Fully managed vs co-managed IT: What’s the difference?

Fully managed vs co-managed IT: What’s the difference?

Choosing the right IT management approach is critical for business efficiency and security. Two leading models, co-managed and managed IT services, offer distinct advantages. In this blog post, we will define the key differences between co-managed and fully managed IT to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your specific business needs.

What are managed IT services?

Managed IT services provide organizations with a strategic approach to managing their IT infrastructure. In this arrangement, IT functions are fully outsourced to the partner MSP, allowing you to focus on your core business operations. MSPs typically bundle their services into an all-in-one package, ensuring that each app or software integrates seamlessly with one another, and that they have the ability to configure and maintain the IT infrastructure efficiently and effectively

What are co-managed IT services?

Co-managed IT services allow businesses to leverage the existing expertise of their internal IT team while gaining access to the comprehensive support, knowledge, and resources of an MSP. This flexibility enables organizations to tailor their IT services by keeping core functionalities in house and outsourcing tasks that require specialized skill sets or ongoing maintenance. Ultimately, co-managed IT fosters a collaborative partnership, empowering the MSP to augment and strengthen your existing IT department.

Do MSPs also provide on-site support?

Many top-shelf MSPs like USWired provide on-site support, but that would depend on the specific issue that needs attention. Sometimes, a remote response is more appropriate or will result in quicker resolution over on-site support. On the other hand, certain issues can only be resolved with in person intervention. A good MSP will have a team that can conduct triage of technology issues that arise, and respond accordingly.

Which one is best for my business?

To determine which one is better for your business, you have to identify the scope of control, level of collaboration, and distribution of responsibilities your business needs:

Scope of control

A managed IT provider is usually handed full control and responsibility over all client IT operations, while a co-managed IT provider focuses on providing support and covering skill gaps without taking control over your system. In a fully managed IT arrangement, this typically means that the partner MSP will have complete administrative access and control, allowing them to install important software and make critical cybersecurity decisions without needing to first seek your approval.

Level of collaboration

On a managed IT arrangement, all IT tasks will be handled by your IT partner, requiring very little collaboration with your internal IT team. In many cases, they may even be given authority to make certain IT-related decisions up to a certain degree. Meanwhile, on a co-managed IT arrangement, your internal IT team and your IT partner will collaborate closely on most tasks. A simplified way to look at it is as if you gained the expertise and bandwidth of several more IT employees without recruiting and hiring more people. It’s a good option for businesses that are experiencing growth but are still unable to expand their IT infrastructure and physical office space.

Distribution of responsibilities

When you partner with a fully managed IT provider, all of your IT-related tasks will be outsourced to them. In contrast, when you partner with a co-managed IT provider, you will need to first define which tasks will be assigned to your IT team and which tasks will be delegated to your IT partner. In our experience, businesses that choose a co-managed IT arrangement choose to retain sensitive, high-urgency tasks and delegate all remaining IT tasks, especially day-to-day management and maintenance, to us.

If your business has limited resources and would like to focus on your core tasks, a managed IT arrangement is likely best for you. But if you have an internal IT team and would simply like to augment your team’s capabilities without relinquishing control over your IT system, then a co-managed IT arrangement is the one for you.

Different businesses have different IT needs, so if this article still does not provide you a clear idea of which IT arrangement is suitable for your unique needs, we’ll be happy to assess your business and discuss with you how either arrangement will affect your operations. Simply contact us to schedule a discovery meeting.


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