A Guide to Cloud Solution Costs

A Guide to Cloud Solution Costs
Geschreven door Marcel Martens op 18-08-2020 Laatst bijgewerkt op 22-03-2024

One of the first questions that potential cloud users want an answer to when they call our company is: how much does a cloud solution cost? Although this is a rather difficult question to answer straight away, I will do my best to explain some general pricing guidelines.

Buying a cloud solution is quite similar to buying a new car or a new home. Given that there are so many options available, prices may also vary greatly.

Let me apply the purchase of a new car as an example. A Ford Focus starts around €23,000, if you opt for the standard model. This can quickly rise to over €50,000, however, if the buyer chooses options such as a faster engine, leather upholstery, the sports model, different wheel rims, special paint, navigation, climate control, etc.

As the average Dutch motorist tends to either sell or trade in their car within five years, however, why do so many people opt for all these upgrades in the first place? The answer is because most people understand the importance of getting everything they want straight away, so that they are not left regretting things later. Given that most Dutch motorists use their car for 30 minutes or more each day, they are keen to ensure it offers them convenience, quality, longevity and ease of use.

And the very same principles also apply to most companies considering a cloud solution.

You're going to use your cloud solution literally every day for as long as your subscription is running. It is therefore absolutely crucial that you choose the right cloud solution with the right options the first time, to assure yourself of maximum enjoyment, safety and ease of use with minimal maintenance. This is also the reason that most entrepreneurs opt for the cloud package that offers them the greatest ease of use in the long run.

Unfortunately, some people focus solely on the monthly charge for a cloud solution in their quest to find the cheapest supplier, thereby sacrificing ease of use, low maintenance, quality and safety, which inevitably leads to regret – especially when one considers that, unlike a car, a cloud solution cannot be exchanged if one is dissatisfied and disappointed. Furthermore, switching to an alternative solution is far from simple and usually entails a considerable measure of (user) frustration and additional costs.

The following are some of the most common add-ons purchased together with a cloud solution:

  • setup
  • implementation
  • migration/export of all business documents and email
  • antivirus protection for workstations and servers, if applicable
  • online backup for automatic daily off-site backups
  • two-factor authentication
  • upgrade to Windows 10 Pro
  • hardware renewal
  • suitable Wi-Fi
  • FMI (fixed-mobile integration) telecommunications for optimal accessibility
  • high quality noise-cancelling headsets, enabling several people to make (video) calls simultaneously, without the other person hearing one’s colleagues or background noise.
  • all-in-one multifunctional printers with scan to email option
  • fixed maintenance contract (all you can eat, as it were)

As you see, there is quite a range of options available. Before sending anyone a proposal (quote), we therefore thoroughly examine each option, with a view to informing the entrepreneur of the advantages it entails. We endeavor to identify the general benefit the option offers in the interest of project success.

How much does a cloud solution cost?

The average price of a cloud solution (including installation, migration and maintenance) ranges from €30 to €150 per user per month. The purchase and 5-year maintenance & support costs of a dedicated server environment for four users, by comparison, total around €40,000 to 75,000. This amounts to between €165 and €320 per user per month.

The IT costs for five years

Based on four users.

The effect that the implementation of your IT environment has on the costs

Whenever we are asked what an IT environment costs, the level of installation and support is also a key factor in the calculation. By this, I mean that our company offers customers a choice of three different packages. Unlike the majority of IT companies, we are prepared to do as much or as little as our customers require of us. This degree of flexibility helps reduce the stress experienced by the customer, while also offering it ample means of cutting costs.

The packages and corresponding price ranges are as follows:

1. Do it yourself (DIY)

This package comprises the following per user:

  • Office 365 Business Standard
  • Google G Suite (Google Drive)
  • Backup Online for email (50Gb)
  • Backup Online for business documents (100Gb)
  • ESET Endpoint security for 1 PC/laptop (antivirus package including Ransomware protection and firewall)

The customer bears responsibility for all work to be carried out as part of the project, including installation, implementation, migration of all documents and email boxes, uninstallation & installation of software, setting up backups, maintenance and user queries, printers, workstations, etc., etc., etc.

While the installation of this cloud solution is not a particularly complex matter, it nevertheless calls for close attention to detail and offers little margin for error. I recommend the do-it-yourself package to customers with their own a highly experienced IT professional, in possession of both sufficient Office 365 & Google Drive experience and the necessary project management & communication skills to manage everything and lead users by the hand during the transition to a new system.

