Most business owners have experienced the cold feeling of dread when a computer system becomes unresponsive, or a file-not-found error suddenly leaves us with no way to access last month’s invoices. It seems to be a universal law that critical system failures have to happen at the worst possible moment and usually when IT staff have all taken off for the weekend.
The usual response is to pick up the phone to call a repair service while hoping that it’s not going to cost an arm and a leg and that they are even available. Naturally, you want the system fixed yesterday and will happily front up the money to get everything back online again.
However, if system failures are a regular occurrence, emergency phone calls of this nature can soon get very expensive – especially when you add in the hours of lost productivity. The next time it happens, your IT budget may not be able to cover it, and there’s certainly no room for strategic future proofing, but what’s the alternative?
How Break It/Fix It Services Work
The name sums it up pretty well; a break it/fix it service is when you call up an IT technician after something has gone horribly wrong. It’s a reactive response to a technical problem which has advantages and disadvantages.
The advantage is that someone is available to help you with your problem. In most cases, they will attempt to fix the problem via remote login, but if this isn’t possible, a technician will arrive on site to diagnose the problem directly.
A few challenges present themselves with this system, which are that the hourly rates can be expensive, and they can be even worse on a call-out as there is usually a call-out fee tacked onto the invoice.
You also have to hope that there is a technician available. If not, you could be waiting hours, or even days for a solution to your IT dilemma until one does become available. Then you will want to hope that they can fix the problem on their first visit. If not, expect more service calls and an even more expensive invoice at the end of the month.
Of course, break it/fix it services have their advantages. You only pay for what you need, when you need it, and there are no monthly service fees. These types of services are excellent if you have minimal IT needs and rarely need emergency bailouts from IT catastrophes.
In today’s digitally connected world, even small businesses find themselves relying on complex IT systems to remain competitive in the marketplace. More IT infrastructure means more complexity, and subsequently more problems if the equipment is not expertly maintained and regularly updated.
The IT Managed Services Alternative
Break it/Fix it models have their place, but if you demand a lot from your IT equipment one of the most cost effective measures is to use IT managed services.
IT managed services are a proactive solution to IT problems. Instead of waiting for the system to break, managed services regularly service, maintain, and update the hardware and software to keep everything ticking along nicely. Most services will guarantee an uptime as part of the service agreement (usually 99.9%), as well as the turnaround time from when you pick up the phone, to when you can expect to receive help from a technician.
IT managed services can perform a range of tasks to keep your system running smoothly, which may include things like:
Improving Security with IT Managed Services
With just about every business being connected to the internet, the security of an IT system should remain a top priority for every company.
There is no set it and forget it solution when it comes to IT security. Constant vigilance is required; hackers are always looking for new exploits, and IT professionals will always need to find solutions to foil their efforts. IT security needs can only be met by continually monitoring the system and applying regular updates to both hardware and software.
Naturally, this can get quite expensive for small business owners who have little experience in IT. A more viable solution and one that will ultimately save money in the long-term is to use an IT managed service.
Your system will be continuously monitored, updated regularly, and your data will be backed up should the worst happen. Data breaches are a nightmare, especially for organisations which store sensitive information such as patient data or financial information. The loss of data can also set a business back months or even years.
If your regular break it/fix it service is no longer adequate for your business’s needs it might be time to find a more viable and cost-effective solution. The advantages of IT managed services are clear; no more security breaches to plug after the fact, a predictable backup solution, increased productivity, and a plan for your future IT needs that is already accounted for in affordable monthly instalments.