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The Difference Between Reactive vs. Proactive IT Support

The Difference Between Reactive vs. Proactive IT Support

IT support can take many forms, and should always be tailored to the company in question. When you are trying to determine what kind of plan you need, it pays to consider many options. However, most managed services plans can be classified as either reactive or proactive. Since there are some price differences between these two options, you will need to decide which one you want before budgeting for your IT needs.

What Is The Reactive Support Model?

There’s an old saying that goes: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” The reactive IT support model is based on this same attitude. When you go with a reactive plan, you won’t be contracting the services of an IT service provider until you actually need them. When there is a problem, you call them up, and a plan of action is made. In many ways, this might be described as a more streamlined model.

The main advantage of this support model is that it tends to be cheaper. When your IT support provider doesn’t have to give constant attention to your account, it lowers their costs and lowers yours as a consequence. However, there are certain key problems with this approach. The biggest problem is the fact that a reactive model makes no provision for the prevention of problems.

Another big problem is network downtime. When you experience a problem, you will make a call to the service provider, but you will have to wait for them to deploy people to address the problem. Chances are, you will experience more network downtime when you go with a reactive plan, and that can get really expensive.

What Is The Proactive Support Model?

When you take a proactive approach to IT support, you are focusing on prevention rather than repair. In many ways, it is smarter to use this approach because problems are more likely to be fixed before they get too bad. As soon as a problem is identified, there should be very little delay in getting a technician out there to address that problem. This is because your provider is already on duty and ready to move.

This kind of support will probably be more expensive, mostly because of the need for network monitoring. Network monitoring requires a qualified person to keep an eye on the traffic going back and forth. Without this person, the monitoring software is useless. Also, because you are purchasing the same services every month, you will have a more consistent bill. Consistent expenses are much easier to plan for, and that means an easier time at the budgeting table.

A proactive IT approach involves a lot of services, including updates and patch management, antivirus scanning, 24/7 packet monitoring, helpdesk services, system optimization, and network maintenance in general. With this kind of service model, your provider assumes total responsibility for the smooth running and maintenance of your network infrastructure.

Which One Is Better?

When you are evaluating these services, you are basically choosing between a good value and a better range of services. You will certainly pay more for proactive services, but you will get a lot for that money. As we have already explained, proactive-style IT services come bundled with all kinds of extras, and all of those extras will take some pressure off your in-house IT team. They will have more time to concentrate on growth and improvement when they are relieved of all that routine maintenance work.

To be fair, a reactive approach might be better for certain companies. If your IT needs are very small, and if your in-house team doesn’t need any help, a reactive plan might be a better option for you. However, if your business grows larger over time, you might find yourself in a situation where a more proactive approach is required.

In the end, the deciding issue here is the issue of network downtime. Even a single day of downtime can cost your company thousands and thousands of dollars in lost business. Thus, the quick response time of a proactive plan will save you a lot of money. Depending on the size of your business, a reactive plan might even cost you more than its worth. Thus, we would say that a proactive approach is a much better idea for all but the smallest of businesses.


When you are shopping around for small business computer support, it pays to listen to all the options. These two labels are just general terms, and real-world IT support policies might actually be a mix of both. Still, the distinction is useful when learning about this sort of thing. You should always read every policy thoroughly and make sure that you understand every detail. We thank you for reading this article all the way to the end, and we hope you will fill out the contact form.