As technology and IT services rapidly advance, managed service providers (MSP) have shifted from providing only break/fix services to also offering ongoing IT support to clients.
Both ongoing managed support and break/fix services have important roles in the world of IT support. Small to medium sized businesses often face the choice of choosing between managed IT and break/fix services and wondering which option will work best for them, and in the end, save the most money.
So, what are the pros and cons of break/fix services and managed IT services and how do you weigh up which option best suits your business needs?
What is break/fix servicing?
The name really says it all. Break/fix servicing provides IT support as requested by the client for a one-off fee. The IT service provider sends a technician to your business premises, and they will then analyze any issues and fix them on-site.
Break/fix services typically charge an hourly rate plus cost of parts or materials needed. Once the problem is resolved, there is no ongoing follow up or support from the IT service provider.
What are the pros and cons of break/fix services?
Many small to medium businesses are unable to hire a dedicated IT person to have on hand when things go wrong. They will outlay an initial cost for technology and trust things will go smoothly from then on.
If something does happen, then they turn to break/fix services on a need basis, which can have both advantages and disadvantages:
- Fee for service:this a complete pay-as-you-go model of service, which means you don’t have to budget for ongoing IT services. You pay for what you need when you need it
- Control:you might prefer to decide when and why you call in an IT service and retain ownership over IT decisions
- Privacy:you may worry about an external party having access to your data and information.
- Unpredictable costs:unexpected IT issues can force your business to seek support that you haven’t budgeted for and have no control over when things keep going wrong. There can also be extra costs if the call out is urgent or requires resources that need to be ordered in
- Waiting to fail:a lack of proactive monitoring and preventative maintenance means you’re waiting for things to go wrong, usually problems that could have been prevented
- Increased downtime:businesses can’t afford to be offline or unable to provide services. Waiting for IT services to respond, diagnose and fix your issue can cost your business time and money
- It can happen again:break/fix services don’t prevent the issue from happening in the future, as preventative measures usually mean ongoing support and maintenance.
What are managed services?
The managed services model offers business owners proactive monitoring and routine maintenance as part of a service level agreement. What this means on a practical level is paying a flat monthly fee to have a dedicated MSP proactively monitor your IT systems to detect problems and resolve issues before they impact your business.
The services offered typically include technical support, cloud services, technology investment and network monitoring, depending on what your business IT system needs are.
Your MSP can suggest and recommend solutions that improve your business function. Or they can offer advice relating to IT issues such as cybersecurity, which is one of the biggest concerns IT professionals across the globe are facing right now.
What are the pros and cons of managed IT services?
Many managed service providers offer both break/fix and managed IT services but there are advantages for businesses who choose the managed service model:
- Cost effective:with fixed monthly fees, you can budget for predictable costs rather hourly rates that might blow out over time, or investing in a full-time in-house IT team
- Proactive approach:with managed services, you’re not just fixing the issue and then waiting for more problems. Monitoring and management of existing systems means preventing the same issues from happening again.
- Business continuity:Fewer service interruptions keep you in business, reducing wasted time and money while you wait for business operations to get back online
- Peace of mind:it’s hard enough to run a business without worrying about disaster recovery and keeping your IT systems up to date. Managed IT services take that burden off your shoulders.
- Initial cost outlay:many MSPs have upfront expenses that can be daunting for small businesses to consider. This is usually because MSPs must align their hardware, servers to your current equipment
- Trust and control:it can be a big ask to trust your MSP as they have access to your system and oversee upkeep and maintenance. You must decide if you’re happy to trade control for an agreed service offering support, recommendations, and action plans
- Contracts: it can be a big commitment to sign a contract with a managed service provider, but it does guarantee you a level of service with an expected fee for service.
The takeaway of break/fix versus managed services
Break/fix services can seem like the cost-effective solution in the short term. Long-term, managed IT services offer you a better return on your investment – you have access to ongoing support, solutions and expected level of service all for an agreed price that holds no surprises.
If you’re ready to switch from break/fix servicing or are curious to know more about what a leading managed service provider can provide your business, get in touch with Solzorro today.