For decades, the primary working relationship between a business and IT looked one of two ways. In the first model, businesses may have had a person on staff tasked with keeping all the IT up and running (or in the case of large organizations, this might be a small department). Or, companies basically DIY’ed it, then called an IT servicing company if and when something broke (like, a server went down, a machine stopped working, etc.). This is the ‘break-fix’ model of IT solutions — something breaks, you call someone to fix it. The fact of the matter now, though, is that you simply cannot afford a break-fix approach to IT — too much of your business depends on uninterrupted IT reliability, and the cost of breaches or downtime dramatically outweigh the cost of proactively managing your technology stack.
Break-fix used to make sense
In point of actual fact, the break-fix model of IT made pretty good sense in the 1990s and throughout large parts of the 2000s. Technology wasn’t yet the core of almost every business enterprise, there weren’t that many threats out there, and most of our databases weren’t stored exclusively in the cloud. Furthermore, you didn’t really need to spend money on full-time IT support or IT departments when things didn’t go wrong that often, and when they did, they weren’t that expensive to fix. In that scenario, it makes sense to only pay for repairs or help when you absolutely needed them. But, as is probably obvious to you now, that’s now how business works anymore.
Why a new reality demands a new approach
Break-fix simply doesn’t cut it any more. Information, data and the systems they live on are the lifeblood of almost every business in existence. They may not be the primary way goods or services are provided, but they almost certainly factor into the equation at some point in the process of getting your goods or services to market. And unlike the halcyon days of the early internet, there are innumerable threats out there, all the time. And if one lands, the damage is, as often as not, catastrophic, monumentally expensive to repair, or both. If the wrong threat gets through, or if the critical piece of IT infrastructure fails for non-nefarious reasons, it doesn’t really matter — it could sink your entire business. As such, you have to treat IT with a proactive approach; it cannot be consigned to break-fix any more.
That’s why managed service providers aren’t all created equally, either. If you have an IT partner that you only call every once in a while, it’s possible you’re not as protected as you may think. But if you have a true partner that has designed your infrastructure, data and security protocols proactively, then you don’t have to wait for an expensive break to fix something — your partner should be fixing problems before they even have the chance to break.