A thorough IT professional spends an average of between 40 and 200 hours implementing & migrating to the new cloud solution, depending on the number of users and the options the company chooses. Customers spend an average of €35 to €120 per user per month on package 1.

2. Cloud solution with implementation & migration, without maintenance

Package 2 includes everything contained in package 1, but also includes the implementation and migration of all business documents and email accounts. Companies spend an average of €90 to €150 per user per month on package 2.

3. Cloud solution with implementation & migration, including maintenance & support and FMI telecommunications solution

Many firms prefer to do business with a single party when it comes to ICT. We at M - IT Services are one of the few companies that offer our customers a truly ready-to-use complete cloud solution, in which regard the customer needs to do virtually nothing itself. We arrange the implementation and transition in the background, enabling you to continue to work as usual. Package 3 comprises everything contained in package 2, but also includes “all you can eat” support. And last but not least, it contains a total telephony solution (fixed & mobile with unlimited calls) thus ensuring that you have a single partner for all your ICT matters.

This implies that you are never faced with unpleasant surprises, and you know exactly where you stand.While most customers spend an average of €170 to €250 per user per month for an all-inclusive contract, the vast majority actually pay between €170 and €200 per user per month.

How does a cloud package compare to a standard cloud solution, such as Office 365 & Google G Suite?

As you have probably noticed, prices may vary greatly, which is only logical. After all, everyone has their own preferences, objectives and budgets when it comes to setting up an IT environment. When it comes to a comparison of the price of our cloud packages with other types of packages, one can basically expect the following:

Office 365

For obvious reasons, a cloud solution such as Office 365 Business Standard initially costs €10.50 per user per month. 

How much does Office 365 installation/implementation & migration cost?

Depending on the scope of the project and numbers of business applications and users, the implementation costs may amount to anything from €750 to €5,000. This is due to the fact that Microsoft directly supplies only do-it-yourself packages to end users. Microsoft relies on its resellers to carry out implementation for the end user. And the same applies to the migration of all business documents and email accounts. The average cost of migrating all this data ranges from €280 to €1,100 per user, depending on the amount of data and number of servers and software packages used by the customer.

To put it simply, an Office 365 environment in itself is not sufficient. Although the initial costs are normally lower than those of a total package, the long-term costs are often much higher. Given that the average support requirements cost around €70 per user per month, not to mention the costs of arranging your own backup solution and protecting your workstations against viruses, ransomware and other forms of cybercrime... (€15 - 30 per user per month) the overall price difference can be conveniently recovered within three years of implementation of the cloud package.

This pales into insignificance in terms of the user-friendliness of a package for a potential purchaser of a cloud solution (once again, due to the ease of use, the total solution and knowing exactly where you stand), while also eliminating any frustrations that you and your employees may face.

Google G Suite

The Google method offers an entirely different user experience. The huge discrepancy with the customary workstation becomes apparent in this regard. Microsoft Office 365 also offers desktop versions of programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access. G Suite, however, offers only the browser versions. Google G Suite Business costs €10.40 per user per month. Similarly to Office 365, Google also offers apps that enable you to use a subscription on all your devices. The main advantage of Google G Suite is its unlimited storage (from 5 users upwards) as opposed to just 1TB at Microsoft.

How much does Google G Suite installation/implementation & migration cost?

Implementation is usually carried out by a reseller, as Google – similarly to Microsoft – offers end users do-it-yourself packages only. The one-off installation costs range from €500 to €1500. Depending on the numbers of users and mailboxes and the amount of data, the migration costs vary from €280 to €750 per user.

In the case of Google G Suite also, subscription in itself is not sufficient. Although the initial costs are lower than those of a total package, the long-term costs are often much higher. The average business’ general support requirements cost around €50 per user per month. The costs of a reliable backup solution also have to be taken into consideration (yes, you have arrange this yourself) as do those of protecting your workstations against viruses, ransomware and other forms of cybercrime... (€15 - 30 per user per month). The overall price difference can therefore be conveniently recovered within three years of implementation of the cloud package.

This pales into insignificance in terms of the user-friendliness of a package for a potential purchaser of a cloud solution (once again, due to the ease of use and knowing exactly where you stand), while also eliminating any frustrations that you and your employees may face.

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