Break/Fix vs Managed IT Services

With the emergence of the pandemic, IT systems have become the core functionality to many businesses. Working-from-home has become the new norm. Hence, one shouldn’t take the decision of choosing the right management option for IT services lightly.

Large companies who have big IT divisions can manage their own infrastructure in-house. Businesses without in-house specialized IT skills, such as medium or small-sized ones, have two main options to consider in managing their IT landscape. They are break/fix and managed services.

What are Break/Fix IT services?

This approach to managing your IT involves calling external IT services only when something in your system breaks. These services are also sought for specialized skills lacking in-house, such as complex software upgrades, network performance issues, or security concerns. Overall, the management of the IT infrastructure sits internally within the business.

While the business maintains control over their IT system with this option, break/fix services are reactive rather than proactive monitoring. It might seem like a cheaper option, but it requires a level of in-house IT staff to manage your IT systems, and makes it difficult to budget IT costs because the costs will be unexpected.

When IT staff are called in to fix a problem, they first assess the issue and services required. However, the cost may not be immediately clear. These skills are typically charged on an hourly basis, making it difficult to determine a fair price without an ongoing relationship. Additionally, unfamiliarity with the system may require time for them to become acquainted with it. While their focus remains on resolving the immediate issue, they may not offer suggestions for system improvements to prevent future occurrences. Because there is no ongoing relationship, they might not be able to get onto the problem straight away. Downtime can severely hurt a business’ reputation, so there is a high level of risk involved with the break/fix model.

It service business meeting

What are Managed IT Services?

Managed Service Providers (MSP) offer this kind of service. This is where a business will outsource the management of their IT infrastructure, or parts of their infrastructure, to an MSP. Every MSP will offer different specializations with certified skills in areas like security, cloud services, telephony services, and more.

It then becomes their job to look after your IT, which they will do proactively rather than reactively. They will get to know your system well and offer suggestions for improvement. Essentially, they will become part of your team. Many also offer 24/7 monitoring and support through email, chat, or phone.

Managed services involve service level agreements. MSPs will sit with you and draw up a SLA which will outline the services included and response times, but businesses can generally alter the subscription with their MSP. For example, an MSP may only be responsible for the cloud service of a particular business, or they might only focus on security.

Many MSPs will also offer a break/fix service for those businesses that want to retain control of their IT assets. However, their managed service model gives businesses peace of mind and alleviates the burden of IT management.

The costing structure for managed services entails a predictable monthly cost. Managed services also cut internal staffing costs, especially since many MSPs have specialized IT staff and have seen it all. According to CompTIA, 46% of companies that use managed IT services have cut their annual IT costs by at least 25%.

Importance of MSP services

An MSP will get to know your system as they monitor it, catching many problems before they happen since they know what to look for and will implement preventive measures. MSPs are abreast of the latest technology and will update systems accordingly with the latest updates and patches. When it comes to IT security, they know how to configure systems for the most secure options. For example, they know all about supply chain attacks and what the best approach is to safeguard digital assets.

The downside to managed services involves relinquishing control of IT. It entails a level of commitment since agreements can be long term. However, in exchange for this, a business can hand over the burden of IT and know they are in good hands. The major upside of managed services lies in having a reliable IT infrastructure, as it greatly reduces the risk of downtime. This will keep customers happy and create a more reliable brand, all for a monthly fee.

The right decision around the management of your IT can make a significant impact on the efficiency of your business processes and brand. Talk to the experts at Merit Technologies to find out more about the managed IT services available to help your business with ongoing proactive support.

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