Break/fix IT support vs. managed IT services: Which is best for Charlotte, NC businesses?

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A company’s IT support strategy could make or break its operations. While many businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina have traditionally relied on fixing their systems only when problems arise, many others prefer a more proactive approach.

Below, we explore both IT maintenance approaches, breaking down the pros and cons of the break/fix support model and managed IT services.

What is break/fix IT support?

Break/fix IT support is a reactive approach where businesses seek assistance only when their IT systems break down. This means that businesses pay for support on an as-needed basis, or only when a problem arises. Technicians are called in to fix the issue, and businesses are billed accordingly.  

What are the advantages of break/fix IT support?

Under a break/fix IT support model, businesses incur expenses only when IT-related problems arise, eliminating the need for monthly contracts or ongoing service fees. This pay-as-you-go structure can be particularly attractive for smaller companies with limited budgets, as break/fix allows them to avoid continuous, fixed expenses.

However, it’s important to note that while break/fix support can be cost-effective when a business’s IT system is running smoothly, unforeseen issues can lead to unpredictable, potentially higher costs in the long run. Businesses should carefully weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before opting for this approach.

What are the disadvantages of break/fix IT support?

There are many downsides to relying on break/fix IT support.

Unsecured IT environment

Relying on break/fix IT support can result in a less secure IT environment for businesses. Since this model lacks continuous monitoring, small issues or vulnerabilities may go unnoticed until they escalate into major problems. This can leave businesses more susceptible to security risks and data breaches, which could have serious consequences for their operations and reputation.

Reactive approach to IT

Businesses relying on a break/fix model often neglect routine maintenance and updates, addressing IT issues only when they arise. This reactive approach increases the likelihood of system failures, unexpected downtime, and costly repairs. It can also lead to a less reliable IT infrastructure overall.

Increased downtime

Since maintenance and repairs are done only after issues surface, the time required to fix these problems may be greater compared to when ongoing upkeep is performed. IT downtime can disrupt daily operations, impact employee productivity, and hinder customer services. This can lead to extended periods of inactivity, which can be costly and frustrating for both the business and its customers.

Inaccurate budgeting

Break/fix IT support can make it challenging for businesses to accurately budget for their tech needs. With no fixed monthly costs, they can’t predict when and how often IT issues will arise, which can lead to unplanned and potentially high expenses. This lack of predictability can strain a company’s financial resources and hinder its ability to allocate funds effectively for IT support and maintenance.

What are managed IT services?

Managed IT services involve ongoing maintenance and management of a company’s IT infrastructure. This approach typically operates under a subscription-based model, where businesses pay a fixed monthly fee for a range of services, including 24/7 monitoring, regular updates, and rapid issue resolution.

What are the advantages of managed IT services?

There are many reasons why many businesses partner with managed IT services providers (MSPs).

24/7 maintenance

Unlike the break/fix model, managed IT services offer businesses 24/7 preventative maintenance and support. By continuously monitoring and remotely managing IT systems, MSPs can promptly identify and address issues, even outside regular working hours. This proactive approach ensures that IT systems are consistently maintained and updated, significantly reducing the risk of unexpected downtime and costly disruptions. 

Remote and on-site support

Managed IT services offer a seamless blend of remote and on-site support to address a wide range of IT needs. For day-to-day issues, skilled technicians can efficiently resolve problems remotely, minimizing operational disruptions. However, for complex problems or on-site tasks requiring physical intervention, MSPs can dispatch their technicians to provide hands-on assistance. This versatile approach ensures that businesses receive comprehensive IT support without disrupting their operations.

Live help desk

Managed IT services typically include a live help desk feature, offering businesses immediate access to knowledgeable IT professionals. Employees can thus receive real-time assistance, ensuring minimal downtime and streamlining issue resolution for smoother operations. This, in turn, boosts productivity while fostering a sense of reliability and support within the organization.

Fixed IT costs

Unlike the unpredictable costs associated with the break/fix model, managed IT services typically operate under a subscription-based model with fixed monthly costs. This enables businesses to avoid unforeseen expenses and budget accurately. This financial predictability simplifies financial planning and enables businesses to allocate resources effectively.

What are the disadvantages of managed IT services?

There are a few potential drawbacks with managed IT services to consider:

Managed IT services are often charged on a fixed monthly or annual basis. While this predictability can aid in budgeting, it may limit immediate cost control compared to in-house IT solutions. However, long-term cost savings may be realized through improved efficiency and reduced downtime. Research has shown that globally, around 18% of current IT budgets are allocated to managed IT services, highlighting their value in ensuring consistent IT support and reliability while potentially reducing overall costs associated with reactive, break/fix approaches.

Seeking a better approach to IT support? Get in touch with SpectrumWise’s experts today to discover the best management and maintenance solutions for businesses across Charlotte, NC.


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