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IT Managed Services vs. IT Outsourcing: What’s the Difference?

While there are some similarities between IT outsourcing and partnering with an IT managed service, there are also important differences that could spell the difference between a highly successful business and one struggling to move ahead and reach core goals. Read on to discover which IT management model is the best option for your business.

IT Managed Services

What are the Advantages of IT Outsourcing?

Outsourcing means trusting a third-party service provider to handle one or more IT jobs with minimal supervision on your end. The most commonly outsourced tasks are software application, software application maintenance, and running a data center. These specialized jobs often require skills that are in short supply, leaving a business with no choice but to find a company or individual in another city, state, or even country that can provide needed technical services.

Gaining access to specialized expertise is one of the biggest advantages of IT outsourcing. However, it’s not the only one. Many companies have found that it’s far cheaper to outsource certain IT functions than it is to hire full-time experts to hire these tasks in-house. The average annual salary for an IT technician in the United States is well over $74,500, and this sum does not include expected benefits such as help with repaying student loans, relocation assistance, professional development assistance, and parental leave. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that many companies turn to outsourced IT services and even overseas IT professionals to get expert help at a reasonable cost.

Two other important advantages of working with an outsourced IT service is flexible and scalable service options. You can avail yourself of IT expertise in a particular field when you need it, without having to hire a full-time employee for a set period of time. If you need additional help at certain times of the year, your outsourced IT company can bring in extra technicians to help you out for a limited time period.

What are the Disadvantages of IT Outsourcing?

At the same time, outsourcing some or all your IT services has its downsides. One big problem with many IT outsourcing companies is that they don’t conduct preventative maintenance or regularly assess your IT set-up to improve your services. Rather, they are simply on call in case something breaks down or goes wrong. Relying on a company with a “break it/fix it” service model will limit downtime and keep your IT department running reasonably well but won’t help you use technology to its full potential or empower you to get ahead of the competition. Furthermore, outsourcing IT services to a company located in a distant city, state, or even country can be problematic if misunderstandings arise and/or you need in-person assistance.

What are the Advantages of Partnering with an IT Managed Service Provider?

IT managed services are outsourcing companies that partner with you to provide a range of IT tools and services, including cybersecurity services, business continuity planning, IT consulting, cloud storage and support, software development, IT training for employees, and IT monitoring and support. IT managed services can either handle all your IT needs or partner with your in-house IT technician or department to offer specialized services as needed.

IT managed services, unlike outsourced IT services, specializing in providing proactive IT assistance to improve your overall IT set-up. IT managed service providers routinely monitor your whole network to ensure that there are no cybersecurity vulnerabilities or potential problems that could lead to data breaches or downtime. They offer advice on IT upgrades to help you save time and money, improve customer services and overall operations, and get to know new technologies that could help you take your business to the next level. What’s more, many IT managed services specialize in certain industries, making it possible for you to get IT support from someone who is familiar with your business needs and industry requirements.

IT managed service providers offer scalable, flexible services to suit your needs and budget. In fact, many of these companies offer complimentary IT system assessments to help you better understand your IT set-up and how to improve it to meet your current and future needs. IT managed services are essentially an extension of your business. You don’t have to put the IT technicians on your payroll but you can count on them to provide both virtual and in-house support. They work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They’re there for you no matter what.

What are the Disadvantages of Partnering with an IT Managed Service Provider?

Sadly, some IT managed service providers offer sub-par service or are simply unable to keep up with the demands of your growing business. In such instances, it can be difficult to switch over to a new IT managed service as your current service will have full access and control over your IT set-up. It’s important to select an IT managed service with care and caution to ensure it’s the best fit for your business now and in the future.

It’s also worth noting that IT managed services may not be able to provide specialized forms of assistance that can only be obtained by outsourcing or hiring an in-house technician. Thankfully, IT managed service providers offer the flexibility you need to partner with any expert who can help you grow your business. Your IT managed service can even work directly with your outsourced IT company, freeing you to focus on business growth rather than IT development, repair, and maintenance.

Do you need a specific, specialized IT job done for your business? If so, IT outsourcing could be your best bet. However, if your goal is to keep your IT department running smoothly and securely at all times, partnering with an IT managed service is the way to go. Getting professional outside help and support for your IT set-up will not only enable you to focus on other important aspects of your business but also provide you with expert advice and support to improve operations and use technology to reach your business goals faster than would have otherwise been possible.