7 Essential IT Projects & Related Costs (eCommerce Company)

7 Essential IT Projects & Related Costs (eCommerce Company)

Jed Fearon

Solution Advisor, 17+ years of experience in MSP Solution Development, Sales and Marketing Communications

IT projects transform the capabilities of your digital estate.

The success of your mission hinges on constantly evolving IT systems, designed and managed according to the following business-impacting criteria that animate every IT Road Map:

  • Improving efficiency
  • Lowering risk
  • Strengthening Compliance
  • Optimizing security
  • Reducing costs

Each variable serves as a justification for taking action.

Organized by technology category (hardware, software, server, and network), implementations are time-sensitive and prioritized by risk: low, medium, or high risk.

The following project vignettes apply to an eCommerce client with eighty employees, headquartered in Atlanta, with two out of state, satellite offices.

While every journey differs in focus and scale, ProviDyn guides each client through a strategic IT Road Map with most, if not all, of these popular plot points and estimated professional services fees.

Some are under consideration and cited as ranges while others are completed, so an exact number appears.

Fees are not listed if the conversation is just beginning to take shape. And some "punch list" topics are intentionally omitted because they're finished.

We are not estimating hardware or software costs. These commodities are best quoted in real-time using world-class wholesale distributors like Ingram Micro and Tech Data.

Lastly, we are not quoting any monthly subscription services.

1 – Active Directory (AD) Sync & Directory Cleanup

It’s not unusual to encounter a new client with an on-site Active Directory that is not properly synchronized with Office 365. In this instance, the following loose ends needed immediate attention:

  • Three Domain Controllers (Two in Atlanta and one in Utah)
  • More than forty accounts that had not been accessed in the past 30 days
  • Domain user accounts were set up with passwords set at “never to expire”
  • Weak passwords were detected on multiple systems
  • There were an excessive number of user accounts in the administrators, domain, and enterprise admin groups
  • Remnants of groups and policies from Small Business Server were detected

Password synchronization was established between AD and Office 365. Questionable accounts and groups were reviewed, remediated, and scrubbed.

Password policies were created with best practices, including all new rules and expiration settings.

General set-up fees were $2,700.00.

2 – HQ Backup & Disaster Recovery Upgrade

A surprising number of businesses are not properly backing up their data so we like to address this gap as soon as possible. This example is from 2017 which is why you will notice some “old school” references to premise-based servers, especially in section three.

The client needed six TB of local storage and unlimited system licenses for an environment consisting of Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. The solution works as follows:

  • Three servers were configured for local snapshots every 15 minutes
  • Each was programmed for nightly offsite replication along with nightly automated test restoration with screenshot verification
  • Local restoration and local recovery were enabled
  • Cloud restoration and cloud recovery were activated
  • One-year cloud retention with unlimited cloud storage was established
  • Cloud recovery includes thirty days of off-site virtualization

Off-site virtualization means the client can run their business in the cloud for thirty days if their office catches on fire, and the bare metal servers get destroyed.

General set-up fees were $750.00.

3 – Server 2008 Upgrade

You don’t hear “Server 2008” mentioned too frequently these days. However, when you do, it’s time to act.

Although a different direction would be relevant in 2021 and beyond, in early 2019, our client had a heavy custom app dev footprint. This required a solution with HPE ProLiant hardware, Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Standard, and Microsoft SQL Server 2017 Standard.

The initiative involved a multitude of planning and physical set-up activities:

  • Project management, planning, and design
  • Equipment specification
  • Vendor coordination
  • Concept diagrams
  • Project documentation
  • New server and password documentation
  • Network diagram updates
  • Creation and updating of standard operating procedures
  • Documentation of all new networking configurations
  • Server unboxing and assembly
  • Single server rack mounting with power and cable management
  • Set up and installation of HPE Integrated Lights-Out
  • Windows Server Operating System installation
  • Installation of all Windows updates
  • Joined to domain
  • Set up Hyper-V role
  • Added to backups
  • Installed Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) agents to the server

If the client absolutely requires a legacy solution like this, we are more than glad to help. But I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage everyone to explore the future of business computing - in the cloud.

Learn More: Four Stages of IT Evolution

General set-up fees were $8,700.00.

4 – Upgrade to Microsoft 365 Business Premium

The client has outgrown Microsoft 365 Business Standard (previously Office 365) and wants to utilize additional services only available through Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

The desired extras are related to security and system integration enhancement and include:

  • Setting up Intune for mobile device management
  • Joining hybrid machines to Azure AD
  • Implementing self-service password resets
  • Activating Conditional Access, Data Loss Prevention, and Autopilot
  • Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Configuring a backup solution for Microsoft 365 (M365)
  • Setting up Single Sign-On (SSO) for eight applications: Microsoft 365, Slack, Zendesk, InContact, Adobe Creative Cloud, Clubhouse.io, Atlassian, and DOMO

SSO is a future-forward application that holds a lot of promise as IT systems shift to the cloud. Just like its name suggests, the technology offers one simple and secure path to sign into all of the apps you need.

Learn More: Single Sign-On

General set-up fees are $6,000.00 to $8,000.00.

5 – Disaster Recovery Testing

What happens if the host on a virtual machine (VM) fails? How would the loss of your networking room (telco closet items like servers, switches, firewalls, UPS, backup appliances, etc.) impact your organization?

An annual disaster recovery exercise will stress test and assess the resiliency of your critical infrastructure including:

  • Local VM failure
  • Local virtualization of the data backup appliance
  • Cloud VM failover
  • Cloud virtualization of the data backup appliance
  • Remote access testing via the client VPN
  • Remote access testing using a Linux machine

General set-up fees were $1,815.00.

6 – Wifi Network Upgrade

The biggest differences between Wifi equipment solutions boil down to security features, remote management, and system update capabilities as well as the ability to integrate with other solutions.

More than 50% of our new clients have consumer-grade solutions that don’t check off any of the aforementioned boxes. This means a hard crash requires time-consuming manual intervention versus a quick and easy remote fix.

In this instance, we recommend migrating their environment from Ubiquity to Cisco Meraki. Risk averted.

General set-up fees range from $2,300.00 to $3,500.00.

7 - Cyber Security Awareness Training

Annual Cyber Security Awareness Training used to be the norm. Once a year with a live instructor was more than adequate. However, the threat landscape is getting exponentially worse every year, driving the demand for ongoing and dynamic computer-based instruction.

Catastrophic data breaches animate news headlines every day, with 95% of the incidents attributable to human error.

Advanced security is no match for a distracted workforce unwittingly clicking on strange links. With ten browsers open, phones ringing, and a flurry of iPhone text messaging alerts, everyone is fair game.

ProviDyn enthusiastically recommends (and administers) Proofpoint Security Awareness and KnowBe4. Both offer ongoing cybersecurity awareness training with periodic phishing simulation.

Learn More: Proofpoint Security

General set-up fees range from $2,000.00 to $3,500.00.

What's Next?

Although I reviewed seven essential projects, the number of items that appear on an IT Road Map is subject to change. Needs are never static. Initiatives are also organized differently for different clients.

Are you clear on your immediate IT priorities? What about six to twelve months from now or twelve to eighteen months out?

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