Break-Fix Vs. Managed Services

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When it comes to fixing and maintaining your systems, what is the best choice?

The Break-Fix model refers to the practice of only calling in professional IT services when there is a problem, or when an upgrade is needed. While this may seem reasonable to some, the fact of the matter is the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. It is universally agreed upon in the IT industry that the Break-Fix model is outdated and ineffective. In fact, according to information gathered by Clutch, 59% of IT providers have moved from a Break-Fix model to Managed Services.

Managed Services, in this context, refer to the practice of a third-party IT provider managing the IT needs of a company. The services Managed Service Providers (MSP) provide are numerous, and can range anywhere from security to 24/7 monitoring and helpdesk support. In this week’s blog, we are going to explore the pros and cons of Break-Fix and Managed services, to better understand why one is preferable over the other.

Break Fix Cons

Break-fix cons greatly outnumber their pros. The top five issues you should consider are:

Cost: The Break-fix model charges users for consultation, repairs made, and hourly labor. It is impossible to budget for unforeseen issues, and no real way for you to know if you are paying a fair price. There are also no preventative measures being taken to avoid future problems, so with Break-Fix, you are leaving yourself open to surprise costs.

Short-sited: Again, with the Break-Fix model there are no preventive measures included. The idea is that experts are called in on a case to case basis, there is no expectation that they will do anything to prevent you from having to call them in again. Why would they, when that would go against their entire business model?

Inhibits Productivity: Usually, businesses who use this model defer their day to day IT needs to a particularly tech-savvy individual in the office. Though that might seem convenient short term, in the long run pulling that individual away from their actual job is plummeting their productivity and wasting your company’s recourses.

• Hidden Threats: Often, issues will start out small, and go unnoticed. By the time you realize they are there, they will have already reeked serious damage. With Break-Fix, there is no one monitoring your system, therefore there is no way to catch these issues when they are small. Once you actually notice the damage they have done, you will be on the line for costly repairs and serious downtime.

Downtime: When an IT issue occurs, every second your systems are down will cost your business money. Due to the sporadic nature of the Break-Fix model, the expert who comes in to repair your system will have little if any experience with it. It will take extra time for them to become familiar with your IT infrastructure before they can even start tackling the problem. Not only is that costing you money in downtime, but you are also going to have to pay hourly for that extra time

Break Fix Pros

There really are only two possible pros to Break-Fix, both of which are up for some debate:

Monthly Service Fees and Contracts: Not all businesses want to budget out a monthly IT cost, or commit to a contract with an MSP. If you are a business that has little to no IT needs, then maybe that will work for you. On the other hand, if your business relies on technology even a little, than Break-Fix is a real gamble. A monthly fee is a predictable cost you can budget for, and a contract will ensure that your business’s technology needs are always met.

• Control: Some businesses feel like the Break-Fix model gives them control over their IT needs because they get to decide when and why they call for help. While this may be true, they have very little control over what they are actually paying for. Not to mention, they have no control over how the problem is resolved and/or whether it will occur again.

Managed Services Pros

Managed Services provide you with access to a team of IT experts.

There are a lot of benefits to going with Managed Services for your IT needs. Five of these advantages are:

• 24/7 Monitoring: With managed services, experts are constantly monitoring your systems for threats and/or irregularities. Potential threats are squashed immediately, and any problems that arise are resolved before they can affect your system. If the worst were to happen, and your systems were to go down, an expert who is well acquainted with your IT infrastructure will have it back up and running twice as fast.

Prevention: MSPs won’t just monitor and resolve, they will also proactively prevent any future security issues. They will use cutting edge technology to make sure your systems are protected against cybercriminals, viruses or any potential damages.

• Updates: Updates can be pesky and expensive. MSPs will ensure that your software is always up to date, that your data is backed up, and will even manage the security of your third-party apps.

Helpdesk Support: With Managed Services, you will have access to 24/7/365 IT support. Whenever you feel the need, whatever the reason, you can chat, email, or call your MSP helpdesk and reach an IT expert who is eager to help.

Predictable Costs: Managed Services come at a low fix monthly cost. Every month you can easily budget for your IT needs, instead of worrying about surprise costs. You can even work with your MSP to find a plan that fits the specific needs of your business, big or small.

Managed Services Cons

The downside to Managed Services are relative and mirror the pros of Break-Fix. They are:

Trust and Control: It is true that with Managed Services you have to put a lot of trust into your provider. They will have complete access to your system and will be in charge of its upkeep. For a lot of business owners, this may feel like less control than what they had with Break-Fix, but the reality is quite the opposite. With Break Fix, you may have control over who and when you call for help, but you still have to trust them to go into your system and make decisions on how best to fix it. The only difference is, that with Break-Fix you had little to no control over what they were actually doing. With Managed Services, you have a contract that outlines what your MSP can and will do for you. They also provide you with strategic reports, recommendations, and action plans. If any questions arise, you can always call the helpdesk to check in.

Contracts: Most MSPs require contracts, which can feel like too much of a commitment for some businesses owners. With that being said, these contracts don’t just benefit the provider, they also guarantee you a level of service, and ensure that your IT needs will always be met. Break-Fix may not have contracts, but they do have surprise charges and little to no promises that your long-term IT problems will be taken care of.

Ultimately You Decide

It may seem clear to those in the industry that Managed Services are the best IT choice, but the only person who actually knows what works for your business is you. Ultimately you are the one who decides what your business needs. All we can do is present you with information, and offer our services along the way.

If you are interested in discovering new business solutions for your organization, check out OTELCO’s technology guide.

Download OTELCO's Guide to Managed Services and IT Outsourcing