Break/fix IT vs. managed IT services: Which is best for Seattle businesses?

Break/fix IT vs. managed IT services: Which is best for Seattle businesses?

When it comes to IT services, there are two main types of service model: break/fix and managed IT services. These models are distinct and have their pros and cons for Seattle businesses, so it’s worth learning their unique differences so you can make the best decision for your business and your budget. But first, let’s define these two service models.

What do break/fix IT and managed IT services mean?

Break/fix IT refers to a service model where companies call a technician to troubleshoot technical issues. This project-based service is not only limited to breakdowns; you can hire a break/fix provider for a one-off upgrade or migration. For instance, if your company buys a new server and needs it set up by an expert, a break/fix IT service provider will come in and perform this task for a prearranged fee.

Managed IT services on the other hand is more akin to a subscription model. For a flat monthly fee, the managed IT services provider (MSP) provides a set of services. The goal for the managed service provider is to be proactive, provide ongoing maintenance, and keep systems running smoothly. Depending on the managed service plan, it might also include an unlimited amount of services and support, regardless of how many issues are fixed. The types of services provided will vary depending on the MSP and the service plan you agree to, but managed IT services generally cover all aspects of business technology.

Which is better for my Seattle business?

Which service model is more suited to your company depends on your business’s IT setup and budget. Your two main concerns will likely be how much they cost and whether they can meet your business's needs.

Cost and value

If your business is not reliant on IT and does not often experience technology problems, then a break/fix model may be best for you. You’ll likely only be paying for IT service every once in a while, so you can save your IT budget for big problems or projects.

However, if technology is vital to your business and your workforce relies heavily on reliable technology systems, then managed services typically are a better value. Downtime can be costly, and more reliance on technology may mean that you need more ongoing day-to-day support. In this case, it’s better not to have to pay for every little issue or glitch that arises. All IT repair costs are typically covered by the monthly service fee. Furthermore, because the fee is fixed, there is much less instability in your budget and expenses are easier to predict.

Speed and effectiveness of services

If your company needs to move fast in its market to succeed, managed IT services are the clear winner. If your low-tech business can operate well enough with an IT breakdown for a while, then break/fix might be adequate. MSPs do not inherently work faster than break/fix providers, but the difference is how they approach IT problems.

Break/fix providers, of course, are focused on solving your problems, but MSPs aim to ensure you don’t experience problems in the first place. Since MSPs get paid the same each month regardless of the volume of issues they address, they are incentivized to make sure that proactive maintenance is done to keep systems running smoothly so you don’t have to call for support as often.

Instead of waiting around for the technician to show up when something goes wrong, an MSP will perform proactive maintenance to keep your systems running smoothly. This maintenance has the added benefit of ensuring your workforce can work uninterrupted with higher efficiency, and can help ensure that your systems are kept up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Modern businesses require unique IT solutions

Many businesses don’t require 24/7 on-call IT support or continuous optimization of their IT environments; for them, break/fix can meet their needs for a rock-bottom price. However, if like most businesses today you need your IT to constantly perform at its best to ensure you can keep up with the market, then managed IT support is the best choice for value and effectiveness of services.

Since 2008, Fidelis has been empowering businesses in the Greater Seattle Area to reach their full potential with top-tier managed IT services. If you’re considering managed IT services, contact us today and we would be happy to provide answers.

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