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Managed IT Services vs. Your "IT Guy": Cost Comparison

March 31st, 2017 | 11 min. read

By Monique Phalen

IT guys are often good but not perfect, managed IT services is a good option for many

When discussing managed IT services with either current or potential customers, a lot of the times, we hear the words,

“But I’ve got a guy.”

So, hear us out. There’s nothing necessarily wrong if you choose to use an independent IT guy to help assist your business with your technology needs and tasks. There’s just a limit as to what your IT guy can do when you compare them to outsourced managed IT services.

Also, if you're the sole proprietor of a business of around fifteen or so employees, a combination of your “IT guy” and an employee with part-time IT duties might be good enough for you. You might not even be aware of what you’re missing out on.

As your company grows, your best bet is to outsource your IT by using managed IT services. You might not even need someone on staff – or at least someone doing the essential functions of IT and network support.

The second most common response we typically hear when it comes to managed IT services is,

“You're going to charge me HOW MUCH each month?”

It is obvious that these types of customers don’t really know what the real cost of a full or part-time IT staff member.

For this response, we decided to provide you with a quick and easy cost comparison of what it could cost your business to hire in-house IT staff personal versus outsourcing. Despite the initial sticker shock, you might pay for managed IT services up front, the numbers typically work in your favor. You’ll be amazed!



The Cost For An In-house IT Staff Member or Employee

You probably already know that IT professionals are pretty high in demand. They do such specific work that the majority of us don’t know how to do. Because of this, these professionals command a higher salary than others at your company.


Take a look at our list of costs associated with hiring and paying an in-house IT professional:

  • Recruiting costs and onboarding – If you did any advertising for the job position, you probably had to pay to do so.  Besides the cost factor of advertising, how much of your time did you take out of your busy day to read resumes, check references, interview multiple candidates, and make an offer? Remember, time is money.
  • Salary – According to Glassdoor, the average salary of an IT professional is $85,460/year (this cost may differ based on your location). I don’t know about you, but in our opinion, that’s a lot of company dollars to spend on just one single employee. Let alone; if you have an IT department of 3-4 people, you’re looking at spending more than $300,000/year on your IT team.
  • Benefits – On top of the salary for your IT team, your company also probably provides them with full-time benefits, that could range from 20%-30% of their salary.
  • PTO (Vacation/Sick Days) – Believe it or not, even IT staff take sick days and vacations. How do you ensure coverage of IT task if someone is sick or on vacation for two weeks? This is problematic in more than one way and risky for your business if your IT guy is out of office, even if it’s for a short amount of time.


To add up all these expenses, let’s just say a conservative cost for just one single IT employee, you're looking at about $100,000 in costs per year or $8,300 per month.

Also, on top of that, don’t forget you're also paying for network servers, security software, backup software, hard drives, and computers that this person is supporting.

And this is not even taking into consideration if you ever have to terminate this employee or they may leave you for whatever reason and you have to start the recruiting process all over again. This can be about 20-30% of the annual salary.

For more information, please read this article by, Employee Retention - The Real Cost of Losing an Employee.


Outsourcing Costs for Managed IT Services

It might be financially intimidating to think about outsourcing your IT staff and services and something you’d rather not deal with, and we understand that. However, let us at least inform you of what’s included in managed IT services, the benefits of each service, and how these services can cut back on your overall IT costs.

 • Remote monitoring Remote monitoring is a process where a qualified team of experts controls and observes your local area network from afar. These teams handle network-related issues that you don't have time for, including hardware upgrades and security patch installation, as well as identifying network issues, such as a security breach or a server crash— before they have an impact on your company.

If your network goes down, outsourced remote monitoring teams get to work straight away to minimize disruption to your business.

Remote monitoring teams provide your business with many benefits. They save your business time and money, detect network irregularities from the onset, long before a virus wreaks havoc on your network, and also monitor your servers around the clock.

Third-party remote monitoring teams work to provide you with peace of mind when you're away from the office. The result? Your servers, routers, applications, and security software are monitored continuously.

To read more about remote monitoring, visit our article, Outsourced Remote Monitoring: What Is It?

• Backup/disaster recovery and security – Using a cloud backup system inherently helps your business in the event of a disaster by preventing access to your office and important files stored on your computer. 

