Which model fits your company – Managed IT services or ‘break fix’ IT support?

With the advancements of technology and more businesses moving everything online, IT management has become increasingly complex and laborious. For large companies, the solution is usually to employ an in-house IT team, however, for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) this solution is neither cost effective nor manageable.

So how do SMBs maintain their IT infrastructure without an inhouse team? Small and medium sized businesses outsource their IT support to third party IT specialists. They can choose from IT managed services or ‘break fix’ support.

But what exactly are these services, how do they differ and what are the pros and cons of each? Let’s take a closer look…

What are managed IT services?

Managed IT services refers to the process of outsourcing your IT infrastructure and management to a third-party company. They work on subscription or monthly contracts, usually with an agreed monthly fee for their ongoing services. Sometimes referred to as MSPs, the monthly fee will depend on the work needed to maintain the business’ IT infrastructure and how complex it is to set up.

Managed IT services can include hardware and software installation, maintenance and troubleshooting, hardware monitoring, server maintenance, antivirus and security software, and more.

MSPs can either work completely remotely, or local providers will offer a personal service with premises visits. When partnering with a managed IT service, they will provide you with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the scope of work, continuous monitoring and helpdesk support.

What is ‘break fix’ IT support?

The ‘break-fix model’ is essentially the pay-as-you-go alternative to having a support agreement with an MSP. As the name suggests, a break-fix provider will deal with a problem when they are asked to resolve it on an ad-hoc basis. For this, they will charge a rate, usually by the hour and a call-out-rate for their travel to the premises.

As well as IT issues, ‘break fix’ IT support will also help with hardware and software installations, managing upgrades, privacy and security software, and lots more.

Should I use a managed service or a ‘break fix’ model?

There are pros and cons to both of these services, however, it should be mentioned that ‘break fix’ IT support is slowly being phased out for many companies. This is mainly due to the new and more complex demands of the digital world. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of both options.

Pros of managed IT services

  • Stable and consistent monthly fees are easier to fit into budgets and forecasts.
  • 24-hour monitoring provides quick responses to IT issues.
  • A local managed IT service means you can have access to on-site support quickly, decreasing the chances of long periods of downtime.
  • The monthly retainer means IT support have an incentive to ensure your IT infrastructure and systems are running smoothly and offer suggestions for improvements.
  • Hardware, software, and servers are all managed and updated.
  • Backups are kept up to date.
  • Employees have constant access to an IT helpdesk to log incidents, maintaining productivity.
  • Strong antivirus and cyber security is maintained, alongside disaster prevention and data recovery.
  • A business relationship is formed between the partners, ensuring that IT support is streamlined and beneficial.
  • Remote Managing and Monitoring (RMM) software decreases disruption to work practices.

Cons of managed IT services

  • You may end up paying for some services that you don’t use.
  • The idea of handing over control of IT from inhouse to an external provider may be challenging in some cases.
  • The cost of initial setup and creation of external monitoring technology can sometimes be out of budget.

Pros of ‘break fix’ IT support

  • You only pay for what work is carried out.
  • With an inhouse IT specialist who can oversee the more basic IT support, you will only need external help for more challenging projects.
  • Third party companies will not have constant access to your business’ IT systems.

Cons of ‘break fix’ IT support

  • When paying per job, IT outgoings are hard to predict and challenging to factor into budgets.
  • For each problem the new IT specialist will have to learn the IT system and business from scratch which will take longer and therefore cost more.
  • There can be risks attached to relying on external IT specialists who are paid hourly.
  • You need to have a basic understanding of the problem you are facing and who to contact for help.
  • The scope of work will stop when the issue is fixed or the installation is complete, there is no incentive for the IT specialist to look at long term troubleshooting.
  • Your business may not be the main priority for the external IT specialist and therefore could increase downtime.

We can help!

E2E Technologies are a managed IT services provider based in the North West. We provide bespoke packages to suit the needs of businesses. Contact the team today to find out more about how we can help with your IT requirements.