What is the difference between Break/Fix and MSP?

Break/Fix vs MSP

Break/Fix and Managed Service Provider (MSP) are two distinct approaches to IT support and services, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.


Break/Fix is a reactive model of IT support where services are only provided when something breaks or malfunctions in a client’s IT infrastructure. In this model, businesses seek assistance from IT professionals on an as-needed basis. When a problem arises, the client contacts the IT service provider, and they charge for the time and resources required to diagnose and fix the issue. This approach does not involve ongoing monitoring or preventative measures.

Pros of Break/Fix:

  1. Cost Control: Businesses only pay for services when issues occur, potentially saving money compared to continuous service contracts.
  2. Flexibility: Clients have the freedom to choose when to engage IT support based on their immediate needs.
  3. Minimal Commitment: There’s no long-term commitment, allowing clients to switch providers or strategies easily.

Cons of Break/Fix:

  1. Downtime: Since services are reactive, there can be prolonged downtime while waiting for the IT provider to address issues.
  2. Unpredictable Costs: While costs might be lower initially, they can become unpredictable if multiple issues arise.
  3. Lack of Proactivity: Break/Fix doesn’t include preventative maintenance, leaving systems vulnerable to recurring problems.

Managed Service Provider (MSP):

MSP is a proactive and ongoing IT support model where an external service provider is responsible for monitoring, managing, and maintaining a client’s IT infrastructure. Under this arrangement, the MSP offers a range of services, including regular system checks, updates, security measures, and support for a fixed monthly fee. The goal is to prevent issues before they cause disruptions and to ensure that the client’s IT environment operates smoothly.

Pros of MSP:

  1. Proactive Maintenance: Regular monitoring and maintenance help prevent issues, reducing downtime and improving system reliability.
  2. Predictable Costs: Fixed monthly fees make budgeting more manageable, even during unexpected IT events.
  3. Focus on Core Business: Clients can concentrate on their core business functions while leaving IT management to experts.

Cons of MSP:

  1. Higher Costs: MSPs generally involve higher upfront costs due to ongoing service fees.
  2. Reduced Flexibility: Clients are committed to a contract term, which can limit the ability to switch providers easily.
  3. Potential Overkill: Small businesses with minimal IT needs might find some MSP offerings excessive.

In conclusion, the choice between Break/Fix and MSP depends on a business’s priorities, budget, and IT requirements. Break/Fix is suitable for organizations seeking cost savings and flexibility, but it can result in downtime and reactive problem-solving. On the other hand, MSP provides proactive maintenance, predictable costs, and expert support, but at a higher ongoing expense. Businesses looking to ensure stable IT operations and focus on core activities often find value in the managed services approach.