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Why Should You Care?

It’s completely understandable that as a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’re trying to minimize your expenses and keep tight reins on your budget. One way you might try to do so is by forgoing the monthly expense of managed IT services, and adopting a “break fix” philosophy, calling on a professional only when IT crises arise. But is the break fix approach really budget friendly in the long run?

The managed IT services model and the break fix IT model each offer pros and cons. We’ll sort through the basics of the two and help you determine which one best supports the requirements and budget of your small business.


What are Managed Services?

Managed services let you offload specific IT operations to a service provider, known in tech parlance as a Managed Services Provider. The managed service provider assumes ongoing responsibility for monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for selected IT systems and functions on your behalf.

Managed services providers can offer services such as alerts, security, patch management, data backup and recovery for different client devices: desktops, notebooks, servers, storage systems, networks and applications. Offloading routine infrastructure management to an experienced managed services professional lets you concentrate on running your business, with fewer interruptions due to IT issues.

MSPs act as an extension of your IT department, taking care of routine IT infrastructure monitoring and management around the clock—freeing up your IT staff to focus on higher-value projects. By proactively monitoring and maintaining your systems, an MSP can help you avoid many technology problems in the first place. Should an issue occur, an experienced MSP can troubleshoot and resolve it more efficiently.


How Does the Break Fix IT Model Operate?

As the name implies, with break fix you only enlist the help of a professional after something has “broken.” When you adopt a break fix approach to IT, you’ll be managing your hardware and software needs and charged hourly when an IT technician is dispatched to your business to determine, and hopefully fix, your IT problem. On a daily basis you might use a tech-savvy employee to solve minor IT issues, but when your best sales person doubles as the IT guru she can’t completely focus on her job of selling and it’s nearly impossible for her to keep up with all the developments in the fast paced world of tech. At some point, you’ll be calling for the help of a professional.

While you are relieved of the monthly service fee associated with the managed model, you’re costs for repairs, consultations and hourly labor are unpredictable with the beak fix approach. Budgeting with break fix is nearly impossible. Your system is also likely to be down for longer than with the managed approach because you’re technician won’t have a history of working with your system and it could take him or her much longer to identify and fix the problem.

It’s never a good time for an IT meltdown. And as luck would have it, they seem to occur at the very worst moments. You’re putting the finishing touches on a major report or collecting data for that once in a lifetime job bid and an IT mishap strikes. All operations come to a screeching halt and productivity is derailed. Even the most basic IT problem can have catastrophic implications.

When choosing between managed and break fix IT models, you should consider how much your business’ survival depends on your IT system and how much an IT problem will cost your business in downtime. Can you afford to put off maintenance of your system and risk a full fledge IT fiasco? Or are you willing to pay a monthly fee to possibly keep the problem from occurring in the first place? Only you know what your budget can handle, but keep in mind that paying a monthly fee for a professional to handle your IT headaches not only minimizes productivity disruptions, it can free you to focus on doing what you do best: growing your business.

If you are interested in how you can benefit strategically, financially, and technologically by working with an MSP.

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