Managed IT Services Cost Comparison for Education

There is one thing you can count on with your school’s budget: It is often unpredictable.

Schools – both public and private – struggle with deciding how to best spend their dollars while providing the best experience for their students.

As technology continues to evolve in and out of the classroom, schools’ IT needs are becoming complex.

This leaves schools like yours with a choice: increase the salary of your internal IT director, add another staff member to your IT team, or outsource the management of your IT environment.

However, at The KR Group, we know you must consider a combination of service and budget when finding the best IT solution for your school.

We’ll compare the following options and how much they’ll cost your school:

  • Managed IT services
  • Co-managed IT services
  • Internal IT department

This article exclusively examines the IT solutions comparison from a cost perspective. The level of service you can expect from different IT options is explained in our article, “Managed IT Services vs. In-house IT vs. Augmented Services,” which we recommend you read in tandem with this article.

Cost of an Internal IT Department

Traditionally, when organizations, including schools, have thought of IT support, it’s an internal department. Depending on the size of your school, there may be one or more people on this team.

This setup has encountered many challenges over the past several years.

First, schools’ dependence on technology is always increasing. A decade ago, staff and students interacted with technology much less than today.

More obviously, schools have had to implement remote or hybrid learning options, which means having the network and infrastructure to support it.

Your IT department needs to continually be more and more qualified to keep up with your evolving IT needs.

When it comes to cost, this presents a few problems:

  1. The cost is always increasing to hire and retain a qualified IT director. According to ZipRecruiter, as of June 2022, the average annual pay for a school technology director in Michigan was $81,932 per year. This excludes benefits.
  2. You maya still need to pay for an external expert for areas your internal staff isn’t qualified for. It’s challenging to find a candidate who has all of the skills you need for this job. Many schools find a compromise on a candidate they can recruit (and afford), but then you’re paying for outside IT support as well.
  3. The increase in demand for your IT manager’s time may require you to hire additional staff. While these staff members wouldn’t necessarily need to be as qualified as the director, they still cost money to employ.

This realization leads many schools to consider managed IT services and look into how much outsourcing IT will cost their school.

Price of Managed IT Services

managed IT services for education Managed IT services are generally thought of as the most cost-effective way to maintain your IT environment, but let’s break it down.

After you pay the one-time fee for an audit and firewalls, a managed services contract primarily consists of a monthly subscription.

This fee is usually between $200 and $250 per user per month depending on your school’s size. This covers the MSP’s software suite and back-up solutions.

(At The KR Group, we base the price of our managed IT services contracts on how many users you have, but other providers may charger per-device.)

Generally, managed IT services are the most budget-friendly option, and they come with the qualifications and services needed to keep your school’s IT running.  

Cost of Co-Managed IT Services

For schools, the most significant downside to managed IT services is the lack of hands-on availability.

One way around this is to hire an internal IT engineer along with contracting for managed IT services. This allows you to have frequent hands-on service while also having a resource to handle your IT environment’s more complex components.

However, when it comes to paying for this kind of service, this is often the most expensive option.

On the MSP’s side, the rates are slightly lower because the workload is offset by your internal department. However, you still have to consider the salary of your on-staff IT engineer. Since your MSP can handle the more intricate and complex components of your IT environment, your internal engineer is likely someone meant to be boots on the ground to provide frequent hands-on service and address everyday IT needs.

This option is going to be more expensive than a traditional managed IT services contract. However, it will provide you with the best service.

What IT support Option Fits into Your Budget?

When you’re debating the best way to support your school’s IT environment, you must consider pricing.

  • Managed IT services are generally the most cost-effective option.
  • Co-managed IT services are the most expensive but provide the best service.
  • An internal IT department’s price includes on-site support but lacks redundancy.

When it comes to determining which option is right for your school, it’s important to consider more factors than simply price. For help, download our free IT solutions quick guide.

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