As a business owner or IT manager, you are tasked with making decisions to increase your organization’s productivity, but also to reduce costs wherever possible. When it comes to unexpected setbacks caused by IT maintenance issues, are you prepared to deal with them promptly? Preventative maintenance and timely, effective disaster avoidance solutions may add expenses you hadn’t yet considered, but have you calculated the hidden costs of downtime caused by the absence of such maintenance? Technology problems can seem to arise out of nowhere and always at the most inconvenient times. But, have you considered that these intermittent issues might just be the tip of the iceberg? If you take a short view approach to your business technology, where recurring maintenance costs are avoided to save your budget, then you probably have been following a “break-fix” strategy. Break-fix is an industry buzzword, but it simply means that your computer equipment and applications are repaired only when they cause big problems or cease to function at all. No one is looking “under the hood” at the computer and network systems or doing general maintenance and security updates. But, if you’re willing to review your budget to find those hidden costs mentioned earlier, you may want to consider working with a managed service provider, or MSP, instead. It may be the smarter (and more cost-effective) choice for you and your business.

While break-fix repairs may save you money in the short run, costs can add up quickly over time. Because break-fix repairs come with unpredictable costs, it is harder to budget for these fixes. It should also be noted that frequent repairs are business opportunities for the break-fix technician, who only gets paid when there is a significant problem to be addressed. Actually, it is in the break-fix technician’s best interest for your system to be subject to frequent problems. They also may be reluctant to help you move your business forward with cloud services, because they may view the cloud as a significant threat to their business model, which relies on your systems failing repeatedly (which cloud services tend to avoid rather well).

By contrast, MSPs are organizations of IT professionals who are dedicated to keeping your business up and running and improving your business processes. Their technical know-how, industry knowledge, and expertise as an IT professional ensure that they are familiar with IT best practices and have the skills necessary to employ them. MSPs offer constant monitoring of your system, helping to prevent or reduce system down time and increase peace of mind. Working with an MSP, you won’t have to worry about unexpected surprises, because they’re proactively working to identify and prevent threats to your system before they fully materialize. MSPs also share similar goals with their clients, working towards a flawless and predictable system where the business strategies of both are aligned. MSP’s can help to automate business processes, making them more efficient and less costly. Regular maintenance by an MSP ensures that the service provider is already familiar with the system and that there are clear, repeatable processes to solve issues. This saves time and headaches, but also avoids the high costs of disaster remediation or expensive workarounds that come with a poorly maintained computer network.

While the value of working with a managed service provider is beneficial for your business, like anything valuable, it does have a cost. MSPs generally require a monthly fee for their services, so when choosing to retain one, you should make sure that their service plan is comprehensive. It should include not only antivirus, monitoring and help desk support, but also executive consultation, process automation and cloud migration services. The cost of engaging with an MSP may seem like an unnecessary expense when things are running smoothly, but having both system protection and expert IT consultation in your corner can increase your company’s overall productivity.

As businesses look to ways to minimize risk and avoid disruptions in productivity, break-fix IT repair is becoming a less common method of addressing potential IT problems. Budgeting for an ongoing maintenance service may be a financial commitment, but it generally will result in increased productivity as your business can focus on its core practices. The benefits of using an MSP are that it can prevent loss of critical data, optimize efficiency, and ensure professional, knowledgeable IT help for your business. Ultimately, the decision of how best to take care of possible IT problems for your business is up to you.

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