Explaining the Difference Between Break-Fix vs. Managed Services

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The debate between break-fix vs. managed services has been a long-time debate for business owners in deciding whether to avail themselves of IT support services. There are differences in scope, expertise, and associated costs.

Simply put, break-fix services are on-call IT support that charges whenever you call them over. Meanwhile, managed services allow a provider to take over management of a business’s IT, including its maintenance, upkeep, and is a better preventive service that reduces risks on things like downtime, data loss or security breaches.

These two services comprise a significant part of the IT services outsourcing market, a global market segment valued at $530.15 billion in 2021. But, before you start outsourcing your IT support needs, you need to know which pricing model is right for you.

Here’s all you need to know about break-fix vs. managed services.


Understanding the Break-Fix Model

As mentioned, this model for providing IT support is built on the idea of “you break it, they fix it.” If something in your infrastructure starts acting up or does not function as intended, you call an IT provider that offers break-fix and they come help assess and solve the problem.

Depending on the arrangement, they will send a professional who resolves issues within moderate response times.

Break-fix IT field services and support services are built around reactive support to fix issues, extending their expertise in response to a customer problem. As such, they only charge whenever their services are needed, giving rise to (often) unpredictable costs.

Some of the most common break-fix services include the following:


1. Virus Removal

Atlas VPN reported that over 34 million species of malware had been discovered from January to April 2022. This translates to over 316,000 new threats every day on average.

Virus removal work focuses on mitigating the spread and damage of malware or helping you regain access to your network after an attack.


2. Hardware Setup or Hardware Upgrades

Hardware setup, installation and upgrades across multiple locations typically take much coordination and are taxing on the internal IT team.

This is why many organizations will hire an outside company to handle upgrading, reconfiguring, or repairing hardware through a break-fix service where you pay a set fee for service.

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3. Software Updates

Software distributors regularly update their products to address design or performance flaws or introduce new features. While most apps can be updated by the end user with ease, this is not always the case.

Unless the app is covered by warrant, having a professional update the software is usually a break-fix or project arrangement. Similarly, project-based application development services also fall within this category.


4. Skills Training

You can also enlist IT professionals to conduct skills training and workshops for your in-house teams. In doing so, you align them with new technology or existing best practices.

You can also employ a team specializing in digital experience services to improve the customer experience and onboard your teams.

While it can sometimes be cost-effective (depending on the frequency of your IT issues), reactive support means waiting for a problem to appear before doing anything about it.

The issue can be symptomatic of a much larger, more profound problem. Even worse, this can lead to recurring issues, the root causes of which are never permanently solved.

Managed Services vs. Break Fix

Credit: ThisIsEngineering


Understanding the Managed Service Model

Standing on the other side of the break-fix vs. managed services debate is a model that revolves around proactive support based on a flat monthly fee. Here, you trust a dedicated team of professionals to always be on top of your IT and thereby expect it to run smoothly.

Instead of paying predetermined rates for specific tasks, you agree on a recurring subscription-based charge. Aside from monthly fees, you also discuss the agreement’s terms, outlined in a service-level agreement (SLA) so that your specific IT needs are always met.

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A managed service provider (MSP) makes it their responsibility to minimize the risks of system failure that could adversely affect your IT operations.

Some of the standard services under this model include:

1. Cybersecurity

From set-up to configuration and maintenance per your business needs to responding to emergencies, all responsibilities in managed cyber security services fall on the service provider’s shoulders.

A managed security services provider (MSSP) is a subset of standard MSPs that specializes in setting up and maintaining cybersecurity for clients.


2. Network Management

Outsourced network management is one of the most common MSP services available for small businesses and large corporations, and it can now be facilitated entirely from the cloud.

A 2021 survey from ESG shows that almost half (47%) of its respondents are looking into cloud-based network management solutions to streamline business operations.

With cloud-based network management from an MSP, your provider can remotely manage critical IT tasks such as routing, monitoring, and maintenance. It can also cover managed database services, depending on the requirements.


3. Cloud Computing and Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting simply refers to lending IT resources from the cloud. Depending on your needs, a managed services provider can lend access to storage and computational resources, apps, and even entire platforms.

Depending on your needs, it can also cover a wide range of services. From periodic data migration to using software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps, a cloud computing services company can help set up a plan that meets your needs.


Deciding Between Break Fix vs. Managed Services: The Final Word

There are other services that can move between break-fix and managed service, depending on the arrangement.

For example, staff augmentation services can be a break-fix if it intends to outsource headhunting and hiring. It can be a managed service if it involves the continuous management of additional personnel.

You can better identify the services you need after reading either side’s features, pros, and cons. To help you achieve that competitive edge, whether it’s break-fix or managed IT services, Buchanan Technologies is ready to listen.

You can easily set up a free consultation with us today, and together we can have a discussion to determine what course of action would make the most sense for your business.


Featured Image Credit: Field Engineer 

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