Creating and maintaining an IT network for your business can be extremely costly – in fact, beyond staffing, it’s generally one of the biggest on-going expenses a business will face.
As a result, it’s no surprise to find small business decision makers the world over frantically searching for as many ways as possible to bring down your IT costs. Rather than take to search engines and hope for the best, we’ve done that hard work for you – and compiled five areas to explore if you’re hoping to lower your tech costs.
Are you getting the best deal for your internet connection?
One of the first places to explore your IT costs is around the cost of your internet connection (or, if you’re a multi-site business – connections).
Generally, this is an area of complacency for businesses. That’s not a criticism as such – it’s just that unless you’re IT savvy, there’s a tendency to avoid interfering with anything that’s working just fine as-is. This feeling tends to be compounded if you think that altering your deal is going to represent disruption for your business too.
So, there’s a host of businesses who are sitting on poor internet connection deals. Part of the reason for this is changing prices over time. Again, stay with your original deal and you’ll forever pay your original prices – as providers aren’t under any obligation to change your deal.
- How recently did we buy our managed network?
- Have we had the same internet deal for more than 5 years?
- When you’ve renegotiated, have you been offered a 10% reduction in price and a little more bandwidth?
A managed network deal set up more than 2 years ago is likely to have been bettered now. If you bought your circuit more than 5 years again, that is almost certainly the case – and, if you’ve had your deal ‘improved’ through a nominal price drop and a bandwidth bump – you’re likely to be entitled to more.
If this is the case for you, it’s time to shop around. Talk to your provider then go away and explore what other providers can offer. There will be no disruption when you swap – and a bit of competition is likely to put your prices right down.
Outsource your support
If you’re looking for a nuclear option when it comes to cutting your costs, outsourcing your IT support is almost certainly the way to go.
Now, you might not want to walk into work tomorrow and let your IT team go – but that’s fine, as you really don’t have to. Generally speaking, a good managed network provider will be happy to support around an existing team – which can be a blessing if you’re happy with an in-house set up but struggling to justify the sheer hours needed to keep you support running 24/7.
Managed service providers will generally be happy to do as much or as little as you require – so, if you’ve growing and you’re looking down the barrel of a costly recruitment drive and maintenance of an in-house team, now might be a good time to take a different path – and work on finding a good partnership with an MSP instead.
You’re likely to cut your maintenance costs down to a fraction of what you’d expect to pay for an in-house team – and you’ll side-step all the stress of having to manage cover in the business too – you don’t just outsource the support of your IT, you also outsource the HR aspect of managing the team.
Consider a hybrid network
Once again, networking models move on – in much the same way that connection prices change. The thing is, changing the foundation stones of your infrastructure sounds like a painful process, so it’s something that a lot of decision makers will choose to avoid even thinking about.
In truth, there’s a lot of operational money to be saved here – even if that means a bit of short-term capital outlay.
The money saved once again relates to the cost involved with older network models. In days gone by, private circuits got businesses online, then, in time, we moved onto switched networks – and so forth. The non-technical version of the story is this; older network technology was costly – and, over time, more sophisticated tech has reduced in cost.
Again, we’re back to the ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ school of thought. If your network is functioning, why rock the boat? Well, the truth is, you stand to save a lot of money by rocking this boat – especially if you’re willing to look into ‘hybrid’ networking models – those which mix and match different connection types to create one overall WAN.
It’s unlikely to be a solution you’ll be able to implement yourself, but if you’re happy to talk to an experience MSP about consolidating your network with a view toward reducing costs, you’ll probably be surprised at how much you can cut that monthly outlay.
Mix and match your connection providers
While we’re on the subject of connection types – it’s worth digging into who provides your connections across different sites. If the question has one answer, you’ve just found another area in which you can save some money.
It’s normal practice for a connection provider to offer to connect all your sites – and, if it looks like a decent deal at the time, a lot of people went for that option. The thing is, it’s often not the best deal – but instead, the most convenient deal. If you’re happy to delve into different supplier options for each of your geographical sites, you’re likely to find a far better deal when you patch things together.
Sure, this approach takes a little more time – but it’s probably something you can build into a design deal with a managed service provider if that’s the way you’re taking things. As well as money savings, you’ll be able to fine-tune which connection type you have in which location too, making the most of the fact that hybrid WAN can connect any technology and any carrier.