What Are The Biggest Differences Between Break/Fix vs. Managed Services?

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The primary differences between break/fix vs. managed IT services lie in the approach and structure. The break/fix model operates on a reactive basis, where services are provided as problems occur, and costs vary based on what’s needed. This contrasts sharply with managed IT services, which use a subscription-based, proactive approach.

“In most cases, preventative maintenance is better for your infrastructure than waiting until something breaks to act. The managed services model extends that approach to your IT systems.”Charles Bender, CEO, Attentus Technologies

Managed services providers (MSPs) offer a comprehensive suite of IT services under this subscription-based pricing model. You get all the services you need under one flat rate instead of on an issue-by-issue basis. Business owners see this approach’s benefit as 59% have transitioned from break/fix to managed services.

This blog is here to compare the two for your research purposes. You’ll discover the pros and cons of each, helping you understand which best suits how your business operates. We’ll also show you when the best time to switch is and guide you through the steps of doing so.

Pros and Cons of The MSP Model vs. The Break/Fix Model

Comparing the two models is crucial for businesses to make informed decisions. This comparison sheds light on the benefits and drawbacks of each, guiding you to choose the one that aligns best with your company’s IT needs and goals.

So, to help you out with that, here’s a quick overview of each.

Managed Services Break/Fix
Cost Predictable, annual or monthly fees that reduce the chance of unexpected expenses. Costs vary based on services rendered. Potentially high unexpected costs.
Service Continuous support, proactive monitoring, and regular maintenance. Reactive approach to support, provided only when issues arise.
Relationship Ongoing relationship with consistent support from technicians who understand your IT environment. Transactional relationship, with support on an as-needed basis.
Flexibility Flexibility in choosing specific services within the terms of a service level agreement (SLA). Flexibility in choosing specific services for each issue.
Predictability High predictability in IT management and budgeting. Low predictability in costs and issue management.
Response Times Generally faster response times due to ongoing monitoring. Response times vary and can be slower, as services are provided on-demand.


How Do You Know When You Need to Phase Out The Break/Fix Model?

You should consider moving away from the break/fix model to managed IT services before issues arise. There’s a reason why an increasing number of businesses are making the switch.

However, we understand that transitioning may not be easy. So, here are a few telltale signs that you absolutely need to move away from the break/fix model.

  • Frequent Downtime: Downtime leads to lost productivity and revenue. If you experience it a lot, that demonstrates a need for constant maintenance.
  • Rising IT Costs: Unpredictable and increasing costs indicate the benefits of a fixed-cost MSP approach.
  • Insufficient Expertise: When your IT needs exceed your abilities, MSPs offer a wider range of skills.
  • Security Risks: Growing cyber threats require ongoing monitoring and robust security.
  • Difficulty Scaling: If scaling IT support is a challenge, MSPs provide adaptable solutions.
  • Compliance Struggles: If keeping up with regulations is tough, MSPs can help ensure compliance.


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6 Steps to Transitioning From a Break/Fix to a Managed IT Approach

1. Assess Your Current IT Infrastructure

Evaluate your existing IT setup to understand what works and what doesn’t. This assessment helps identify the gaps in your current break/fix model. Consider aspects like downtime frequency, response times, and overall IT costs.

2. Define Your IT Needs & Goals

Clearly outline what you need from an IT perspective. Consider both your immediate needs and long-term goals. This clarity guides you in choosing services that align with your business objectives. It will also help you choose a provider who aligns with your organization.

3. Set a Realistic Budget

Determine a budget for your managed IT services. This step involves balancing your IT needs with what you can afford. A well-planned budget ensures that you get the most value without overextending your financial resources.

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4. Plan The Transition

Create a detailed plan for transitioning from break/fix to managed services. This plan should include timelines, key milestones, and responsibilities. A structured approach minimizes disruptions to your business operations during the switch.

5. Prepare Your Team

Inform and prepare your internal team for the upcoming change. Effective communication ensures that your staff understands the benefits and changes in the IT support structure. This preparation minimizes resistance and eases the transition process. In fact, research shows that change efforts are 30% more likely to be successful when teams are on board early.

6. Choose The Right MSP Partner

Selecting the right managed service provider is critical. Look for a partner who meets your technical needs and aligns with your business culture and values. The right MSP understands your business and works as an extension of your team, not as a replacement.

Attentus Technologies delivers all managed IT services based on our core values. By adhering to these values, we ensure that we’ll always be the right MSP partner for every one of our clients.

If you’re looking to move away from the break/fix model, drop us a message.