Comparing Break-Fix IT Partner and Managed Service Partner Services

Comparing Break-Fix IT Partner and Managed Service Partner Services

Reducing downtime and increasing security are two of the most essential services for today’s businesses. However, it might be surprising for you to learn that more than 80 percent of companies in the United States experience IT failure related downtime of more than eight hours each year. How much business do you think you might lose during eight hours of downtime? How much more could you accomplish if you went above and beyond to eliminate downtime and improve network security? The best way to ensure that your business is operating effectively, efficiently, and securely, is to work with a professional IT service provider for dependable managed IT services. You can choose between a break-fix IT partner or managed service partner, depending on your needs.

What is a Break-fix IT Partner?

As the name implies, break-fix IT services are a type of IT services that focus primarily on fixing IT issues as they come up. The company only seeks out support or services when something breaks or if they run into a problem, not as an ongoing 24/7 monitoring type of service. This is what is known in the industry as a reactive approach, rather than a proactive type of service. The IT professionals are only called in after operations have been disrupted, either due to a cyberattack, cybersecurity issue, hardware or software problem.

For some organizations, a break-fix IT partner is a great way to reduce costs by only paying for the support that they actually use. Rather than having someone on call 24/7 in the event that they might need them, they only use the services when they are needed. Unfortunately, while it might seem like a more cost-effective method, the break-fix IT partner method can oftentimes be more costly. This is especially true if an emergency situation comes up or of services are needed after hours, either overnight, on weekends, or on holidays. Also depending on the issue, the time required to identify the problem and fix it could take a lot longer, resulting in more downtime, than a more proactive approach.

What is a Managed Service Partner?

In a somewhat opposite approach, the managed service partner is a much more proactive type of service that provides ongoing IT support, maintenance, and services. Whether as a 24/7 monitoring and management service, or as merely a contracted service provider who takes responsibility for maintaining and managing the IT infrastructure, these services are offered via a flat monthly charge. An agreement is created between the managed service partner and the company that hires them to provide these services, including predictable IT costs, and an outline of all services that will be rendered, so everyone knows what to expect.

Some of the benefits associated with this type of service is that the managed service partner is focused on preventing common IT issues from happening before the occur. Unlike the break-fix IT approach, which waits for something to go wrong first before anything is done about it, managed IT services are much more proactive. This is why you will typically see monitoring and management services go hand-in-hand with the managed service partner situation. Regular maintenance is also performed, updated security measures are applied, hardware updates are performed, software updates are maintained and current, all to minimize the risk of security issues and downtime.

What are the Pros and the Cons of Break-Fix IT vs. Managed Service?

With a basic understanding of what is to be expected from both types of IT services, the best course of action is to consider the pros and cons of each method. While some advantages may be more obvious than others, it is important to think about which option would work best for your business – and why. This will help to ensure that you maximize the return on your investment and find an IT service provider that will best meet your unique needs and requirements.

The pros of break-fix IT include:

  • Pay only for the services that are required
  • Flexible options to choose only the IT support that is needed
  • Immediate cost-savings for small businesses that only have occasional IT needs

The cons of break-fix IT include:

  • Significant downtime following IT issues
  • Increased issues due to non-proactive approach to maintenance and updates
  • Emergency services frequently required due to the reactive-style services

The pros of managed services include:

  • Predictable monthly costs for ongoing IT support
  • Consistent monitoring and maintenance of the IT environment and infrastructure
  • A more pro-active approach to IT services, maintenance, and updates

The cons of managed services include:

  • May be cost-prohibitive for start-ups and small businesses

The Case for Managed Service Partner Support
When asked, the majority of professional businesses – including small and medium sized businesses in the United States – stated that they started out with a more reactive, break-fix IT solution. However, once their business began to grow and they experienced downtime due to IT problems, they quickly changed to a managed service partner option. Making the transition from a reactive to a proactive approach can be challenging, especially when considering the monthly costs for a service that may seem like it does nothing for your business. The truth is that when managed services are doing their job correctly, they are rarely noticed, because they proactively perform maintenance, upgrades, updates, and monitor the network for any signs of trouble.

As a result, all of this work being done behind the scenes will typically thwart cyberattacks before they happen, prevent data loss issues due to security breaches, and ensure reduced downtime, due to staying on top of the latest updates and upgrades for all software, hardware, and peripherals. It’s kind of like the analogy of the duck who looks calm and collected on top of the water but is paddling furiously underneath to get where he needs to go. That’s not saying that all businesses should transition to the managed service partner approach from break-fix IT services, but if you have any thoughts that it might make a difference in how you do business, it’s time to at least consider making a change.

What Type of Business Benefits from a Break-Fix IT Approach?

One argument for or against making the change to managed service partner solutions could be the type of business that you operate. This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of having so many options when it comes to hiring or outsourcing IT solutions. There are certain types of businesses that will thrive better under a break-fix IT environment and others that will do better under managed services support. For example, one study showed that companies that have IT issues that are not recurring, have a limited budget for technology as a whole, have minimal users of said technology, and only require simple IT support will work better with the break-fix type, reactive approach.

On the other hand, companies that require heavy use of databases to perform daily tasks, have multiple users of technology within the company framework, and are very tech-driven or information dependent, will work better in a proactive, preventive type scenario. These companies, due to the inherent nature of the business services they provide or the work that they do will most likely prioritize their investment in a 24/7 monitoring and management service and will strive to minimize the amount of in-house, hands-on work that they have to do on a regular basis to effectively manage their IT environment. This type of business is the one that will most often start off with a break-fix mentality and then evolve quickly to a more managed, proactive approach.

Is a Managed Service Partner Solution Right for You?

One of the best ways to determine which type of approach is better for your organization is to partner with a professional technology service provider that has an understanding of the type of business you do, the goals that you have for the future, and the way that you operate your day-to-day business structure. Synivate offers innovative technology solutions to a wide range of clients in the Greater Boston area, including small and medium-sized businesses, as well as start-ups and long-running businesses looking to modernize or become more tech-driven. Our team of highly trained, experienced, and knowledgeable technicians and engineers can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the ongoing management and maintenance of your IT infrastructure.

Some things that you need to consider when making an informed decision include:

  1. Managed Service Partner programs focus on preventing a problem from occurring, while Break-fix IT solutions are designed to fix a problem after it has already occurred.
  2. The type of business that you operate, the number of employees, and amount of tech-dependence that your company has will determine which option is best for you.
  3. Investing in proactive services can be ideal for companies that want to focus on growing and advancing their technology rather than worrying about what new innovations might do to current operations.
  4. Managed Service Partner programs are an ongoing investment, designed to take your company into the future without fear of tech-based issues, while Break-fix IT solutions will only cost you money if IT issues occur.

Get a FREE Estimate for Our Services

If you are interested in learning more about Synivate and the IT services that we provide, give us a call at 617-517-0704. We can answer any questions that you might have about monitoring and management services, professional technology consultations, and can even offer you a free initial consultation to help you gain a better understanding of your Information Technology needs. Our team can assist you with managed IT services, complex migrations, cloud projects, infrastructure deployments, and much more. Our vCIO services can be used to provide executive IT leadership without necessitating a full-time executive cost. At Synivate, we spend the majority of our time working proactively on behalf of our clients to help prevent costly business delays and devastating setbacks.

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Sean Maguire