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1 Mar 2021

Proactive vs Reactive IT support – which is best?

What’s the difference between reactive support and proactive support?

Reactive IT support

Remember the saying, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”. Unfortunately, for a long time IT adhered to it. And in some cases, where time and budget constraints cause headaches, it still does.

This saying is the basis of the reactive model, otherwise known as the break-fix approach. If an issue arises and you don’t have the means to rectify swiftly, you may have to bring in an external source to resolve the issue. And, as with any skill that is needed during times of urgency, it’s going to be expensive.

Of course the one thing to keep in mind is, that repairs and patches are time consuming, and your issue might not get resolved as quickly as you need it to be, resulting in a lot more downtime than your business can handle. Reactive support means a provider can offer an engineer, but they work on their own time schedule, which means they can’t always be available for immediate assistance.

Proactive IT support

Proactive IT support is what a competent Managed Services Provider (MSP) offers. They provide you with a team that assumes responsibilities of your day-to-day operations. With around the clock monitoring, they’ll monitor your network infrastructure to prevent and resolve issues, long before they become a long term problem that can affect your users or your business – something which isn’t guaranteed with break-fix.

Typically, finding the right MSP is the smarter option for your business. While the reactive support will focus on the repair when needed, proactive support will work on prevention and strategies to make your IT infrastructure more operationally efficient.


What’s included in a proactive support model?

With the proactive model, you can expect 24x7x365 managed IT support. This means, you’ll have access to a responsive team, and you won’t have to wait for an assistance as you would with the break-fix approach. Instead, your systems, network and applications will be consistently monitored, and issues will be attended too much quicker.

You provider will work with you as a strategic partner to deliver a strategy that addresses your business needs. In order to do this, they’ll map out and understand your current infrastructure. You’ll also get access to expertise from your own dedicated account manager and service delivery manager who will be there to support and take responsibility of the level of service that will be delivered.

This route is subscription based and may cost you a little more than the break-fix approach, but you’ll soon start to see ROI benefits that come along with it.

Technical consultancy

When your provider conducts a full infrastructure analysis, as well as suggesting tailored strategies, they’ll also make recommendations to leverage new technologies in order to develop your business, and keep in line with industry trends. Whilst doing this, they will take into considerations that any new technologies refrain from compromising with your current business operations.

MSP’s have their own team of experienced and knowledgeable individuals. So with their technical expertise, they can help you to improve your overall environment by creating operational efficiency, streamlining your processes and providing you with cost saving opportunities.

24x7x365 support

You’ll gain 24x7x365 support through a service desk, not just for infrastructure support, but any user requests too. Any issues can be submitted through to the desk via a ticket. This way, issues can be attended to much quicker.

And since your network will be constantly monitored, you can expect regular reporting. This will ensure that you’re always kept up to date and know exactly what’s going on in your network.

Onsite engineering

If you require someone on-site, your service provider can facilitate an engineer to be at your disposal. Usually this can be flexible and be scheduled according to your requirements, whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly.

These are just some of the main services you can expect with choosing the proactive route. In reality, the benefits of taking this approach are endless. There are many additional services that MSP’s can offer, and they’ll provide you with ongoing support to improve your business, rather than just offering a ‘quick fix’.


So which one is better for businesses?

A reactive support might be cheaper, and yes it might work for some businesses looking to keep their costs to a minimum, especially if they’re a fairly small company. But if you’re growing, and looking to expand your business further, this is going to come with the need for support. It’s also worth noting that a reactive support may seem cheaper in the short-term, but once the issues start piling up, your costs will too.

Take into account the value behind the service too, it’s true when they say “you get what you pay for”. Yes, you might be paying a little more for a proactive support, but it comes with added values which can also eliminate the pressures off your in-house IT team. For a responsive and efficient IT support service, we personally recommend a managed service.


What if I’m not getting the support I need?

If you’re already partnered with a service provider, you may be thinking, how can I identify if I’m actually getting proactive IT support? Consider the following questions:

1. Are your users opening to many help desk tickets?
2. Does your IT team feel more or less burden since your support service was introduced?
3. Do you receive regular reports to understand your environment?

Keeping a close eye on how many tickets your staff are making is a good indicator on whether you’re receiving proactive support. If you find that they’re opening to many, the chances are that your provider isn’t focusing on preventive maintenance. You also shouldn’t have to ask for reports and updates on your network, your provider should be working with you as a partner and keeping you in the loop.

Here’s what a good proactive support service looks like:

  • Detailed reporting to establish what’s going on in your network
  • Effective preventative maintenance
  • Ensures help desk tickets are kept to a minimum
  • Provides technical support
  • Effective monitoring and alerting to identify issues quicker
  • Secure solutions
  • Technical expertise

Overall, a proactive service should be making your life easier, not more complex! If you’re having issues and not getting the outcome you hoped for, it’s time to make the switch. Remember before doing this, you’ll need to take a look at your current contract and see how long you’ve agreed to.


If you’ve decided to call it quits with the break-fix approach, or you’re looking for a new managed IT support service, we have you covered! To learn more about our end-to-end managed support service, get in touch with us today. Alternatively you can call us on +44 02076057890 or email us at


By OryxAlign