Managed IT vs IT Services

Marc Dorey

Marc Dorey

Infrastructure & Managed Services Lead

Since most modern businesses rely heavily on information technology, maintaining a secure and efficient IT infrastructure is essential for reducing disruptions.

A trusted IT partner is critical, but with so many options out there it can be difficult to know which is best for you. ‘IT Services’ and ‘Managed IT’ are buzzwords you often hear when looking for someone to support you on your IT journey. However, despite the two names sounding similar, there are some major differences between the two.

IT services is a reactive or ‘break-fix’ support agreement with your supplier. This relies on a back-and-forth relationship between the office and the IT team. However, reactive support is just that, and there is not only a time cost to this but a stress cost too!

In some instances, reactive IT services will fit your business model well. For example, if you are a small business with a small number of part-time staff who will not require full-time support. In these instances, IT support may provide the care you need at a price that is better suited to your needs.

In comparison, Managed IT services are always on or in other words, more proactive. The IT team is responsible for keeping an eye on your IT needs. That includes ensuring your IT devices are kept up to date, known issues are watched for and there is someone available for remote assistance. An IT managed service looks to minimise downtime and disruption, this approach comes with several benefits:

1. Cost Effectiveness

At first glance it’s easy to believe that a traditional IT service is a money saver, the hidden costs however add up. In a break-fix agreement, there is a tendency to apply a quick patch to a problem after all you are reacting to an emergency. Because the aim is not to provide holistic service this is often done without an overall understanding of what is happening to the rest of the IT estate. These issues compound over time and usually end with the house or cards falling over and it becomes a major emergency.

Managed IT however is a more holistic approach where the whole network is considered and IT technicians develop a thorough understanding of the environment. This along with the fact that reoccurring problems eat into your providers bottom line by consuming time and resources that are needed elsewhere, your provider has a strong case to keep you running smoothly.

2. Flexibility

A break-fix engineer knows your problems whereas Managed IT providers know your systems. This is much like how a first aider can use things around them to get you out of danger but only your regular doctor can help you on a holistic journey to health.

When your business needs to change and grow, you want to be partnered with someone who knows your systems well to offer advice from a holistic point of view.

Unfortunately, this is hard to offer when your IT provider rushes into to save the day and then rushes out again to do it all again somewhere else without getting to spend the time to learn and understand the ins and outs of how your business operates inside your IT needs.

3. Security

IT security in a reactive sense tends to follow the same structure: set it, forget it and hope it works. The lack of proactive support means that by the time security issues are picked up, when something goes horribly wrong it is usually too late.

Patch management and regular monitoring of systems along with managed backup services and proactive monitoring usually sets the Managed service provider apart in this area.

4. Productivity

Productivity uptime benefits often speak for themselves. Removing the element of IT frustration out of your IT systems goes a long way to reducing workplace stresses.

One of the core strengths of Managed IT services is to reduce this friction. In-turn, ensuring that users have less issues so that the Managed service provider can use their resources more effectively in proactively looking after your needs.

We hope this article gives you a clearer understanding of the differences between Managed IT and IT services.

We know that every business has different needs and if you need help deciding which model works best for your business please don’t hesitate to get hold of our team who will be more than happy to help.


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