Are you in the midst of creating plans and a budget for next year? Racking your brain and spending a lot of time on research to come up with your IT budget changes for 2022? We realize it’s not an easy task to plan for the future, so we’re here to help! We’ve put together a list of items you will want to consider and incorporate in your budget next year.
1. Expect Microsoft 365 Costs to Increase
Microsoft is expanding and increasing business-user pricing options for the first time since launching their subscription services in 2011. Costs are expected to rise between 10% to 35% based on the product and contract option you select. SMBs will feel the effects of this shift, with pricing per user on the Business Basic and Business Premium increasing $1 and $2 per month, respectively.
In the August 2021 announcement, Microsoft committed to continue innovating to help users thrive in the new hybrid and more flexible world of work by continuously focusing on communication and collaboration, artificial intelligence and automation, and security and compliance.
The bottom line for SMBs like yours: Not only will you see the cost of the monthly subscription increase, you may also see an increase based on the contract you choose.
2. Incorporate an Increase in IT Support
The demand for IT support services is increasing. And taking into consideration low unemployment and the lack of trained IT resources in the market, your budget for IT support and projects will increase.
While IT support providers turn to increased automation, which lowers costs, it does not compensate enough for the rising costs of human resources. You will want to weigh the ROI of the initiatives your company wants to put in place to meet their business goals in 2022. But don’t be surprised that you may need to allocate more if IT resources are needed for daily and project support.
The bottom line for your business: Whether you are considering hiring outsourced IT services or content with the status quo, the cost of supporting your internal users and IT initiatives will rise in 2022.
3. Will Your Company Upgrade to Windows 11?
Windows 11 is now available to users. While upgrading to Windows 11 will be free for eligible devices, SMBs should still consider the following before going down the path of updating company systems to Windows 11. We recommend that you place answers to these questions on your plan and roadmap when planning your upcoming budget.
Potential compatibility issues: Will peripherals and other software you use to be able to work with Windows 11? The risk you take any time there is an operating system upgrade is that another application or peripheral which interfaces with the new operating system may not work. One option could be to upgrade gradually in phases to begin testing your systems. Determine what software will you need to update, relicense, or renew support packages for when upgrading to Windows 11?
Accessing support: Microsoft will support Windows 10 for another four years. Do you want to maintain a mixed environment of operating systems for a period of time? How long will your IT team be able to provide support to users on a Windows 10 system? How long will your other software or peripheral vendors support Windows 10? The best practice is to maintain support for any technology that you use in your business. In the event security upgrades are deployed or support is needed from the vendor to get the tech working you will be able to rely on your vendors for these items if you maintain your support package.
The bottom line for your SMB: There are hidden costs to upgrading any software which is fundamental to business operations. The upgrade itself may be free or low-cost, however, there is a number of other factors to consider as well.
4. Security Tools
What tools should you add to maintain your systems secure? Cybercriminal activities are not going away, unfortunately, they are increasing. Ask your IT provider for their security recommendations based on the technology you have in place. A good IT provider constantly researches and tests new tools and solutions. In our experience, you’ll want to plan for an increase in your per-user monthly fees as you add tools to the security stack.
Have you purchased cyber insurance? Be certain to put an increase in your budget for your cyber security insurance premiums in 2022. Carriers are paying more claims than they want to be, and this equates to a rise in premiums.
The bottom line: When the U.S. Department of State decides to launch a specialized unit to combat cybercrime, it’s time to take heed and protect your SMB’s assets. And that added protection comes at a cost.
5. Provide Tech Tool & Security Training
Skilled employees are far more productive when empowered to effectively use the technology they use every day at work. Therefore, when companies increase quality technical training for staff, overall company productivity rises. So, if you are at all able to, put some dollars in your budget for application training.
Cyber security threats are increasing, but events can be prevented if staff are trained to know what to look for in a phishing email or phone call. In addition, employees using strong passwords will protect your business from data loss and downtime as well. For this reason, we recommend budgeting for security training and communicating new risks and threats to your staff. Train your staff to mitigate risks that come into their inbox daily.
Bottom line for your company: Create a more productive workforce by training employees to tap the applications you already have in place. Also, budget for cyber security training. The more your employees know, the better they are able to protect themselves and your business.
We hope this information has given you some things to think about relative to your 2022 IT budget. If you are looking for an IT support provider that prepares IT budgets, roadmaps and conducts annual planning sessions as a part of their IT support services please reach out to us!