster, solve them faster and know how to do this to handle all of the equipment you have.  This means less hours burned (most likely) and less downtime.

So what do you pay?  In the suburbs of Washington DC for on call support meaning that you call when you need help, a lower end administrator will charge from $60.00 to $80.00 per hour for skills that handle the client side and have mid level server skills.  A server expert with knowledge of various operating systems and the applications that go on servers like Exchange, and well skilled at switches, firewalls and routers for a company of this size will charge from $125.00 to $175.00 per hour.  Please keep in mind that long term contracts will affect these rates lower as the person is guaranteed a certain level of time. 

As a last note, on call services or even a routine schedule is areactionary mode (waiting for problems to occur) and will ultimately cost more long term.  Companies of the size described above should look at managed services that monitor and are proactively(monitoring trends to head off disaster or reducing traditional support time spent) supporting you network.  This is complimented by on site visits.  The savings will be realized certainly in the first year and most likely in the first six months.

For further discussions on hosted and managed services contact Robert Lane of ASE, Inc. @ 703-273-8388 ext. 111.; ASE, Inc. is an IT consulting, engineering, hosted and managed services provider in the Washington DC metropolitan area since 2000.

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