Break-Fix vs Managed Service Agreement (MSA): Choosing the Right IT Support Model

September 27, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of Information Technology (IT) support, businesses often find themselves at a crossroads when deciding how to handle their IT needs. Two prominent models emerge: Break-Fix and Managed Service Agreement (MSA). Both approaches have their merits and drawbacks, and choosing the right one can significantly impact your organization's efficiency, security, and bottom line.

In this blog post, we'll explore the key differences between being a Break-Fix client and opting for a Managed Service Agreement, with a comparative table to help you make an informed decision.

Break-Fix Support: Reactive and On-Demand

Break-fix support is a reactive approach where businesses seek IT assistance when issues arise. Services are rendered case-by-case, typically billed hourly or per incident.


  • Cost Control: Businesses pay only when encountering issues, reducing ongoing expenses.
  • Flexibility: There is no long-term commitment, allowing companies to adapt quickly to changing needs.
  • No Fixed Costs: No monthly fees; expenses are directly tied to IT incidents.


  • Uncertain Costs: While cost-effective in the short term, expenses can skyrocket during major incidents.
  • Downtime: Waiting for issue resolution can lead to significant downtime, impacting productivity.
  • Lack of Proactive Maintenance: Preventative measures are minimal, making businesses more susceptible to recurring issues.
  • Lack of Strategic Planning: Without a strategic IT roadmap, businesses may miss out on opportunities to leverage technology for growth and efficiency. The absence of a forward-looking approach can hinder innovation and limit the potential for competitive advantages.
  • Transactional Relationship: The interaction between the two parties is typically limited to responding to IT issues as they occur. This reactive nature can lead to a lack of proactive engagement in identifying potential problems before they become critical and limited insight into broader business goals and objectives.

Managed Service Agreement (MSA): Proactive and Predictable

An MSA is a proactive IT support model where businesses enter into a contractual agreement with an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP). The MSP provides ongoing, comprehensive IT support for a fixed monthly fee.


  • Predictable Costs: Monthly fees provide budget predictability, reducing unexpected expenses.
  • Proactive Maintenance: MSPs actively monitor and maintain systems, preventing issues before they become critical.
  • Faster Issue Resolution: Continuous monitoring and support mean quicker problem identification and resolution.
  • Enhanced Security: Regular updates and security protocols reduce vulnerabilities and safeguard data.
  • Partnership: With an MSA, you're not just hiring a service; you're forging a long-term relationship with a dedicated IT department that's always there when needed. This partnership goes beyond reactive problem-solving. It entails a deep understanding of your business, its goals, and its technology needs.


  • Ongoing Costs: Businesses pay a fixed monthly fee whether they encounter issues or not.
  • Contractual Commitment: May require a long-term commitment, potentially limiting flexibility.

Difference between Break-Fix and Managed Service Agreement


Choosing the Right Model

The choice between Break-Fix and an MSA largely depends on your organization's specific needs, budget, and risk tolerance. If your IT demands are sporadic, and you prefer to control costs on a case-by-case basis, Break-Fix might be the right choice. However, an MSA is likely the more strategic option if you value proactive maintenance, predictable expenses, and reduced downtime.

In today's fast-paced business world, where IT systems underpin almost every aspect of operations, having a reliable and proactive IT support model can be a game-changer. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your organization's priorities and the level of service you require to thrive in the digital age.

To make an informed choice, consult an experienced IT Managed Service Provider who can assess your unique needs and recommend the most suitable approach for your business.

Whether you opt for Break-Fix or an MSA, the right IT support can be critical in driving your organization's success.

Need help choosing the right IT support model for your business? Contact us at 1-833-847-0725 or


View More

BUnit G - 301 Weston Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3E 3H4

^ * )

E-mail Us
8:30am - 5pm / Mon - Fri

Call Us

Toll Free: 1-833-847-0725

Unite Interactive