Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: What’s the Difference?

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Did you know that 60% of businesses that lose their data shut down within six months of the disaster? This statistic illuminates a stark truth about today’s digital landscape.  “As the digital world continues to evolve, maintaining seamless IT operations is not just a preference, it’s absolutely necessary,” says Jonathan Sandmel, CEO for Steady Networks.  “The main objective, however, is to determine which solution for operations maintenance represents the best way forward.”   This begs the question: how exactly do you ensure your business is protected and primed to thrive? One key aspect lies in your approach to IT support.  Two common methods dominate the market: break-fix services and managed services. In this blog, we’ll explore the functions of break-fix vs. managed services, assess their pros and cons, and provide actionable guidance to help you make the best choice for your business.   

Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: Which is Right for Me?

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Understanding Break-Fix Services

The break-fix model, as the name suggests, is a fee-for-service approach where a company hires an IT professional to resolve specific technical issues as they arise. These professionals typically charge an hourly rate.

Pros and Cons of Break-Fix Services

With break-fix, you’re only paying for the services you use, which may seem cost-effective initially. You also won’t have to worry about long-term contracts or subscriptions, and you’ll retain complete control over your IT needs. However, there is a downside. In this reactive approach, you only request assistance when there’s a system failure. As a result, there is potential for more extensive damage and longer downtime, which can cause significant disruption to your business. Another issue with the break-fix model is a lack of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) . In contrast to managed services agreements, break-fix is not governed by guaranteed response or resolution times. Instead, they depend on the availability of the individuals providing the service.

Understanding Managed Services

Managed services provide businesses like yours with a full suite of IT services under one roof. They have proven to be quite popular, to such an extent that the entire managed services market is forecasted to be valued at $380.83 billion by 2028 . Contrasting with the break-fix model, managed IT services operate on a proactive approach. Managed service providers (MSPs) offer comprehensive IT support for a fixed monthly fee. This includes proactive monitoring, routine maintenance, and even strategic IT planning.

Pros and Cons of Managed Services

The managed service model may require more of an upfront investment, but it can significantly reduce the risk of severe system failure. Plus, they are backed by clear SLAs, ensuring you receive a guaranteed level of service in every engagement. The managed services approach covers regular system updates, routine backups, and real-time remote monitoring. However, the cons include ongoing costs even when no significant IT issues arise, dealing with out-of-scope problems, and a lack of a physical presence.  
Break-Fix vs. Managed Services
Source: Mordor Intelligence

Comparative Analysis: Break-Fix vs. Managed Services

As previously mentioned, the response time for break-fix services varies, often depending on the severity of the issue. On the other hand, with managed services, SLAs typically ensure a rapid response, reducing downtime and thus saving on costs. Furthermore, a provider that uses the managed services model can act as a full-time IT department for your business, providing strategic insights and planning that a break-fix approach can’t offer.  Break-fix simply arrives on the scene to resolve an issue, charges an hourly rate, and then sends you an invoice, making it somewhat similar to the professional services model .

Transitioning From Break-Fix to Managed Services

Many businesses that are well aware of the pros and cons, are transitioning from break fix to managed services. But how does this transition occur?  It begins with an audit of the current IT setup, followed by a detailed plan to transition the services. The plan includes timeframes, budgets, and a detailed outline of the services to be provided. Companies that make the shift from break-fix to managed services often enjoy cost savings over time. Data from CompTIA shows that 50% of businesses working with MSPs saved 1-24% in annual IT costs, while 13% saved 50% or more.

Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: A Quick Comparison

Break-Fix Model Managed Services Model 
Cost Pay-per-service Monthly fixed cost
Availability As-needed basis 24/7/365
Strategy Reactive Proactive
Best For Smaller issues, budget constraints Continuous support, strategic planning

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Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: Make the Right Choice for Your Business Today

Navigating the comparison of break fix vs managed services requires careful consideration of your business needs, resources, and long-term IT strategy.  However, the scale often tips in favor of managed services, given the proactive approach to prevent system failures and the strategic insight provided.  As a leading source for managed IT services in New Mexico, Steady Networks bring an effective combination of expertise, customer service, and strategic IT planning to the table to cover your technology needs. With our 24.6-minute average resolution time and 28.4-minute average response time, our experts prioritize rapid resolutions to help you regain control of your workday. This approach has earned a customer satisfaction rating of 99.1% from our clients. Don’t let IT issues derail your day-to-day operations. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find the right IT support solution for your business.  
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Frequently Asked Questions: Comparing Break-Fix and Managed Services

Break-fix is a fee-for-service model where IT professionals are hired to resolve specific technical issues as they arise, often charging an hourly rate.

Pros include pay-as-you-go pricing and no long-term contracts. Cons include the potential for more extensive damage, longer downtime, and no guaranteed response or resolution times.

Managed services offer a full suite of IT services for a fixed monthly fee, including proactive monitoring and routine maintenance.

Break-fix operates on an as-needed basis and is reactive. Managed services provide 24/7/365 availability and are proactive.

Data from CompTIA shows that 50% of businesses working with MSPs saved 1-24% in annual IT costs, while 13% saved 50% or more.

Transitioning involves an audit of the current IT setup, followed by a detailed plan that includes timeframes, budgets, and services to be provided.

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Steady Networks and IT Solutions Join Forces

We are pleased to announce a new partnership with IT Solutions Consulting, a managed services provider headquartered in Fort Washington, PA. IT Solutions has a robust reputation in the IT industry and is backed by 30 years of experience. Together, we’ll continue to deliver top-tier service with our combined team of technology professionals under the IT Solutions name. Click here for more details.