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Break-Fix versus Managed Service Models

By: John Lawson - Marketing/Product Manager

In today's technology-driven world, businesses heavily rely on IT systems to operate efficiently and effectively. Managing IT infrastructure and resolving technical issues can be a complex and time-consuming task. This is where IT service models come into play. IT service models provide businesses with a structured approach to managing their IT needs and ensuring smooth operations.

What are IT Service Models?

IT service models are frameworks that define how IT services are delivered and managed within an organization. These models outline the processes, roles, and responsibilities involved in providing IT support and maintenance. They help businesses streamline their IT operations, improve service quality, and enhance overall productivity. There are various IT service models available, each with its own set of characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Understanding an MSP’s model can help businesses make informed decisions about which model best suits their needs, especially as they grow and need more technical assistance.

Break-Fix IT - The No Service Model Approach

Break-Fix IT is a reactive approach to IT support. Businesses only seek assistance from IT professionals when a problem arises. The IT service provider is called upon to fix the issue on an ad-hoc basis, and the business is billed for the time and resources spent on resolving the problem. One of the main advantages of the Break-Fix IT model is its flexibility. Businesses can engage IT support services whenever they encounter a problem, without committing to long-term contracts or fixed costs.

Break-Fix IT also allows businesses to access specialized expertise. IT service providers in this model are often highly skilled professionals who can quickly diagnose and resolve complex technical issues. This expertise can be invaluable in situations where in-house IT resources are limited.

Despite its advantages, Break-Fix IT has some drawbacks. One major disadvantage is the reactive nature of the model. Businesses relying solely on Break-Fix IT may experience significant downtime when IT issues occur, leading to productivity losses and potential revenue impacts. Another disadvantage is the unpredictable cost associated with Break-Fix IT. Since businesses are billed on an hourly or per-incident basis, the total cost of IT support can vary greatly depending on the frequency and severity of issues. This lack of cost predictability can make budgeting and financial planning challenging for businesses.

Managed IT-The Service Model Approach

Managed IT is a proactive approach to IT support and management. In this model, businesses enter into a contractual agreement with an IT service provider who takes responsibility for the ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and support of the organization's IT infrastructure.

One of the key advantages of Managed IT is the proactive nature of the model. IT service providers in this model continuously monitor the client's IT systems, identifying and resolving potential issues before they cause significant disruptions. This proactive approach helps minimize downtime and ensures smooth operations. Managed IT also offers businesses predictable and fixed costs. Instead of paying for each incident or hour of support, businesses pay a monthly or annual fee for comprehensive IT services. This predictable cost structure allows businesses to budget effectively and eliminates the financial uncertainty associated with Break-Fix IT.

Managed IT has very few disadvantages due to it’s proactive approach. One potential disadvantage is the higher upfront cost compared to Break-Fix IT, but the coverage you get minimizes the payment schedule compared to Break-Fix.

Both Break-Fix and Managed IT have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and businesses need to carefully evaluate their specific needs and requirements before choosing the most suitable model.

Importance of Choosing the Right IT Service Model

Choosing the right IT service model is a big deal for any organization, as it can significantly impact the efficiency, productivity, and overall success of the business. In today's technology-driven commerce, businesses heavily rely on IT systems to operate and compete in the market. Therefore, selecting the appropriate IT service model is essential to ensure that the organization's IT needs are met effectively and efficiently. Consider the following factors:

Alignment with Business Goals

The IT service model should align with the organization's overall business goals and objectives. Different businesses have different IT requirements based on their industry, size, and growth plans. For example, a small startup may prioritize cost-effectiveness and flexibility, while a large enterprise may focus on scalability and security. By selecting the right IT service model, businesses can ensure that their IT strategy supports their long-term goals and helps them stay competitive in the market.

Cost Efficiency

Cost is a significant consideration for any organization when choosing an IT service model. Different IT service models have varying cost structures and pricing models. It is essential to evaluate the financial implications of each model and determine which one offers the best value for money. While some organizations may prefer the pay-as-you-go approach of break-fix IT, others may find the predictable monthly costs of managed IT more suitable. By carefully assessing the cost efficiency of different IT service models, businesses can optimize their IT spending and allocate resources effectively.

Support and Response Time

The IT service model chosen should provide the required level of IT support and response time that aligns with the organization's needs. Break-fix IT typically offers on-demand support, where IT issues are addressed as they arise. This model may be suitable for organizations with minimal IT requirements or those that can tolerate downtime. On the other hand, managed IT provides proactive monitoring, maintenance, and support, ensuring faster response times and minimizing disruptions. Businesses that rely heavily on their IT infrastructure and cannot afford significant downtime may find managed IT more beneficial.

Scalability and Flexibility

Scalability and flexibility are must-include factors to consider when selecting an IT service model. As businesses grow and evolve, their IT needs change as well. The chosen IT service model should be able to accommodate the organization's future growth and adapt to changing requirements. Managed IT offers scalability and flexibility by providing proactive monitoring, capacity planning, and the ability to scale resources up or down as needed. In contrast, break-fix IT may require additional time and resources to scale up or may not be as flexible in meeting changing demands.

Security and Data Protection

In today's digital landscape, data security and protection are paramount. Organizations must ensure that their IT service model provides adequate security measures to safeguard sensitive information and protect against cyber threats. Managed IT often includes robust security measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, data encryption, and regular security updates. This proactive approach to security can help prevent potential breaches and minimize the risk of data loss. Break-fix IT may not offer the same level of security, as it primarily focuses on resolving immediate issues rather than implementing comprehensive security measures.

