The Difference Between Break-Fix and Managed Services

The Difference Between Break-Fix and Managed Services

Every business, even the smallest needs help with their IT.  The long-time debate has been between break and manages services. The choice to choose between the two separate options, break-fix or managed services has been a decision for business owners since managed services became an option for small and medium companies. Between the two choices are differences in scope, expertise, and associated costs.

Break-fix services are on-call IT support that typically charges an hourly rate whenever you need their services. Managed services allow an external company to take over management of a business’s full IT spectrum, including day-to-day operations, 24/7 network and security monitoring, with a goal of preventing downtime, data loss, or security breaches.

These two services comprise a significant part of the IT services outsourcing market, a global market segment valued at $530.15 billion in 2021. But, before you start outsourcing your IT support needs, you need to know which pricing model is right for you. 

The Difference Between Break-Fix and Managed Services

Understanding the Break-Fix Model

The break-fix model for providing IT support works the same as when you have a broken pipe, you call a plumber.  In the IT world, it could be a network issue, software, or hardware, if something is broken, you call to get it fixed, and the transaction ends there. Typically, this is paid on an hourly basis, with a discount given if you pre-buy hours.

Depending on the arrangement, they will send a support technician to resolve the issue with varied response times based on availability and tier of support purchased.

Break-fix IT field services and support services are designed around reactive support to fix all issues, in response to an immediate customer problem. As such, they only charge whenever their services are needed, giving rise to often unpredictable costs. If a larger issue has occurred, like a server crash, you will be billed per hour at market rate.  To troubleshoot and resolve the issue, this can easily cost you thousands of dollars.

Some of the more common break-fix services include:

1. Virus Removal

Atlas VPN reported that over 34 million species of malware had been discovered from January to April 2022. This translates to over 316,000 new threats every day on average.

Virus removal work focuses on mitigating the spread and damage of malware or helping you regain access to your network after a malicious attack. This can be as simple as an annoyance or as complex as a full-scale ransomware attack.

2. Hardware Setup or Hardware Upgrades

Hardware setup, installation and upgrades across multiple locations typically take much coordination and are taxing on an internal IT team.

This is why many organizations will hire an outside company to handle upgrading, reconfiguring, or repairing hardware through a break-fix service where you pay a set fee for services rendered.  They can handle procurement and deployment of any hardware, including network changes, or PC upgrades.

3. Software Updates

Software distributors regularly update their products to address design, performance flaws, and introduce new features. While most apps can be updated by the end user with ease, certain business line application updates take coordination between the provider, customer, and their users.

Even if the app is covered by warranty, having a professional update the software is usually best practices to manage the link between the application and end users network. Break-fix IT shops can also be on-premises to handle the high likelihood of issues that are created during upgrade. 

Understanding the Managed Service Model

The managed services model revolves around proactive support based on a flat monthly fee. This fee is typically charged based on the number of users or endpoints. Businesses in the SMB space trusts a dedicated team of professionals to actively manage your IT infrastructure to enable daily success. Response and resolution rates are typically quicker and smoother, in part due to contracted SLA’s, institutional knowledge, and deployed network monitoring software.

Instead of paying predetermined rates for specific tasks, you agree on a recurring subscription-based charge. Aside from monthly fees, you also discuss the agreement’s terms, outlined in a service-level agreement (SLA) so that your specific IT needs are always met.  Additional fee’s can be accrued with infrastructure changes, disaster recovery due to unforeseen circumstances, like fire, and regulatory compliance.

A managed service provider (MSP) makes it their responsibility to minimize the risks of system failure that could adversely affect your IT operations.

Standard services typically include but are not limited to:

1. Cybersecurity

From the edge of your network through email security, it is your managed service providers job to manage all aspects of your cybersecurity.  This should be a multi-tiered and layered configuration that at minimum should include a firewall at the edge of your network, anti-virus, anti-malware deployed on each device, data backups tested regularly, advanced email security, and multi-factor authentication.

Each business’s needs and the compliancy that they need to follow are different, a managed service provider can offer varying levels of support.   

2. Network Management

Outsourced network management is one of the most common MSP services available for small, medium, and large businesses. This can be deployed and monitored remotely and allows a pro-active through automation.  A managed service provider can monitor for any incongruities within your network, including outages, non-responsive devices, security threats, and completed data backups. 

3. On Demand Help Desk Services

Daily, all users are free to contact their managed services provider without the worry of running up additional costs. To keep users focused on their most important tasks, when any issue occurs, they do not need to spend time trying to resolve the issue at hand.  With a quality managed service provider, their help desk can be reached through a ticketing portal, by email, or a phone call.  Response times should be measured in minutes, with the ability to resolve any issue quickly and correctly.Ultimately, the decision must be made on which model fits the needs of the business best.  As businesses grow, most reach a point where the perceived cost savings of using a break fix provider does not outweigh the benefit of having an on demand proactive managed service provider.  Having a reliable partner ensuring that your IT infrastructure runs smoothly, is secure, and enabling success, allows your business to advance. HubWise Technology partners with customers in all verticals, quickly responding to the ever-changing needs of your business



If you missed it and are still running Windows 7 and older or Windows Server 2008 R2 and older OS’s, you need to ensure you have applied the latest updates from Microsoft. 

