Why Reactive IT Support Is Killing Your Business
When it comes to tech support, many small businesses are looking to invest in the most cost-effective option possible. While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a budget, it’s important to not let your quest to save money affect the health of your network and hardware. In the IT support world, there are two distinct strategies that companies can adopt. These include proactive and reactive support. The two approaches are vastly different and can have a noticeable impact on your business. Let’s dive a bit deeper to see how…
The Basics of Reactive Support
This is how IT has historically been handled for small businesses. It doesn’t have an on-going fee, making it more attractive when solely looking at upfront costs. As the name would suggest, the support is all about reacting to problems as they occur. For this reason, it’s sometimes referred to as a break-fix solution. Your IT provider waits until something breaks and then they come out and fix it. With reactive IT support, you contact your service provider after something goes wrong to schedule some time from them to fix it.
How Proactive Support Differs
The easiest way to look at proactive support is to compare it to an illness. You wouldn’t wait to get sick to be a healthy person. Instead, you would make good choices and do all you can to avoid getting sick in the first place! That’s how proactive IT support works.
It’s a preventative approach that can help you avoid significant issues altogether. Instead of waiting for outages to affect you and your team, providers will schedule regular maintenance appointments. During this time, professionals will work to mitigate problems and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Additionally, they will have ongoing monitoring which comes with an on-going fee.
Key Differences Between Reactive & Proactive
The biggest difference between the two support strategies is the motivation. Reactive IT companies benefit when you have IT issues whereas proactive companies benefit when you don’t. We take this a step further for you by explaining how you are being billed in the book I co-authored, The Business Owner’s Guide to IT Support and Fees. Also, our risk video below gives you a quick peek into the box. Unfortunately, many small businesses only look at pieces of the support without thinking about the consequences of everything. Here are some things to consider.
Let’s talk about downtime. Say, for example, that the network inside your offices is out. You rely on an Internet connection for daily operations, so you have no choice but to call and get help.
With a reactionary approach, your downtime starts the moment that your Internet goes out. It will continue until things get fixed, which could be hours from the initial start.
Think about how long it has been since someone from your IT service visited your office. Was it a few months ago? A year?
Chances are; your providers aren’t going to be as familiar with your infrastructure as they are with those companies they visit weekly for maintenance. So, they’ll have to spend time familiarizing themselves with your network before they even get a chance to start troubleshooting.
Before you know it, you’ve wasted the entire day waiting to get your Internet up a running! A single hour of downtime can cost small businesses thousands of dollars. Use our Soft Cost Calculator to do the math and decide if it was worth it to save money with reactionary support.
The main reason that small businesses choose to go with a break-fix approach rather than a preventative one is cost. IT providers typically charge for the time they spend working on your system. If they only ever have to visit you when something goes wrong, your upfront costs are much lower.
Preventative care comes with higher fees due to on-going support. However, when you really think about it, a break-fix strategy can cost you a lot more in the long run.
In addition to all of the downtime your company suffers due to an issue, there are also soft costs to think about. We’ve discussed soft costs in a previous blog post. Basically, it’s the accrued costs that tend to pile up indirectly due to bad IT support.
Remember, it can take hours to fix issues with reactionary support. For every minute that passes, you’re losing money and hurting your bottom line. If you go with preventative support, your downtime and soft costs will be minimized. Not only are the chances of IT problems happening lower, but your provider will be able to come up with a prompt and effective solution.
As you can see, taking charge of your IT strategy is always the better option. While it might seem more cost-effective to wait until things go wrong for a fix, you’re risking a lot in the process. Break-fix strategies just cause more headaches than they’re worth.
Staying on top of your system has a lot of benefits. Your IT service provider will be able to spot minor issues before they become major ones, which ultimately keeps your infrastructure in tip-top shape.