managed it vs break/fix

Is Break/Fix or Managed IT Better for Today's Businesses?

Think for a moment about the first car that you owned. It most likely was not brand new (mine wasn’t, that’s for sure!) and when an older vehicle is taken to a mechanic to be repaired, sometimes the new parts placed in the car are not compatible with the older components, in turn, this causes more issues. Then, of course, more repairs are needed for the vehicle to be operational. So what does this have to do with break/fix IT or managed IT? Put on your seat belt we are going to break down whether break/fix or managed IT is better for today’s businesses.  

The Break/Fix IT Model

This situation is very similar in the IT industry. For example, suppose your company continues to call a break/fix IT guy to come in and repair a particular computer which (unbeknownst to your company) has a failing hard drive. One day that old computer with the bad hard drive stops working, and all of the money paid to fix the issues along the way sadly is wasted because your company still has to buy a new hard drive and have it installed. Not to mention all the files on that hard drive (if they were not backed up by your break/fix IT guy) are now entirely lost. Unfortunately, this is the typical experience businesses have with the break/fix IT model. This doesn’t include the 1-2 hours your employees spent trying to fix the problem first – that is a cost as well in lost productivity.

The Managed IT Model

With the rapid changes occurring in the IT industry every day (or every hour some may argue) new business models are emerging and continually improving. One of those is the managed IT services model. With the onset of the cloud, this model of managing IT has exploded and is improving productivity for many businesses; it is even positively impacting revenue for some companies. The managed IT services model is when your organization partners with an IT firm who takes on managing all your IT-related needs. For example, with our managed IT service, we put all of an organization's IT assets in a controlled environment that continuously monitors all IT assets and user’s activities. This environment is highly secure and provides backups of all workstations and servers. This model is very much the opposite of the above break/fix scenario.

Break/Fix Drawbacks vs. Managed IT Advantages

Break/Fix Response Times

There are some significant drawbacks to the break/fix IT model. One of those drawbacks is that the response time for our friend the break/fit IT guy are typically much slower than a managed IT service. That is because you usually have a single IT person (assigned to your account) and they provide all the break/fix services to your organization. They are responsible for traveling to your office and fixing your issues as you create support tickets with their company. Many times, these visits can be delayed due to other clients in the queue, or if your organization has problems across multiple locations, it can be challenging for them to solve all of the issues, all at once, with only one set of hands.

Managed IT Continuous Monitoring

With the managed IT model, your IT assets are placed in an environment that continuously monitors them. The IT team you have in place will know when there are potential issues and can fix them before problems arise for your employees. This monitoring feature keeps your employees productive and focused on their jobs – not waiting for someone else to come in to fix the printer or internet connection.

Break/Fix Cost

Working with an IT company that applies a break/fix model for IT is incredibly costly. According to, “44% of businesses lose an average of $10k+ for every hour of employee downtime.” Moreover, that stat is just from a loss of productivity. Remember the cost to repair a device multiple times without fixing the root issue is not included there. Also, not included are the hours spent by your employees trying to fix the problem before they even call the IT guy. also reports that “…140,00 hard drives crash in the United States every week!’ This and other IT problems are issues that should be monitored and fixed proactively not after they break.

Managed IT Cost

At this point you may be thinking: How can a system that continuously monitors everything be less costly than just fixing broken IT stuff as it happens?  Great question! Let’s dive into that.

Cost Breakdown

There is usually a one-time onboarding fee to get your company set up in the monitored IT environment. Then you have a recurring service fee each month to keep those assets managed and make sure all your backups are in place and running smoothly. Lastly, there is a cost per IT ticket. Let’s face it –technology is not fail-proof, and users make mistakes and sometimes need help getting things done with technology. Ticket cost is an added to your monthly fee. However, as your company stays under management, ticket costs may go down. Your systems will usually need a decent bit of TLC at first to get them running smoothly, but after that, you will notice that issues rarely come up unless they are related to user-error, internal security breaches, or advancements in technology.  Again, according to, “Human error was responsible for 23 percent of data loss incidents in 2016”. Therefore, it is essential to educate your team on security best practices – our Security Best Practices for the Office Worker Poster can help get you started with that.

The Added Value You Don’t Get with Break/Fix IT

Remember with a managed IT service your business gets far more than just someone to fix “IT stuff.” Excellent managed IT service providers also add a ton of value for their customers. Due to their years of IT experience many times they also include a virtual CIO service as part of their regular contract. This part of the service means that small and medium-sized businesses reap the benefits of having a CIO in their corner. They can use the service to implement proactive and strategic thinking to help plan for IT needs and begin to recognize the powerful impact that kind of planning can have on their business goals in coming years.

Keeping your employees doing their job, saves you money! The managed IT services model does just that! Forbes happens to agree by reporting “…companies typically see four key benefits: improved operational performance, reduced operational risk, cost avoidance and accelerated innovation.”

The Full Picture

So which model do you choose? Should you go with the old break/fix sticky band-aid solution or the improved and new managed IT service model?

This decision is one that you must make based on business goals. If you do not mind the interruptions of IT problems on a daily basis and the cost of downtime or data loss does not bother you, then break/fix is the right choice for your business. If your company needs to stay productive and focused, then managed IT is your best bet. Remember there is always some cost involved when making the right choice, and with any necessary business purchase, the cost should be weighed according to the overall value it brings to the company.
If you have questions about managed IT, we can answer them. Find out more about our managed IT services below.

  Find Out More About Managed IT Services
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Jennifer L. Kraus, MITS Service Manager
Jennifer L. Kraus

MITS Service Manager

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