What is the Cost of IT Support in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota?
Of course, this depends on many factors, but generally, you can expect to pay between $69.00 to $150.00 per month per user.
Most organizations choose to outsource their IT support to save money. However, there are many additional benefits to consider.
For one, having access to strategic technology expertise is critical in growing your business. When you add on cyber-security and improved risk management, round-the-clock support, and compliance management, to name a few. Choosing the right IT support provider is crucial.
In this article, we’ll look at all of the costs of IT support in the Mpls metro area, and break it down so you understand your choices.
Businesses in Minneapolis, St Paul, and the surrounding areas can expect to pay the following for these four IT Support solutions:
- Basic IT Support (flat monthly fee) – $69 to $89/user per month
- A 30-user network would pay between $2000 and $2700 per month
- Managed IT Services – $99 to $129/user per month
- A 30-user business would pay between $2900 and $3900 per month
- Advanced Managed IT Services (including robust cyber security) – $110 to $175/user per month
- A 30-user business might pay $3300 to $5300 per month
- Premium Managed IT Services (perhaps with an onsite engineer) – $150 to $300/user per month
- A 30-user business might pay between $4500 and $9000 per month
NOTE: For the purposes of this article, we are not going to include Break/Fix IT Services which would cost $75 – $250/hour. Most businesses today can not afford for their networks to be down, so a “wait until it is broken and then call someone to come and fix it” approach does not work.
Most businesses in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro have enlisted the support of IT companies that are more proactive and provide managed services at a flat monthly fee. In addition, these companies focus more on preventative support to reduce the downtime a business might experience.
What? How can prices range from $69/per user per month to $300/per user per month?
$2,000 – $9,000/month for a company with 30 users seems like a crazy, huge range!
The price difference reflects the differences in services included in the monthly costs. This article aims to shed some light on why you find such a wide range of prices in the Minneapolis market.
Basic IT Support: Cost $69 – $89/user per month
There are a lot of IT Service providers in the Twin Cities that provide Basic IT Support. However, they charge a lower price per user and offer fewer services for this lower price. As a result, they provide good service to their customers most of the time, but it is common for the support quality and timeliness of the support to suffer during the contract term.
ISSUE RESOLUTION AND TIME TO RESOLUTION
Some of these organizations focus on sales rather than support, as seen in the number of salespeople employed versus the number of support engineers employed. As a result, these organizations often have an excess staff turnover.
This is due to the daily support requests the help desk members are asked to address. In addition, because of lower monthly fees collected from their customers, these companies require their help desk members to support more endpoints, reducing the quality and time to resolve support requests.
BASIC CYBER-SECURITY PROTECTION
IT companies offering Basic IT Support services also provide basic cyber security protections. They will typically install and monitor a Network Firewall, network antivirus, and a backup system to protect company data. In today’s hyper-crazy, criminal cyber world, these services provide a good starting point for protecting a network … but this basic offered great does not protect the network in a robust manner. This does leave the business data and network resources somewhat vulnerable.
The lower costs are sometimes made up through high-cost project work that happens later in the engagement. There is typically a lower cost for onboarding the new client but a much higher cost for project work once the client is onboarded and under contract.
ADVANTAGES of Basic IT Support
- Lower onboarding costs
- Lower monthly recurring fees
- Easy to get onboarded with a provider
DISADVANTAGES of Basic IT Support
- The quality of support can be erratic
- The time to resolution for issues can be much slower
- The cost of necessary project work can be much higher (and unexpected) once under contract
- Business data and network resources can be vulnerable to cyber attacks
When the primary IT concern for a business is LOW COST, then IT companies offering Basic IT Support services are a perfect fit.
Managed IT Services: $99 – $129/user per month
Several very good Managed IT Services providers exist in the Twin Cities metro area. These companies are more mature in their approach to customer service. Most of these companies charge between $99/per user per month to $129/per user per month.
QUALITY SUPPORT AND FAST RESOLUTION
Solid Managed IT Service providers (MSPs) invest more in their support teams, which is reflected in the number of salespeople versus the number of service people in the organization. This focus on service reflects the quality and timeliness of the support. In addition, by charging slightly higher monthly fees, these MSPs are better equipped to handle IT issues in a timely manner.
Because these technology issues are regularly addressed much faster, the company’s users face fewer distractions and can be much more productive. In general, the support provided by a quality MSP is less erratic and much more predictable.
How do better tools affect the cost of IT support? MSPs also invest more money in the tools they use to support their customers. They also invest in the tools that they provide to their customers to keep the networks safe from criminal cyber activities. These tools allow MSPs to effectively monitor their customer networks, which can result in the prevention of network disruptions and downtime.
GOOD CYBER-SECURITY PLANNING AND BUDGETING
Most MSPs are very aware of the threat of cyber-attacks and do a good job of staying on top of the new and dangerous threats. MSPs will frequently do network scans/analyses to determine weaknesses in the cyber defenses, and then detailed plans and budgets are created to address any weaknesses.
