Managed IT and break-fix services both play vital roles in the world of IT business support. But what is managed IT service, and why is it so often said that it’s a better approach than a break-fix model?
The most straightforward answer is that many businesses lack the internal resources to handle their IT infrastructure adequately. Those with small IT teams find it particularly challenging to stay up-to-date with managing, upgrading, and protecting the company’s network. A managed service provider (MSP) is often, ultimately, the most cost-effective way to remain secure while accelerating innovation and growth.
What Is Managed IT Service?
The simplest response to the question, What is managed IT service?, is it’s the practice of a third-party IT provider managing your company’s IT needs. What managed IT services entail, though, is much broader, ranging anywhere from security to 24/7 monitoring and help desk support.
Benefits to managed IT services include:
- Predictable costs. Managed IT services come with a fixed monthly fee, making it easier to budget for your IT needs. You no longer need to worry that one major IT disaster is going to set your company back.
- 24/7 monitoring. From more secure cloud deployments to reducing human error, managed IT service providers use advanced monitoring tools to keep an eye on your system 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These tools monitor your system’s health, notify engineers of critical network issues, and identify potential problems before they occur.
- Proactive security. MSPs don’t just monitor and resolve system issues. Using the latest in data defense technology, they also proactively prevent future security issues and ensure your systems are protected against cybercriminals, viruses, or any other potential damages.
- Regular updates. Software updates can be expensive. Managed IT services ensure your software’s always up-to-date, your data is backed up, and your third-party apps are secure.
Are there any downsides to managed IT services? Yes, but in most cases, they’re relatively minor. For some smaller businesses, they may be too expensive, though many MSPs try to work with companies to find a solution that fits their budget. If your business doesn’t need 24/7 support or if it needs a round-the-clock physical IT security presence, managed IT services might not be your best bet.
Managed It Services vs. Break-Fix
Let’s move on from “What is managed IT service?” to “What does break-fix mean?”
Break-fix services are either done in-house or provided by a third party that charges your business on a fee-based system. When something “breaks” in your network, you get it fixed as needed. Break-fix service providers generally work on a time and materials basis, charging you an hourly rate plus the cost of things like hardware parts and software updates.
There’s a lot of appeal to a break-fix model for SMBs on limited IT budgets or who have simple IT needs. For instance, there are no up-front costs, and you only pay when something goes wrong. The disadvantage to a break-fix approach, though, is the lack of proactive monitoring of your system and the preventative maintenance that often averts breakdowns. Just like people who don’t invest in oil changes to keep their vehicle’s moving parts running, not taking preventive measures with your IT system can result in a major failure that costs far more than if you had made the investment. Besides, everyone knows server failures, like car breakdowns, happen at the most inopportune times.
In recent years, the break-fix model has declined in popularity when compared to managed IT services. First, as mentioned, it’s never a good idea to wait until critical software or hardware components fail before addressing the problem, particularly in an age when downtime can be extremely costly.
Making the transition from break-fix to a managed services model can completely change the way your business runs—more often than not, for the better. Before long, instead of asking, “What is managed IT service?” you’ll find yourself wondering, “How did I get by without it?”