Break/fix IT support vs. managed IT services

Break/fix IT support vs. managed IT services

Be it in personal or professional contexts, self-sufficiency is valued. This is because people don’t have to wait on others to resolve their issues, and it usually costs less than paying someone to do it for them. When it comes to IT in particular, many startups do well by having tech-savvy members on their teams.

However, because of the highly technical and quick-to-evolve nature of IT, there comes a point where the problem is too complex for in-house staff to solve on their own. Sooner or later, IT professionals have to be hired. With this in mind, a manager can go for one of two types of services: break/fix IT support or managed IT services. Let’s take a closer look at each of them to see which one is better for businesses.

Because of the highly technical and quick-to-evolve nature of IT, there comes a point where IT problems are too complex for in-house staff to solve on their own.

What is break/fix IT support?

This type of service is provided by an on-call IT technician. That is, when something in the IT infrastructure breaks, the technician is called to come over the site to fix the problem. When they’ve done their job, they are paid for their time, expertise, and the materials they used.

Since technicians are compensated only after they’ve rendered their services, break/fix IT support appears to be very economical, which is why many small businesses choose this type of support. Additionally, if the technician is free, they can drop by immediately. However, by the same token, if the technician has many clients lined up, the latest one to call may have to wait a long period of time or find someone else if their need is urgent enough.

Moreover, there is also the risk that the technician’s knowledge and skills are insufficient. They may end up burning a lot of time and may even exacerbate the problem. However, even if the technician is knowledgeable enough to provide options for solving the problem, clients tend to choose quick fixes over intensive and long-lasting solutions because such solutions take much longer to implement. And since technicians have income only when their clients have problems, they are happy to oblige penny-pinching clients in the hopes of getting repeat business in the long run.

Other important things to note about the break/fix model is that it is reactive, and that clients don’t know how much they’ll be charged in the end. While waiting for their technical issue to be resolved, businesses continue to suffer the ill effects of that issue, be it reduced productivity or lost customers. Lastly, not knowing how big the bill will be makes break/fix IT support very difficult to budget for. All in all, this type of service tends to be more expensive the longer one relies on it.

What are managed IT services?

These are services that help businesses fulfill a wide range of IT requirements beyond IT repair. Managed IT services providers (MSPs) commonly offer the following:

  • IT consultation – Assesses a business’s IT needs and designs a strategy for fulfilling these needs
  • Cybersecurity – Ensures data accessibility for authorized users while keeping it away from cybercriminals and other bad actors
  • Monitoring and maintenance – Watches over IT systems and addresses potential issues before they become full-blown problems
  • Cloud services – Offers data processing power and storage over the internet

MSPs essentially allow companies without IT departments to have one. Unlike break/fix technicians that need their clients to have IT problems to survive, MSPs would rather keep their clients away from technical issues. MSPs practically adopt their client’s goals because the latter’s continued success means continued business for them. Therefore, the IT support they provide for the most part is continuous and must meet the terms and conditions specified in service level agreements (SLAs).

Of course, when technical issues do arise, MSPs can also provide onsite IT support. Response teams are composed of IT technicians with diverse specializations — this diversity broadens and deepens the knowledge pool that can be tapped for solving new and complex problems. Last but not least, MSPs often serve businesses from various industries and are thus exposed to a wide range of IT challenges. The experiences gained from meeting those challenges grant service providers greater power for supporting their clients.

Managed IT services allow businesses to customize their IT to their needs and also avoid suffering costly technical issues in the first place. Download our FREE eBook to learn more about how managed services can help unleash the full potential of your business!

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