BlueKeep is a vulnerability that allows for remote code execution on systems that are not patched.  Microsoft has also recently come out and said that they believe the vulnerability is “wormable”, essentially meaning it could propagate across the internet without any interaction. 

This is a major security issue causing Microsoft to release updates for out of support systems like Windows XP. 

If you are still running Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 or Windows 7, you should know that they are going end-of-support in January of 2020 and systems should be planned to be upgraded or replaced.  Regardless, if you still have these systems running, ensure they are updated against this threat. 

All HubWise managed systems were updated as part of our normal patching policy. 

Email and ACH, A Deadly Combination

Email and ACH, A Deadly Combination

Email, the phisherman’s paradise, the hacker’s delight, the criminal’s new hotness can be deadly when combined with crucial and private information.  Ok, so maybe not deadly, but certainly able to cause enough stress to create an ulcer. 

Here at the HubWise we’ve seen some interesting things going on with email lately, specifically around bank account and routing numbers, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. 

Two years ago, getting your email hacked usually meant someone was using your email account to send out a bunch of spam to either your contacts or more likely, the world at large.  While this was annoying, and generally irritated people, the worst the usually happened was that you ended up on a blacklist and couldn’t get your emails delivered for a few days while you cleaned up the problem.  This has changed dramatically recently. 

We are now seeing that when email accounts get hacked, or more likely, a user provides their username and password in a phishing email, the criminals that access the account don’t do anything for a while.  They just watch.  They see what emails you send and received, they start to understand the inner workings of your organization and its org chart, and they monitor your calendar to see what you are doing. 

Why?  Because when they know who you communicate with and the roll that they are in, they can then use your email to get someone else to do something they wouldn’t normally do. 

Here are a couple of specific examples. 

The CEO of an organization was in China scouting new locations and manufacturing plants for their business and their international expansion.  The whole company knew she would be out of the office and had a pretty good idea of what the trip was about.  The CFO, who did not accompany the CEO on the trip, was very aware of it and its purpose.  So, when the email from the CEO came in and asked for $250,000 be transferred to a bank account in China, he didn’t question it.   The money was sent immediately.  The CFO replied to the email, saying it was done.  When the CEO called the next day, the CFO made a passing comment asking about the transaction and the CEO’s response was one of shock.  She had not made the request and was surprised to hear to was made. 

The Information Security team investigated, found that the CEO’s email credentials had been compromised, the hacker had setup rules in her email box automatically deleting all email received from the CFO, so any response sent would never be seen.  They then noted that the CEO was to be in China and then sent the email during that time.  The money was not recovered. 

Another situation involved a 401(k) disbursement request.  An ex-employee of a company had requested his funds be rolled over into his bank account.  He filled out the form, put his bank account information on it and emailed it to his former employer.  The controller forwarded the form to their 401(k) manager, who then forwarded it on to the investment bank. 

The employee called their former employer a few days later and told the controller that the money hadn’t shown up in their bank account.  The controller called their 401(k) manager and was told the money was disbursed a few days after the form had been received.  The manager and the controller ended up comparing the routing and bank account numbers on the form, and they didn’t match. 

After investigating the incident, it appeared that the 401(k) managers account had been compromised.  The people watching the account saw the email come in, copied it, then deleted it out of the managers account so it wouldn’t be seen.  Five hours later, an email was sent from a spoofed email account to look like the controller had sent it, and it included the exact attachment originally sent, with the bank account and routing number changed.  The managed was none the wiser. 

Luckily the investment bank was able to reverse the funds from the wrong bank and recover the money before the account was emptied. 

These are just two examples of the many of what we are seeing criminals doing in the wild.  And they are scary.  So how do you protect yourself? 

First and foremost, if you are sending critical information via email, unless it’s encrypted, stop doing it now.  All HubWise customers are subscribed to HubWise ChainMail which provides email encryption built in.  It also automatically detects social security numbers and credit card numbers and encrypts those, so if you forget to mark the email, it will still be protected. 

HubWise ChainMail Compete combines with HubWise Spark to provide AI monitoring of your email accounts.  If it notices something odd going on with your email, for example sending emails you normally wouldn’t send or sending at odd times, it will flag a ticket and let us know.  It also monitors your inbox rules to ensure they are not being changed. 

Even with all of this in place, like a warm security blanket on a cold winter’s day, you also need to be vigilant about what you click on.  Compromised email credentials can lead to both of the above examples, and it doesn’t even need to be yours that are compromised to cause problems. 

Sometimes even the best security feature may not be technology related, pick up the phone and make sure what you send was received properly. 

