How much does remote access cost? 5 factors to consider when pricing a remote access provider

Determining how much remote access will cost an enterprise is not a simple cut and dry calculation. The reason: different remote access providers may provide a variety of options or deployment models which provide different levels of value to their client companies. Some may provide only bare-bones access, without any added services, while others may provide services that a company doesn’t really need, or try to sell an access method that isn’t optimal, or even necessary, for that company. All things being equal, the best remote access provider to choose is one that offers the most secure solution while also providing add-on services clients need (preferably included at no extra cost). Price may be seen as the most important aspect of choosing your remote access platform, but it isn’t the only driver of value, especially when your enterprise’s security is at stake. Going the bare-bones route, or considering the lowest initial cost alone, is not the wisest decision when that choice may one day negatively impact a company’s security and reputation. Think of this analogy: If you're car shopping and must choose between a Ford Fiesta and a Tesla, at around the same price, which would you pick? Both cars will get you to your destination, but the Tesla provides superior comfort, features, and reliability - and may save you lots of money in the long run. If the Tesla costs the same or only slightly higher, would you want to settle for a Fiesta?

Five factors for figuring remote access cost

Let’s look at five of the primary factors that enterprises should consider when figuring out how much remote access will ultimately cost.

1. licensing models

Remote access providers offer a variety of licensing and cost models, and some of them offer more than one. The perpetual license model is a one-time fee where you pay a large upfront fee to have the license in perpetuity. This may sound attractive over an annual subscription model; one fee and you are done, right? However, if you look at how many months or years that one-time fee would buy you of another monthly solution, you may be better off hanging onto your money and paying it out over time. Support costs are another way the perpetual license models may come back to bite you. The ongoing cost of support may be as much, or more, than a competitor’s subscription fees. Evaluate these different pricing models carefully to find the best remote access solution for your company, both financially and total value proposition.

2. internal and external users

One factor impacting the cost of a remote access solution is whether a company needs access for internal users alone, or just external users, or both.  For example, a remote access provider may charge enterprises by how many people (e.g. company employees or vendors) they have connecting to their system; the higher the number of people who need to connect, the higher the potential cost. Even if a vendor or contractor is only using the connection occasionally or for a limited time, you’ll still have to pay the full license cost for them.

3. security and compliance

Another factor to consider when calculating remote access cost is whether security or compliance are included in the final cost. Does the solution you are considering meet your privileged access compliance requirements You should make sure that any solution you go with can satisfy both internal and external compliance requirements, and (if possible) that solution should include comprehensive audit trails and session forensics.   A cheaper solution is no good if you don’t pass your audits, or worse, suffer a breach due to limited security controls. 

4. add-on services

When a remote access provider gives extra services to a client as part of a total solution, this can vastly increase the total value received by the client. In the best case scenario, the provider would do this at little or no extra cost. For example, the cost o Imprivata’s privileged remote access solution for enterprises is based, in part, on the number of vendors an enterprise has connecting to their system. But several valuable services are included, such as training through professional services, a customer success manager, an account manager, and a dedicated onboarding specialist to set up and train your vendors. Looking back to our earlier point, remote access software companies often make more on the upfront implementation fees than they do on the technology itself.

5. cost savings over time

A fifth factor to consider when pricing out potential remote access solutions is how much you could save by going with one solution over another. For example, when one vendor turned to Imprivata to enhance connection reliability as well as improve response and resolution time, Allscripts was able to reduce their connectivity costs by a whopping 87%.

Final thoughts

When deciding on a remote access provider, a company should always consider the total value they are receiving from that provider, not just the initial cost of basic access alone. Comparing competing solutions on price alone can be difficult because the providers use a number of different pricing models and the value provided vastly differs.  For simple employee-user remote access that doesn’t require a great deal of extra security beyond the encrypted connection, you might be able to add VPN licenses to your firewall for $5-10 per user, per year. For protecting privileged user remote access with added security and audit features, you might pay as much as $250 per user, or more, per year. For vendor remote access, some companies charge by the server protected. This ranges from $500 to $1,000 per server and can add up quickly as you grow your infrastructure footprint. Other providers of vendor-specific technology charge by the vendor. This can be convenient as you don’t have to know how many users each vendor might need on the system and each vendor rep can access unlimited systems. These solutions can go for about $2,000 per vendor depending on options and services added. Keep in mind, these solutions involve a variety of technologies and services, so the total price will vary depending on what kind of access is required. And these estimates don’t include annual support fees or implementation charges.  Thus, a company comparing remote access providers must know which technologies and services are being offered and what their requirements are for the solution so that a proper comparison can be made. More services may mean higher costs, or may not, depending on how much is included in a provider's solution. And there is one more factor to consider, which is intangible yet still important: trust.  If one remote access provider costs the same as the others or only slightly more, but has a more trustworthy brand, or has been an industry leader for years, going with that well-trusted provider makes sense. Imprivata is the gold standard when it comes to VPAM (Vendor Privileged Access Management), offering a comprehensive solution that is unrivaled by other companies.  We offer a truly secure remote access platform, with a suite of valuable services included, and the potential for substantial cost savings after their solution is deployed. When it comes to third-party remote access, there simply is no comparison. In fact, check out this hospital that switched to Imprivata and saves over $1M annually.