• Mohammed Yusuf

Break-Fix vs. Managed Services

Customers have historically used IT support companies that provide reactive solutions for their technology challenges. In some instances, this served the IT company well, as their service would be judged by how quickly they can attend to a problem. Typically, customers that rely on technology to operate would benefit from using a managed services solution, however many of those that are trying to save on expenses will often opt for a break-fix approach. The question is how do you choose what IT service model is right for your business: break-fix or managed services?


As the name indicates, this is a model that is a pay-as-you-need service. What’s unfortunate about this approach is that the technicians that provides the service often work at an expensive hourly rate. This model is not conducive to creating a predictable budget for your business. Organizations that thrive on budgeting will find it challenging to plan for their IT support needs

Some of the other disadvantages of Break-Fix IT support include:

  • The break-fix providers don’t invest in network management tools, due to a lack of incentive for them to do so

  • Your IT maintenance provider has no financial incentive to keep your environment stable as they bill upon each service visit or problem ticket

  • Increased downtime that has the potential for lost business and revenue

  • Variable costs (hourly billing), variable response times and a lack of guarantees

The lack of a solid investment by the service provider within the customer environment makes it difficult for the provider to be fully vested in the well being of the businesses they serve. It should also be noted that frequent repairs are business opportunities for the break-fix technicians, who only get paid when there is a significant problem to be addressed. Actually, it is in the break-fix technician’s best interest to be subject to frequent problems. They also may be reluctant to help you move your business forward with cloud services, because they may view the cloud as a significant threat to their business model, which relies on your systems repeatedly failing, which cloud services tend to avoid rather well.

The break-fix model might seem cost-effective at first since it negates the monthly fee of an MSP. However, overall, it rarely turns out to be cost-effective as the potential of a hefty bill to resolve issues arises. The break-fix method is a reactive model that will end up costing your SMB more eventually.

Managed Services

The best way to explain Managed Services, is to think of a car example. In the lifetime of the car you perform multiple oil changes to keep the engine from seizing up. You get cleanings every six months from your dentist to prevent rotting teeth. Actively taking care of your systems will allow you to be in an IT environment that is stable and reliable, where things don’t pile up. Utilizing a Managed Service provides constant monitoring and upgrading of your systems without waiting for something to crash, enabling businesses to take preventative measures to ensure smooth operations of all your facilities.

Some of the advantages of a managed service contract include:

  • You pay a fixed monthly fee

  • MSP is incentivised to keep your network as stable as possible

  • Proactive maintenance to achieve optimal network stability

  • Enjoying the benefits of enterprise-level automation and monitoring systems

  • A comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA) backed by response times

  • Outsource of IT functions so that they SMB can focus on their business

While the value of working with a Managed Service Provider is beneficial for your business, like anything valuable, it does have a cost. MSP's generally require a monthly fee for their services, so when choosing to retain one, you should make sure that their service plan is comprehensive. It should include not only antivirus, monitoring and help desk support, but also executive consultation, and process automation. The cost of engaging with an MSP may seem like an unnecessary expense when things are running smoothly, but having both system protection and expert IT consultation in your corner can increase your company’s overall productivity. Moreover, that cost doesn’t seem as significant when an big issue arises.

As businesses look to ways to minimize risk and avoid disruptions in productivity, break-fix IT repair is becoming a less common method of addressing potential IT problems. Budgeting for an ongoing managed service may be a financial commitment, but it generally will result in increased productivity as your business can focus on its core practices and priorities. The benefits of using an MSP are that it can prevent loss of critical data, optimize efficiency, and ensure professional, knowledgeable IT help for your business. Ultimately, the decision of how best to take care of possible IT problems for your business is up to you.

Mohammed Yusuf