Budgeting IT for the Coming Year It's the time of year when we have to look ahead to the next, and this includes looking at next year's budget. There used to be a lot of unknowns with budgeting due to hosting our own infrastructure. That meant we had to have a mail server, an application server and possibly a database server - not to mention, the support staff needed to monitor and maintain all of that hardware and software. Oh, and we can't forget the operating costs of a server room, including power and air conditioning costs. There were a lot of costs to be factored in that were not exactly obvious. But nowadays we can use the cloud to leverage resources. There are "As-a-Service" options for almost every part of the IT infrastructure, which give us predictable spending for the year in areas where it used to be difficult to estimate costs. This can give us more leeway on things that used to have a very static budget, like the amount going to research and development. "As-a-Service" options are typically priced in a couple ways: User based - this is usually a static cost per month or year per user. Microsoft Office 365 is a great example of this. There are pricing plans that start as low as $5 per month per user for email hosting only and go up as you add products and services such as the Office Suite (Word, Excel, etc.), Project, and others. How often you use these products does not affect the monthly cost. Usage based - this is a predictable cost per amount of the product used. For example, Microsoft Azure Instances are charged by the processing power of the hosted server, storage used and data uploaded. There is typically no start-up cost with As-a-Service offerings. If there is an upfront fee, it is much less than the cost of standing up servers (even used ones) for an in-house setup of the same service. As-a-Service providers make their money by having many clients whom all are subsidizing their infrastructure costs, and as a result, each client can see significant savings over doing it themselves. Some examples of "As-a-Service" offerings: Software as a Service (SaaS) Office applications (i.e. word processing, spreadsheets, presentations) are offered by Office 365 and Google AppsSales applications such as those offered by Sage CRM and Salesforce Backup as a Services (BaaS) Datto, StorageCraft Security as a Service (SECaas) Typically bundled services including threat prevention, email filtering and content filtering Contact us if you have questions regarding budgeting IT for the coming year.