As a manufacturer, you know you need to budget for IT.
Look around your plant and take a mental inventory of all the technology you rely on to make your production possible.
You need someone to be responsible for keeping the IT components of your business running smoothly.
Managed IT services are a great option for manufacturers because there is always an engineer available who more than likely has experience with this industry.
Another beneficial aspect of managed services is how managed service providers (MSPs) charge.
Your monthly rate is based on how many users you have. As a manufacturer, you’ll pay the full rate for employees who use a computer full time and a discounted rate for employees who only occasionally use a computer.
(Don’t worry; we’ll talk about this in more detail later.)
When thinking about how much a managed services contract will cost your manufacturing business, there are four areas to consider:
- Networking hardware
- Subscription fees
How these components apply to you will determine what the price of a managed services contract looks like for your manufacturing business.
Audit of Your IT Environment
Before your MSP draws up a contract, it’ll need to review your IT infrastructure in an audit.
The MSP engineer is looking at what hardware and software you’re currently using and what solutions you may need.
This audit can take place remotely or on-site. Either way, your MSP will be able to estimate your monthly price and tell you if you need to purchase any additional hardware before starting services.
Some MSPs, including The KR Group, will also include a mini security check during the audit to ensure they’re taking control of a threat-free environment.
In effect, this is the first chance for your MSP to begin to acquaint themselves with your environment.
The audit is generally incorporated into the total cost of you contract, but on it’s own it costs about $500 per site.
Network Gear for Your Manufacturing Business
A strong internet connection and internal network is vital to your manufacturing business’s success. From the designers’ offices to the production floor, your users (and machines) rely on the internet to keep your operations online.
- A firewall is the first layer of defense to keep threats out of your IT environment, protecting your organization, your customers, and your users. It prevents unauthorized and/or malicious traffic from6 entering your network and can block or allow requests based on rules you and your MSP designate.
- Wireless access points provide internet connectivity throughout your building. They’re physically wired to your router and emit wireless signals for your other devices to connect to your network.
- A switch allows your network to share information faster and ultimately improve productivity.
Since you have multiple systems connected to your network and working together, a switch directs traffic to ensures traffic flows to the appropriate place.
Your MSPs will require you to use a make and model for each of the above components in your network. This helps your MSP resolve any potential issues faster.
Again, each of these components may be billed separately or incorporated into your monthly rate. If you
While this covers the network needs of most of our customers, you may find you need to spend additional money upfront or over the span of your contract if you require additional gear. For example, depending on the dimensions of your manufacturing floor, you may need an additional access point.
Alternatively, your monthly rate may decrease if you already own and use a network device in your MSP’s hardware standards.
On-site and Off-site Back-up
Your MSP will also require you implement their back-up solution to ensure you have a duplicate of your vital data if a natural disaster or cyberattack were to compromise it.
Generally, managed services customers choose an on-premises and cloud-hosted back-up solution, which stores a copy of your data off-site.
How much you’ll pay for these services, depends on several factors:
- Licensing: Generally, your backup is licensed per device or operating system. The more licenses, the higher your cost.
- Sizing: The more data you need to backup, the more you’ll pay. And, you’ll want to keep in mind how much data you’ll need to store in a few years from now, so you don’t immediately outgrow your solution.
- Control bandwidth throttling: If you have an off-site backup, you’ll want a mechanism in place to ensure your internet connection isn’t saturated when transferring data off-site.
Based on your provider’s billing practices, backup could be an upfront cost or blended into your monthly recurring fee. (The KR Group blends it into our contracts.)
Subscription and Support Fees
All MSPs will charge you a monthly rate for their subscription services and ongoing support.
This includes security solution, such as next-generation antivirus, anti-spam, a DNS filter, multi-factor authentication, user training, and Blue Team assessments.
Additionally, you’re receiving access to your MSP’s helpdesk support with a team of engineers with the knowledge and experience to walk you through any problem.
Helpdesk servers aren’t limited to normal business hours. If your third-shift production team encounters a problem that halts operations, MSPs have on-call engineers to come help you, even in the middle of the night.
This monthly subscription and service fee is calculated your organizations user count — anyone who your MSP determines needs security subscriptions and support.
For each of these users, you can expect to pay between $200 and $250 per month, with a minimum monthly commitment of $2,500. If your MSP blends other costs, such as hardware, the audit, and back-up, you can expect to see bills at the upper end of the per user per month fee range.
Cost Comparison: Managed IT Services vs In-House IT Staff
Talking about cost wouldn’t be complete without comparing it to your other IT options.
Unless you’re a large, enterprise manufacturer, you’re likely looking for a small IT department.
Even hiring just one engineer who is qualified to resolve all the problems you may experience will likely cost you roughly between $75,000 and $149,000. This doesn’t account for benefits, either.
With managed services, a manufacturer of a company with 90 users operating at one site will pay around $94,000 for one year of managed IT services.
Not only is the cost of managed IT services more budget-friendly, but you also don’t have to worry about recruitment, training, or time off.
Why Should You Consider Managed Services as a Manufacturer?
If you’re a manufacturer considering managed IT services, knowing how much a contract may cost you is important.
While there are many variables in calculating your company’s exact cost, you can expect to spend between $200 and $250 per user.
With most MSP’s this incorporates the costs of the audit, networking hardware, back-up solution, subscription services, and subscription services. Plus, managed services are often more competitively priced than an in-house IT team and have added benefits.
For more information about The KR Group’s managed IT services, check out our free guide on signing a contract.