What is the Difference Between Break-Fix and Managed IT Services? [Pros + Cons]

Submitted by Daniel Gray on Tue, 11/ 29/ 22 - 09: 36 AM

Break-fix vs Managed IT Services-1-1


IT services are IT services, right? 

Many people are under the impression the statement above is accurate. But when you shop for IT services for your organization, it's important to know the difference between service offerings.

This article will breakdown the differences of managed IT services vs break-fix IT services, and I hope will guide you in understanding which service is best for your organization, as well as an idea of the cost differences associated with each.

Not a lot of time? Skip to what you need:

Benefits of Break-fix IT Services

Disadvantage of Break-fix IT Services

Benefits of Managed IT Services

Disadvantages of Managed IT Services

Which is Better?

Break-fix vs Managed IT Services

The main difference between the two service options is that one is on-going (managed IT) and the other is used only when you need it (break-fix). As a result, there are some inherent pros and cons about each offering.

Benefits of Break-fix IT Services

Only Use It When You Need It

The most obvious reason for choosing break-fix is for the convenience of only paying for the service when you need it. Many companies will use this when their budget is on the lower end. Usually an organization that is smaller, growing, and not ready to spend the money on a full-time IT professional, will choose this option.

Covers Hardware

If you are an organization who needs to keep the basics up and running (like computers), but doesn't yet see a need for robust network support - Norton antivirus seems good enough - then you may appreciate the ability to call on someone who can come fix the laptop that's on the fritz every now and then. 

But if you were unaware that a wi-fi router is essentially an open firewall to your network, then you may want to consider something more robust to keep you protected.

Disadvantages of Break-fix IT Services

Often Doesn't Protect Your Network

It's no secret that cyber crime is on the rise against businesses - and if that's a surprise, you need to pay more attention. Over half of all businesses that experience a cyber breach go out of business within 6 months, and this figure is even higher when accounting for only smaller businesses, who are the most likely to be vulnerable.

Unfortunately,  most break-fix operations don't manage networks as well. But even if your company is able to withstand a security breach, ask yourself what the financial cost of your network being down for days or weeks would be to your company.

What about your reputation damage, should a hacker seize sensitive client data?

Can Be Expensive and Unpredictable

Let's face it. The only sure thing about technology is that it will eventually break. But imagine a scenario where you purchased a fleet of computers at a single time. If they are the same brand and model, it would make sense that they're likely to begin failing around the same time. 

Now imagine that within 2-3 months, you've needed to repair or replace most of them. 

Like the Emergency Room in a hospital, break-fix services are more expensive on a case-by-case basis because they are emergency services. What makes matters more troublesome is the fact that now you have a series of major expenses to pay for that may not have been budgeted.

Benefits of Managed IT Services

Easy to Plan for and Budget

Managed IT services often offer a monthly, flat-rate that includes all of their services. This makes it easier for your administration to budget around because the cost of the service is less volatile. 

Note: Some managed services do have maximums on their support desk per month before charging the customer an additional cost. If you believe your organization will need a more flexible plan, ensure your service provider offers unlimited support.

Offers Full Services

A true managed services provider will offer your organization a full-service offering. This means their organization can provide yours with the level of support you would expect from a team of IT personnel employed by your company.

In fact, some IT providers will offer larger clients an on-site IT professional in addition to their normal support offering.

Full service might include:

    • 24x7 help desk support
    • Network monitoring and maintenance 
    • Hardware repair and onsite service
    • Patch and hardware updates
    • IT consultation and employee training
    • Remote assistance
    • Back-up and disaster recovery
    • Server virtualization
    • Intrusion protection (botnets and phishing)
    • Technology vendor management

Typically Faster

When working with break-fix, you're at the mercy of their customer volume and are served on a first-come, first-served basis. With managed services, you are already paying a monthly fee for these services which comes with an expectation of being able to receive service when you need it.

RELATED: Instant Benefits of Managed IT Services

Disadvantages of Managed IT Services

More Expensive

As you can imagine, with all of the services offered above, the monthly price (although consistent) is likely to be higher than the typical monthly expense of break-fix. This can often range anywhere from $100 - $200 per user, per month, depending on the services your managed IT provider offers.

Which is Better?

Scales Edited

Deciding if break-fix or managed IT services are the best fit is a balance between budget and needs. All organizations would likely agree that keeping their company data protected is extremely important. If you knew your organization was going to be attacked by cyber criminal tomorrow, you would search for a network security solution, today.

Unfortunately, such a warning doesn't exist, and instead of working to ensure their network is protected against such an attack, organizations choose to roll the dice. After all, cyber criminals are looking for bigger targets - bigger paydays, right?

Just remember, cyber criminals have sophisticated systems that can target multiple institutions at once, and even though your organization may not be the biggest payday, it's likely much easier to breach. Sometimes, easy paydays are better than big paydays for hackers. 

Still, a budget is a budget; however, my encouragement is that you will choose to make space in your budget where possible to help protect your most valuable assets that are connected to the internet. 

And if this article sparked additional curiosity on your part, please continue your education by reading one of the articles below or reach out to us to ask more questions. 

Get Your Questions Answered Now

RELATED: What is Ransomware?

RELATED: How Much Do Managed IT Services Cost?


Posted by Daniel Gray


Managed IT Services