Expertise and Skillset

The IT service model chosen should align with the organization's internal IT expertise and skillset. Break-fix IT may be suitable for organizations with a dedicated IT team capable of handling day-to-day IT issues. However, smaller businesses or those without an in-house IT department may benefit from the expertise and specialized knowledge provided by managed IT service providers. Managed IT offers access to a team of IT professionals with diverse skill sets and experience, ensuring that the organization's IT needs are met by experts in the field.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Business continuity and disaster recovery are critical considerations for any organization. The chosen IT service model should have provisions in place to ensure minimal downtime and quick recovery in the event of a system failure or disaster. Managed IT often includes backup and disaster recovery solutions, ensuring that data is regularly backed up and can be restored quickly. Break-fix IT may not provide the same level of preparedness, potentially leading to longer downtime and significant business disruptions in the event of a disaster. In conclusion, choosing the right IT service model is of utmost importance for organizations to effectively meet their IT needs and achieve their business goals. By considering factors such as alignment with business goals, cost efficiency, IT support and response time, scalability and flexibility, security and data protection, expertise and skillset, and business continuity and disaster recovery, businesses can make an informed decision that best suits their requirements. The next chapters will delve deeper into the pros and cons of different IT service models, providing a comprehensive understanding of break-fix and managed IT and helping organizations make an informed choice.

Range of Services

Another factor to consider is the range of services offered by the IT service provider. Assess your current and future IT needs and ensure that the provider offers a comprehensive suite of services that align with your requirements. This may include services such as network management, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and IT consulting. Choosing a provider that can meet all your IT needs will save you time and effort in managing multiple vendors.


Building a Strong Partnership with Your IT Service Provider

Building a strong partnership with your IT service provider can be beneficial towards the success of your business. Whether you choose break-fix or a managed IT service model, establishing a solid relationship with your provider is essential to ensure efficient and effective IT support. In this section, we will explore the key factors that contribute to building a strong partnership with your IT service provider.

Clear Communication and Expectations

Clear communication is the foundation of any successful partnership. It is important to establish open lines of communication with your IT service provider from the beginning. This includes clearly defining your expectations, goals, and objectives. By clearly communicating your needs and requirements, you can ensure that your IT service provider understands your business and can provide the necessary support. Regular communication is also essential to keep both parties informed about any changes, updates, or issues that may arise. This can be done through regular meetings, emails, or phone calls. By maintaining open and transparent communication, you can address any concerns or questions promptly, ensuring that your IT service provider is always up to date with your business needs.

Trust and Reliability

Trust is a fundamental aspect of any successful partnership. When it comes to IT services, you need to have confidence in your provider's ability to deliver reliable and secure solutions. This includes ensuring that your IT service provider has the necessary expertise, experience, and certifications to handle your specific IT needs. To build trust, it is important to evaluate your IT service provider's track record and reputation. Look for testimonials, case studies, and references from other clients to get a better understanding of their capabilities. Additionally, consider their response time and availability in case of emergencies or critical issues. A reliable IT service provider should be able to provide timely and efficient support whenever you need it.

Collaboration and Partnership

A strong partnership with your IT service provider goes beyond a transactional relationship. It should be a collaborative effort where both parties work together to achieve common goals. Your IT service provider should be seen as an extension of your team, working closely with you to understand your business processes, challenges, and opportunities. Encourage collaboration by involving your IT service provider in strategic discussions and decision-making processes. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and recommendations to help you make informed IT-related decisions. By fostering a partnership mindset, you can leverage your IT service provider's knowledge and experience to drive innovation and improve your overall IT infrastructure.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are essential documents that outline the expectations and responsibilities of both parties. SLAs define the scope of services, response times, resolution times, and other key performance indicators (KPIs). It is important to establish clear and realistic SLAs with your IT service provider to ensure that both parties are aligned and accountable. When negotiating SLAs, consider factors such as the criticality of your IT systems, the impact of downtime on your business, and your budget constraints. Ensure that the SLAs are measurable and enforceable, with mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate performance. Regularly review and update SLAs as your business needs evolve to ensure that they remain relevant and effective.

Regular Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluating the performance of your IT service provider helps to ensure that they are meeting your expectations and delivering the agreed-upon services. Regular performance reviews can help identify areas for improvement and address any concerns or issues that may arise. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business objectives and regularly track and measure them. This can include metrics such as response time, resolution time, system uptime, customer satisfaction, and adherence to SLAs. By monitoring performance, you can identify any gaps or areas of improvement and work with your IT service provider to address them proactively.

Technology is constantly evolving, and your IT service provider should be proactive in keeping up with the latest trends and advancements. A strong partnership with your IT service provider should include a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation.

At Alpha, we encourage our clients to regularly discuss new opportunities and solutions with us so we can enhance your IT infrastructure and support your business growth. By doing so we help build strong partnerships with our clients to help foster a innovative culture for the success of their business. Clear communication, trust, collaboration, well-defined SLAs, regular performance monitoring, and a commitment to continuous improvement are key factors that contribute to a successful partnership.

By investing time and effort into building a strong relationship with Alpha, you can ensure that your IT needs are met effectively and efficiently. Don’t wait, start today by giving us a call!

Call: 304-201-2616 or email: to get started!

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