IT support typically falls into one of two categories: Break/Fix and Fully Managed Support. The Break/Fix providers usually wait for something to break, then they fix it. This is how most internal IT departments, as well as outsourced IT companies work. The Fully Managed Support model is the most common IT support model in the New York area, and usually includes 24 x 7 x 365 monitoring and support of systems and networks, depending on the contract.
There are advantages and downsides to both models. The Break/Fix model is cheaper because you’re only paying for services on an as-needed basis. However, this model only provides the reactive component of IT support, and doesn’t include preventative measures such as upgrades, patching, backup, and continuous monitoring. Also, this model usually lacks a Service Level Agreement (SLA), so when things break, you may not know when they’ll be fixed.
The Fully Managed Support model provides extensive 24 x 7 x 365 monitoring and alerting, as well as maintenance and on-demand support. It also provides a guaranteed response time SLA (usually 1 – 4 hours), so you know when your issue will be addressed. However, this model type is more costly, as you pay a set monthly fee, and usually requires a 1- or 2-year contract.
It’s also important to consider whether your IT support provider is a reseller of hardware. Many providers partner with hardware manufacturers, giving them incentive to sell you on specific devices. At Network Lab, we don’t partner with vendors, so if your IT support specialist recommends a hardware change, they’ll supply you with a shopping cart from Dell, HP, Lenovo, SonicWALL, or Amazon. That way, you can rest assured that they’re recommending the hardware because you need it, not because they’re going to make a commission on it.