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Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: Which is Right for Baltimore Businesses?

Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: Which is Right for Baltimore Businesses?

When it comes to managing your IT needs, there are three main approaches: break-fix, managed IT services, or hiring internal IT staff. All three have their own benefits and drawbacks, and it can be challenging to determine which is the right fit for your business.

Let’s explore the differences between break-fix, managed IT services, and IT staffing, and help you decide which approach is best for your business.

Read This Before You Start Hiring In-House IT Staff

It’s pretty likely that if your business has gotten to the point where you think you might need one or more full-time IT professionals, you’ve likely come to that conclusion after trying outsourced IT professionals. 

It’s almost a badge of honor these days to carry around horror stories where your business was dragged around by less-than-adequate vendors or service providers. Like any third-party entity, a computer support professional can either produce great results, be a frustrating waste of money, or land somewhere in between. It’s easy to get frustrated and decide that your problems would be solved by simply hiring and training internal staff to do things the right way.

While many larger businesses can easily justify having internal IT staffing, it comes with similar risks and expenses. You obviously have to consider things like payroll, benefits, raises, and bonuses, but you may also need to budget for training, certifications, management software, and all of the tools and resources that your IT staff might need. It’s the same as hiring a handyman and needing to purchase tools and equipment, versus contracting a handyman who shows up in a truck with everything they need.

The point is, that there are going to be more cost-effective options for a business, especially when it really doesn’t need full-time IT staff, it just needs a really good IT provider.

What is Break-Fix IT Support?

Break-fix is a reactive approach to IT management. This means that when something breaks or malfunctions, you call in a technician to fix it. This could be anything from a computer virus to a server crash, to the network being down, to trying to solve a problem with a piece of software.

Under the break-fix model, you only pay for IT services when something goes wrong. This can be appealing for businesses with a tight budget, as it eliminates the need for a monthly retainer or ongoing fees.

However, break-fix can also lead to unexpected costs and downtime. When something breaks, you have to wait for a technician to come and fix it, which can result in lost productivity and revenue. Additionally, break-fix does not include proactive maintenance, which means that issues may not be caught and resolved before they become major problems.

If nobody is performing the regular day-to-day maintenance, like running Windows updates, updating antivirus definitions, checking event logs, confirming the integrity of data backups, etc., then a lot of potential problems could become serious problems very quickly.

What are Managed IT Services?

Managed services, on the other hand, take a proactive approach to IT management. Under this model, you pay a monthly fee for ongoing IT support and maintenance. This includes regular check-ups, updates, and monitoring to prevent issues from arising in the first place.

Managed service providers (MSPs) act as an extension of your business, handling all of your IT needs. This can include everything from setting up new devices and software to managing your network and security.

Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: Pros and Cons


One of the main differences between break-fix and managed services is the cost. As mentioned, break-fix only requires payment when something goes wrong, while managed services involve a monthly fee.

While break-fix may seem more cost-effective in the short term, it can lead to unexpected expenses and downtime. Managed services, on the other hand, provide a predictable monthly cost and can save you money in the long run by preventing major issues.

Proactive Maintenance

Under the break-fix model, IT issues are only addressed when they occur. This means that there is no proactive maintenance, and issues may not be caught until they become major problems.

Managed services, on the other hand, include regular check-ups and maintenance to prevent issues from arising in the first place. This can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.


Downtime can be costly for businesses, as it results in lost productivity and revenue. Under the break-fix model, you have to wait for a technician to come and fix the issue, which can result in significant downtime.

Managed services, on the other hand, include proactive maintenance and monitoring, which can prevent issues from occurring in the first place. This means less downtime and more productivity for your business.

IT Expertise

Under the break-fix model, you only have access to IT support when something goes wrong. This means that you may not have access to the expertise and knowledge of an IT professional on a regular basis.

With managed services, you have a team of IT experts at your disposal. They can provide ongoing support, advice, and guidance to help your business run smoothly and efficiently.

Which is Right for Your Business?

When deciding between break-fix and managed services, there are a few factors to consider.


If you have a tight budget and can’t afford ongoing IT support, break-fix may be the best option for your business. However, keep in mind that unexpected costs and downtime can arise with this model.

If you have room in your budget for a monthly fee, managed services may be a better fit. This can provide peace of mind and save you money in the long run by preventing major issues.

IT Needs

Consider the complexity of your IT needs. If you have a small business with minimal IT requirements, break-fix may be sufficient. However, if you have a larger business with more complex IT needs, managed services may be a better fit.

Proactive Maintenance

Think about the importance of proactive maintenance for your business. If you rely heavily on technology and can’t afford downtime, managed services may be the best option. However, if you can afford to wait for issues to arise and have a backup plan in place, break-fix may be a viable option.

Outsourcing Your IT

Whether you choose break-fix or managed services, outsourcing your IT needs can provide numerous benefits for your business.

Outsourcing IT allows you to focus on your core business functions, rather than worrying about IT issues. It also provides access to a team of IT experts who can provide ongoing support and guidance.

Additionally, outsourcing IT can ultimately save you money by preventing major issues and downtime.

Is Trusting My IT to Another Business Risky?

Depending on who you trust, it can be. There are certainly IT companies out there that are less reputable than others, and even more that might get in over their heads when it comes to serving certain industries or certain types of clients. Either way, yes, there are risks to working with third-parties for any sort of service.

Baltimore organizations who work with Dresner Group, however, tend to benefit from our attention to detail, our mantra to put security first, and our incredibly awesome staff of knowledgeable IT professionals. We get a lot of praise from those we work with.

We’d love to change your mind about IT in general—from making IT issues less of a headache, to eliminating them altogether, to helping your organization get more done and be more effective through automation, to giving you peace of mind by knowing that your business is secure.

It all starts with a phone call. Give us a call at (410) 531-6727 to schedule a consultation.

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