Managed IT Services VS. Break/Fix Service: An analogy of outsourced network service solution options

When it comes to outsourced network services, most business IT service solutions come in two categories, “break/fix services” or managed services.

So what’s the difference?

Break/fix IT service

This kind of service for your IT infrastructure is like what a plumber is to your house’s plumbing. You’ve got a leak. You call a plumber to fix it. He arrives to your home, stops the leak, may or may not help you clean up the mess, hands you a bill and leaves, not to be seen again until one of your employees flushes a toothbrush down the commode causing it to clog … or whatever plumbing issue may arise.

Such is true for break/fix IT services. Just like with the plumber, with a break/fix IT service provider, you only call them when your server’s gone down or you’re network has been infected with a virus, or whatever the issue is. The provider then shows up, ousts the virus, may or may not help you get your lost data back, hands you a bill and you don’t see him again until yet another network user opens a malware-loaded email attachment.

With both the plumber and the break/fix service, you know they’ve been around because (1) you’ve had a catastrophe they had to come and fix and (2) they give you a sizeable bill for their services.

Managed IT services 

This kind of solution you could liken to your lawn or landscaping guy. This guy regularly comes around, every week or so, and cuts the grass, trims the bushes, sprays the weeds, puts down grub and weed killer, and based on the season, fertilizes the grass, prunes the trees, puts down pre-emergent weed preventer and swaps out flowers for each season, making sure your business’s landscaping looks happy year round. If a shrubbery does die, he replaces it. If a storm strikes and downs a large branch, he cleans up the mess. Now, for this service you likely pay a monthly or some kind of regular fee, but you also see a constantly green, happy lawn.

It’s much the same with managed network services. But a little better too. Instead of making regular visits to your IT infrastructure, your managed IT services provider is constantly monitoring your network, continually tweaking it to maximize its performance, weeding out virus infiltration attempts, blocking data breaches and so on. Your provider sees potential problems before or exactly as issues develop and immediately works to contain and remedy them before you know they are there. If your servers drop or your network goes down, your provider (depending on your service) could have your data backed up and swap you to a virtual network so you can continue with your work with little to no downtime … and virtually no mess.

With both the lawn guy and with a managed IT services solution, you may or may not have seen them, but you know they’ve been around because everything looks good, healthy and happy.


While simplistic, hopefully these illustrations give you an idea of the difference between break/fix and managed network services.

If your business is not heavily network dependent, you might be okay with break/fix solution as chances are, there’s not much to break — and if it does break, it will hardly affect your business or cause downtime. In this case, it would be okay to have a more reactive solution.

If your company though is at all reliant on its data and network infrastructure, you might seriously consider a proactive IT services solution because the very life of your business may very well depend on it. A reactive, break/fix solution may not be a solution and could spell the end of your company. That being the case, you want to stay ahead of the threats and eliminate the possibility of lethal downtimes. 

Unlike the break/fix solution, you’ll likely have to pay a regular, fixed fee. But also unlike break/fix, you won’t ever have to bear the burden of cleaning up and repairing the damage left after a catastrophic leak, so to speak. You’ll just have a happy, healthy network and your business will be safe.

If you want to learn more about protecting your business and managed network services, contact us by calling us or  by clicking the red button below and we'll be sure to get back to you.

About R.K. Black, Inc.

R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.

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