An article from The Denver Post shared a story that said, 60% of small companies that suffer from a cyber attack are out of business within six months. That’s a pretty high (and unsettling) percentage, and we would never want that to happen to your business.

60% of small companies that suffer from a cyber attack

are out of business within six months.

If you don't have the internal staff to backup data, outsourcing to a managed IT services company is the best way to ensure cloud backup, and it’s a great cost-effective alternative, too. Even if you have to adhere to strict compliance rules, such as HIPAA, there are cloud providers who specialize in providing compliant solutions.

Managed IT and cloud service providers also have the resources to hire experts in network security and backup specialists who work together to keep these outsources services on the cutting edge of capabilities while also keeping your information secure.

As a subscriber to a cloud service, you can work with your employees to increase security for your data backup by creating complex passwords, frequently changing passwords, providing access to areas only to individual employees, and writing and storing emails that don’t give away confidential information.

• Helpdesk – Helpdesk support services is a catch-22 for small businesses. On the one hand, paying for a staff member to troubleshoot all of your company’s IT issues is a drag, and pretty overwhelming. 

On the other hand, every minute of lost productivity because of an employees’ inability to work due to an IT issue is an even bigger drag!

As a business owner, or IT director for a small company, what do you do to ensure computer and network problems don’t lead to hours or a day of lost work? An outsourced IT helpdesk can simplify your management, reduce the cost by eliminating a full-time IT employee, increase productivity, track and report your data, and increase communication.

• Virtual CIO (vCIO) – Planning for the future of your company is critical when it comes to company growth and success and making sure you include this growth within your IT is something that should never be overlooked. 

Many small businesses don’t have the time, expertise, or resources to stay on top of ever-changing IT trends. Honestly, it’s challenging for those of us with IT careers!

A virtual CIO (vCIO) is an outsourced CIO who helps identify your current IT situation and guides you through the steps to create a roadmap to successfully using IT to support your business.

Your vCIO takes the time to understand your specific business challenges, pains, and goals to address your needs for today while working with you to anticipate and then meet future needs and goals. Each quarter, you’ll meet with your vCIO to review the previous 90 days by addressing these questions:

Were there any unexpected issues?

Were the goals met?

Does the technology plan need revision or is it still relevant? 

Can business goals be supported with the current plan?

Should you IT strategy shift because of newer best practices? 


This continual planning process ensures that your IT will always be able to support your business goals which is exactly what information technology is.

Learn even more ways a vCIO can benefit your business by reading our article, What's a Virtual CIO (vCIO) — How Can it Benefit Your Business?



What About Hardware?

Many SMB leaders don't realize this, but you can also lease your computers. This is called hardware as a service (HaaS) as older equipment increasingly exposes businesses to security holes.

There's an emerging consensus that three years is about how long computers can be supported before the operating system upgrades and patches become harder and harder to keep up with the ever-evolving viruses and other security threats out there.

Instead of spending $2,500 on computing equipment for every employee upfront, HaaS offers an alternative. As with all outsourcing, it's a monthly payment.

Let's say you need to buy 20 employees computers. That would probably be around $50,000. However, using a HaaS plan, you’d spend around $1,800/month to lease these computers for your employees.

We know that the decision of in-house IT versus outsourcing managed IT services isn't as straightforward as this and understand that different business needs might require you to keep everything in-house.

However, for most businesses, there truly is a real dollars-and-cents advantage to outsourcing your IT needs and staff. More importantly, your data is always backed up, your network security is always up-to-date, and there's always someone there to answer when you need IT support.

For more information on everything to do with Managed IT Services, check out our resource page, here.

AIS not only specializes in managed IT services, but we also provide copiers, printers, document and process management, copier and printer repair and maintenance, VoIP telephone services. If you want to learn more about any of the services we do, reach out to us today by visiting our contact page, here. We’re here to give you peace of mind that helps you win more business. Worry Less With AIS.


Article updated for freshness October 1, 2018


Monique Phalen

Mo is the resident IT go-to lady at AIS. She has traveled the world, run a marathon, is a self-proclaimed crossword champion, and can do ventriloquism. She has an uncanny memory ....down to the detail. She has completed 4 half marathons and hates running. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her 7 siblings and 20 nieces and nephews.