In our last two blog posts we discussed how to assess your IT support needs and how to decide if you should hire an IT support technician as an employee or outsource to a company. In this week’s blog we will explore the different types of IT support models.
Managed IT Services or Break Fix IT Services?
When you first start shopping for IT support you will run into two terms, break fix support and managed service support. These refer to different business models for providing IT support. The break fix support model has been around since the beginning of IT services. With this model you pay for services as you need them, usually on an emergency or urgent basis. This is similar to people without medical insurance that go to urgent care clinics or the emergency room when they become sick or injured.
Managed IT support or a managed service provider or MSP as they are frequently referred to is a more pro-active support plan. Typically managed IT service companies will put in monitoring on your computers or networks or both to proactively prevent problems. Think of this as a health insurance program where you can get regular checkups and tests to make sure your network is healthy.
Both models offer help desk support so which is the right one for you? The answer to this question is largely subjective but there are objective criteria to consider.
Break Fix Model
- No monthly fee
- No software added to your computer
- Usually they have remote technicians available
- Hourly rates are usually higher than MSP when needed
- No monitoring of your computers or network
- No update management
- No way to amortize IT expenses over the year
- No service level agreements for responsiveness
- No incentive to keep your computers and network problem free
- Loss of revenue and efficiency when computers or the network is compromised
Managed IT Services Model
- Fixed monthly fee
- Monitoring of all major network components, servers and workstations
- Guaranteed Service Response times
- IT company has an incentive to keep your network running
- IT company has an incentive to restore services quickly
- Support desk technicians are available
- More uptime means greater efficiency, more revenue and more profits
- Retains a deep understanding of your network infrastructure and corporate needs that create a technology partnership for growth
- Fixed monthly fee
As you can see, the scale is heavily weighted on the side of managed IT services. The reason is simple; this is the only model that incents your service provider to keep your network trouble-free. In the MSP model, your support provider will be a true partner. A break-fix company is not invested in your success, they only make money when you have a problem. Alternatively, if a company is contracted with an MSP and they continually have IT issues they will leave that provider and find one that can eliminate those issues. Therefore, the IT services company has a vested interest in keeping everything running smoothly.
Lastly, some companies offer a choice of break-fix or managed IT support. We will discuss that issue next week when we reveal “How to Pick Your Managed Service Support Company.”