This post is part of a series sponsored by Vertafore.
Most principals can talk about fixed asset schedules: how much a PC costs, how much a server costs. That’s a three to five year investment. What often goes under the surface are things like hardware warranties for that equipment, which are ongoing. Also the initial professional services to set up that equipment, whether provided in-house or from an IT provider. So you’re either getting a bill from an IT provider to do that setup of new equipment or you’re paying someone on staff who should be working on something far more strategic than setting up new hardware.
Firewalls, which control incoming and outgoing network traffic, are another example of often hidden IT costs. You don’t just set a firewall up once and it works forever. Firmware needs to be upgraded to maintain a firewall’s level of protection. Someone needs to monitor and implement these updates and patches on a firewall. That could be a highly trained individual on your staff who should be thinking about far more strategic things or typically you have a proficient IT vendor who is billing you for these services. That’s best case. Or you have a non-proficient IT vendor who is not providing these updates and you’re not getting the protection from the firewall that you thought which leaves you exposed to possible data exploits.
DR (disaster recovery) and backup are also critical from a cost perspective. Most agencies that we consult with, although they do have some semblance of a backup plan, don’t really have a recovery plan in the event of catastrophic mechanical failure. And most of them do not have a true DR plan, which is catastrophic facility failure. There’s a true cost to either preparing for these contingencies or dealing with these situations. What’s the cost of your clients not being able to talk to you for a day? Or what’s the cost of losing a day of data?