Kharmela Mindanao

By: Kharmela Mindanao on September 3rd, 2021

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Managed-IT Service Provider vs. Break-Fix and In-House IT

Managed IT Services

Are you unsure about the differences between managed IT services vs break-fix services? What about in-house IT? Each business owner should be aware of which IT model fits their company, and this article will help you with that. 

Technology has become an investment in the 21st century; it’s now integral to running a business, especially with the rise of online platforms. You’re probably wondering how to keep everything running smoothly and may have come across the three different ways of managing your IT: Managed IT, Break-fix IT, and In-House IT. 

IT team checking servers

Choosing between the three is essential. Even though Intelligent Technical Solutions is an MSP, we’ve noticed that some clients aren’t the best fit for us and have helped them find a better IT management model for them. These are the differences we emphasize:  

Break-fix IT: Best for small, starting businesses; cheaper than other models of IT management; doesn’t have long-term strategies; limited availability. 

In-house IT: Best for medium to large businesses; allows people to be familiar with the system and for you to familiarize yourself with IT staff; non-productive time is still paid time; expensive & involves setting up payroll. 

Managed IT Service Provider (MSP): best for small to medium businesses; 24/7 customer support; experienced technicians; expensive; may be unnecessary for your business; no immediate physical IT presence.  

However, you should read a more in-depth comparison between the three. Therefore, by the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what these models are and the complete pros and cons of Break-fix, In-house, and MSPs. 

What is Break-Fix IT?

IT technician fixing broken equipment

The break-fix IT model involves calling technicians when something breaks within your system and getting them to fix that problem for you - hence the name break-fix. Think of it as a hospital- if you get a fever, you go to your general physician. You (usually) don’t go to the hospital when everything’s ok.

Break-fix IT companies run on this model - they establish a presence within the IT community, and when something goes wrong, people can come to them for solutions to their problems.

They’re composed of specialized technicians trained to diagnose issues in IT infrastructure and fix these issues.

And that’s the best part of this kind of business: you only call them when you need them. Hence, they’re affordable.

But many think this model is dead (or going to die out) in the 21st century. After all, there are problems that general physicians can’t fix, just like there are IT concerns break-fix companies are not meant to deal with. 

Break-Fix Guy: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Affordable Limited time availability
No fixed rates Speed of response may not be consistent
No commitments May not be available during peak times and/or high season
On-call Professional Certification/s confirming their qualifications may or may not be available 

What is In-House IT?

An IT team

In-house IT is exactly as it says it is - an IT department in your own company. You don’t hire outside technicians but rely on people who are embedded in the company culture. Going back to the hospital analogy, in-house IT would be having a doctor in your family. They’d know you well, be available all the time, and provide solutions tailored for you.

You wouldn’t need to go to a third party, as you have someone who knows your history and is intimately familiar with your goals.

Usually, businesses hire their own IT when they can’t wait for an employee from a break-fix company to drop by. They need somebody both to be proactive and on standby to focus on the IT system.

In-house IT employees are mainly responsible for managing networks or handling repair tickets, taking business decisions, such as managing infrastructure spending and optimizing resource utilization.

This kind of set-up is more expensive than the break-fix model of IT, but it’s up to the company to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.

In-House IT: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Availability Non-productive time
Familiarity with system Expensive
Familiar face May not have the updated credentials needed 
  Professional Certification/s confirming qualifications may or may not be available 

What is a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP)? 

MSP offsite technicians

Managed IT Service Providers are companies you hire to act as your IT department. You don’t have any logistical headaches involved in payroll or whatnot, but you do have to pay them a set amount of money each month for their services and experience.  

If break-fix models involve going to the hospital when sick while in-house IT means having a doctor in your family, an MSP would be a personal physician. They’re focused on preemptive care and avoiding as many problems as possible down the line.  

There are many MSPs out there, and you should know the following pros and cons before choosing a company.  

Managed IT Service Provider (MSP): Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Availability (up to 24/7 support) Expensive 
Professional Certifications confirming qualifications 24/7 support may not be necessary for your business
The accumulated experience of seasoned technicians  Not optimal where physical IT security presence is required 
Access to business-grade equipment instead of consumer-grade  Extensive onboarding time 
  Lack of an integrated workforce management strategy

Want more info about Break-fix IT, In-house IT, or a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP)?

Remember: before choosing between the three kinds of IT models, make sure you clearly understand the pros and cons of each.

Break-fix IT: Best for small, starting businesses; cheaper than other models of IT management; doesn’t have long-term strategies; limited availability.

In-house IT: Best for medium to large businesses; allows people to be familiar with the system and for you to familiarize yourself with IT staff; non-productive time is still paid time; expensive & involves setting up payroll.

Managed IT Service Provider (MSP): best for small to medium businesses; 24/7 customer support; experienced technicians; expensive; may be unnecessary for your business; no immediate physical IT presence.

The main goal is for you to choose which one is the best for your business, and as a Managed IT Service Provider, ITS has helped clients find which model is the best fit for their company. If you still need more information about these IT management models, take a look at our article about the Main Factors that Determine the Price of Managed IT Services.

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