Some of these weaknesses are addressed in the monthly fees, but others are addressed through additional cyber-security projects billed outside the monthly expenses. Most businesses supported by MSPs have a list of cyber-security initiatives planned to be executed in the next 6-12 months.
How does onboarding affect the cost of IT support? MSPs tend to spend more time and effort on the front side of customer engagements to ensure that standard IT practices are introduced and adopted when the engagement starts. This investment in time (and sometimes hardware and software) will cost the customer more upfront but will pay for itself with a great reduction in downtime and network issues down the road. In addition, this upfront investment eliminates much of the higher cost of project work or emergency work that might occur without these important upgrades and process changes to start a relationship.
ADVANTAGES of Managed IT Services
- More consistent and reliable IT Support with faster resolution times
- Much more robust cyber-security to protect the company data and network resources
- High-touch onboarding to reduce project fees and emergency projects later
- Well-designed IT strategy with budgeting and timelines
DISADVANTAGES of Managed IT Services
- More expensive monthly fees
- More expensive onboarding, upfront fees
- Although cyber-security weaknesses are discovered, many of these vulnerabilities are not addressed for many 6-12 months) after their discovery. Sometimes they are not immediately addressed for budget reasons or other business-related reasons, but they are known and represent real danger until they are fully remedied.
Advanced Managed IT Services: $110 – $175/user per month
Advanced Managed Service Providers offer the same high-quality support services as MSPs but bundle additional services into the monthly fees. For example, in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area, you will find some Advanced MSPs bundling project fees or robust cyber-security services with their managed services offering.
Cyber security is a big factor in the cost of IT support. Cost is the most common reason many businesses do not address known vulnerabilities within their networks. This is because they do not (or cannot) spend the money to address all vulnerabilities when they are discovered. This creates tension and very difficult decisions for the leadership in these businesses.
“Do we pay this large amount of money to address these known vulnerabilities, or do we wait and hope that nothing bad happens?”
UP-TO-DATE CYBER-SECURITY PROTECTIONS
This becomes a huge advantage of bundling these fees into monthly IT fees. Rather than paying for all of these cyber-security-related items at one time, the business can pay for them over time. Even more important is the way that these cyber protections are continually updated.
Cybercriminals are constantly inventing new and more devious ways to exploit businesses. As a result, the cyber-security protocols that protect these businesses must be continually updated as these new exploits are discovered.
When businesses pay for their cyber-security as recurring monthly fees, these advances in the protections are typically included in the fees. This means that the newest and most protective measures are in place to protect business data and resources.
ADVANTAGES of Advanced Managed IT Services
- All of the advantages of the MSP model mentioned above: high quality and fast support, effective onboarding to reduce excessive costs later, consistent strategy and budgeting
- Additionally, the Advanced MSP will often bundle additional services
- Specifically, Advanced MSPs will bundle cyber-security with the monthly fees to allow for more consistent spending on cyber-security and a higher level of cyber-security because of real-time updates for these services
DISADVANTAGES of Advanced Managed IT Services
- Higher monthly fees
- Usually, a higher onboarding fee that includes the implementation of the cyber-security protocols
Premium Managed IT Services: $150 – $300/user per month
Some Managed Service Providers in the US offer Premium Managed IT Services. These services are often offered to a vertical market and may include hardware or software specific to these markets. The higher monthly fees might also include maintenance packages to support specific applications that drive these businesses.
In other cases, the premium fees will include all additional project work. This allows IT budgets to be locked in without needing additional funds to be approved for unplanned IT project work. In addition, this eliminates the excessive fees that sometimes accompany unexpected IT projects.
ADVANTAGES of Advanced Managed IT Services
- All of the advantages of the MSP and Advanced MSP model mentioned above: high quality and fast support, effective onboarding to reduce excessive costs later, consistent strategy and budgeting
- The premium fees can cover the costs and maintenance of expensive line-of-business applications
- The premium fees can cover the costs of project work allowing for IT budgets to be locked, and unplanned IT spending eliminated or greatly reduced
DISADVANTAGES of Advanced Managed IT Services
- Higher monthly fees
- Higher onboarding fee that includes the implementation of the cyber-security protocols
The cost of IT support depends on many different factors. Businesses today rely on their technology more than ever before. Very few (if any) systems within a company are not reliant on technology, and IT needs to become part of every business budget. Businesses need their systems to be “up.” The employees within a company need access to their data and business applications (from the office and from their remote offices). A business’s relationship with its technology provider will become more and more important as each year passes.
Most Minnesota companies will benefit from a relationship with a quality-managed services provider. The world continues to evolve, and technology provides more opportunities than ever. Unfortunately, this opens the door for the cyber-criminal who continues to grow. As a result, we believe that all small and large businesses will be forced to continue to bolster their cyber-security posture. Additionally, defining an IT strategy to take full advantage of available technologies will be important to companies wanting to gain or maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace!