IT services such as managed IT and break/fix play a vital role in IT business support. SMBs, especially small- and medium-sized ones, have to choose between managed IT and break/fix. This is to maximize their IT resources and staff.
Managed IT and break/fix are cousins in the information tech family tree. Both share the goal to address key IT issues such as system upgrades, repairs and installations across all platforms, software, and hardware. Both can resolve problems quickly and in compliance. There are important differences in how managed IT services and fix/break IT services accomplish these functions and what clients should realistically expect from each.
What are Break/Fix IT Services, and How Do They Work?
When IT issues, arise, break/fix IT services are only available to your company. The vendor sends a professional IT technician to diagnose and resolve any system problems in your business. They also provide on-site solutions. The services rendered by the technician are charged to businesses. Break/Fix IT services do not have ongoing fees or contracts.
This allows organizations to access the IT services they need when and where it is needed. Although a technician can provide advice or suggestions on preventing future problems, there is not much pre-emptive support.
Technicians who break or fix things charge per hour. They might also charge for an initial or post-servicing consult and speciality tools and parts required to repair software or hardware.
These are some common situations in which break/fix services may be required:
- Upgrades or installations of hardware
- Peripheral equipment installation
- Network repairs
- Initiating new privacy and defence software
- Training or education for general IT contractors
What are the benefits of IT services such as Break/Fix?
There are many benefits to IT services’ transactional nature, such as break/fix.
- Service fee: Businesses only pay for the actual services rendered. There are no monthly subscriptions or contracts, and there are no additional or ongoing fees added to bills. Organizations don’t need to go through the contract procurement process — researching, vetting and hiring a third-party managed services provider (MSP), who might raise rates or offer unneeded complicated servicing agreements.
- Autonomy IT service providers that offer break-fix IT services let their staff resolve most system issues or glitches independently, provided they have the time and expertise. This can be an empowering and satisfying responsibility, depending on the IT department’s dynamics. SMBs with a simple IT environment may not need the technical expertise and subsequent costs associated with full MSP partnerships.
- Privacy: Data privacy and network security have become more important enterprise concerns. Many organizations are looking for cost-effective ways to improve IT oversight of web-based, cloud, or on-premise software and the equipment and collaborative hardware interconnecting them. With cybersecurity incidents increasing and becoming more complex, many are seeking cost-effective solutions. Over two-thirds of SMBs have reported a cybersecurity incident within the last two years. These incidents range from phishing schemes targeting employees to data-breaching malware and system compromises. These incidents led to nearly half of SMBs losing productivity and over a third having to stop business operations or lose critical business applications. Some organizations feel the need to protect their privacy and be diligent is more important than the protections offered by potential MSPs, which could expose them to new breaches or threats. Many companies use an ad-hoc fix/break service because of this privacy mindset.
- Simplicity. Companies with a break/fix mindset tend to keep most of their IT operations in-house. They can decide when, where, how and why they allow outsiders into their internal systems and software. This is done using a simple service that mirrors other repair models, such as fixing a car. This transactional approach can be attractive for organizations that value simplicity and have limited resources to deal with technical issues.
- Control Organizations feel more in control of their IT systems because they have greater autonomy and a stronger emphasis on internal management. Businesses make the final call on what access and reach other parties have to their networks. This increases their IT ownership.
What are the disadvantages of IT services such as Break/Fix?
As with any major business decision, break/fix IT service has its drawbacks.
- Budget uncertainty: Break/fix does not allow organizations to forecast certain IT expenses. Businesses cannot budget ahead because break/fix IT management is dependent on the actual occurrence of problems. Break/fix is unpredictable and more expensive than long-term plans. Different system malfunctions and repairs can have different pricing. Companies facing financial difficulties are forced to pay the charges of technicians, which can lead to a precarious budget.
- Experience: Companies who hire outside IT specialists rely on the technician’s skills and knowledge to fix and identify network problems. Their final billings will also be affected by how quickly they can do this. It will take IT specialists, with no experience or knowledge of your system, to identify and solve the problem. Your business will end up paying the greater bill.