Flight Simulator – Azure AI

Flight Simulator – Azure AI

Microsoft showed off an update to a title they haven’t updated since 2006 at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). It was a surprise for sure, but the game itself wasn’t the most interesting part. Microsoft showed off running footage of their new release of Flight Simulator.

While Flight Simulator doesn’t often get a huge shout out from the gaming crowd, I think technologists may have taken more notice this time around.

The areas in which you can fly from and too are incredibly detailed, building rise out of the ground, cities look just like their real-time counterparts, and you can fly over elephants and giraffes in the plains of Africa.

Microsoft stated that during the detailed imaging is generated from 2 petabytes of data (2,000 gigabytes). That’s a lot of data, much more than would ever fit on even the highest end gaming PC, and certainly not on the Xbox that the game is also slated to come out for next year.

Microsoft is utilizing Azure AI in the development of the game. It will be very interesting to follow the development and release of this, because I am expecting that some of that data and some of the images included in the game, may even be streaming, in real-time, from Azure. The ability for a developer to utilize the cloud to build bigger and more incredible games by utilizing the cloud is eye-opening and exciting. It makes me wonder what’s next.

HubWise Welcomes Jason Moen

HubWise Welcomes Jason Moen

I’m thrilled to welcome Jason Moen to the HubWise Team.  Jason is joining us from a career in sales at several other stops, but this will be his first foray into Managed Services.  He is excited to start learning how HubWise helps our customers business success and helping other companies learn about HubWise. 

Jason will be involved in developing HubWise’s ongoing sales and marketing efforts and helping to develop ongoing programs such as our customer referral program.   

Jason’s background in sales and business development will help him to understand how HubWise works with our customers and how we help to drive their success.  Jason is going to be tasked with the job of telling other business and organizations about HubWise and helping to determine how we can help them. 

We are excited for our existing and future customers to start working with Jason in the near future. 

Technology Hail Storm!

Technology Hail Storm!

Hole in your technology roof, call HubWise.

HubWise is working with a roofing and sheet metal company on their technology needs.  The company, which has seen tremendous growth over the last 5 years, needed help navigating the technology world to enable the business to take advantage. 

The company was looking for someone who could understand how their business works, and what needed to be done to enable employees to be more productive and efficient with technology.  HubWise will be helping the organization with day-to-day support, but also involved in the helping to define the direction of technology in the company.  With cloud solutions, drones, and other industry specific applications, HubWise will use it’s extensive knowledge of business and technology to help guide the company in it’s growth.

HubWise will position technology changes that enable the business to take advantage of the changes to the industry and ensure that the last 5 years of growth continue into the next 5 years.

Need help understanding your technology and predicting the future?  Reach out today.

HubWise Enters New Partnership for Sage Sales and Support

HubWise Enters New Partnership for Sage Sales and Support

HubWise Technology, Inc., a managed service provider (MSP) and information technology consultancy firm today announced a new partnership with BrainSell Technologies.  BrainSell is a value-added reseller that specializes in end-to-end business software technologies and unbiased consulting and implementation services for organizations of all sizes.

HubWise has partnered with BrainSell on HubWise’s Sage 100 enterprise resource planning (ERP) practice.  BrainSell will deliver ongoing account management and support for HubWise’s Sage 100 customers.

HubWise is enthusiastic for the future of the partnership.  Kyle Swanda, Executive Vice President, at HubWise says that this new partnership is a win for everyone – the HubWise team, BrainSell, and most importantly, their clients.

“We spent a lot of time looking for a new partner and did not make this decision lightly. After considering our options, we feel that BrainSell is a perfect fit for HubWise,” says Swanda. “Our goal is to provide improved services, support, and product expertise for our clients with help from BrainSell. We’re excited for what’s ahead.”

Jim Ward, BrainSell CEO, is equally as enthusiastic for the future.

“HubWise is a very unusual group – and what I mean by that is that they’re unusually easy to work with,” says Jim Ward, BrainSell CEO. “They are a pleasant, professional, hard-working group of excellent good communicators. We’re looking forward to helping both HubWise and their clients continue to succeed.”

HubWise will continue to focus on its managed services business and helping small and medium sized businesses use technology as a strategy and to grow.

About HubWise

HubWise Technology, Inc., founded in 2017, was started to help businesses get more out of their technology by solving day-to-day problems while also providing strategic guidance for the future.  HubWise provides managed services and ongoing consulting for small and medium sized businesses nationally and uses its years of expertise in helping to drive strategy and the right use of technology.  HubWise helps business break down the barriers between the server room and the board room.

About BrainSell

Since its founding in 1994, BrainSell has engineered smart growth with business savvy software and consulting services for clients of all sizes across North America. BrainSell uses a proven method called Ready? Set. Grow! to help growing businesses identify the clearest areas of potential growth and improvement in their processes. If software can help your business’s processes, then BrainSell’s team of technology experts will guide you through choosing the best platforms for the job.