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By: Angela Cook on September 3, 2021

Managed IT Services Vs. IT Outsourcing (3 Differences)

IT Outsourcing | IT Professional Services | Managed IT

Your organization’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities and IT disruptions may have to lead you to seek assistance outside of your company. However, now that you’re interested in getting IT support, who can you turn to for help with your IT environment?

Two main options to consider are working with a Managed IT Provider or outsourcing your IT needs to a third-party vendor. You may be thinking, ‘Wait, I thought those were the same thing?” when they are two different routes that can help meet your IT needs.

As a Managed IT Provider, our team at LDI gets this question regularly, and since we’ve seen what both of these options look like, we decided it’s worth spelling out the difference for you in this article, especially since one option is not right for everyone.

Let’s dive into what each is and what the differences between these two options are so that you can be confident in your decision to move forward with an MSP or third-party vendor for IT outsourcing, depending on your needs.


What’s Managed IT Services & IT Outsourcing? 

While both Managed IT Services and IT Outsourcing can help support an organization’s IT environment, they are not the same thing.

Both “managed services” and “outsourcing” often get misused or misinterpreted, so let’s clearly define what each means.

Managed IT Services

Managed IT services are offered by Managed IT Providers, also known as Managed Services Providers (MSPs), and can integrate with your existing team while providing consultative advice and assistance along the way.

One of the primary focuses of an MSP is to help manage your IT environment while offering a consultative approach to handling your IT operations. An MSP will utilize their technical expertise and resources to help you reach your goals. 

MSP’s can focus on a wide range of goals. Depending on your company’s particular needs and goals, they may focus on optimizing your IT infrastructure with cost-effective hardware and software options or overhauling your current security posture.

They can also help you with day-to-day tasks or in implementing particular malware protection software to your computing devices care of daily tasks.

An MSP will usually have the expertise and resources available to handle certain aspects of your business better than an organization with little to no IT experience.

IT Outsourcing

Outsourcing IT services cover a wide array of IT-related tasks, including managed services.

When an organization decides to enlist a third party to perform an IT-related task, they outsource it. IT Outsourcing, also known as third-party IT providers, can be located anywhere in the world and often work remotely.

IT outsourcing typically runs on a break-fix service model, which involves the third-party vendor responding to issues as they come on a case-by-case basis. Suppose one of your office computers breaks down. In that case, a third-party provider will answer the call to help fix it, including some downtime until they respond.

Additionally, IT outsourcing involves helping clients with a particular duty or a collection of jobs. A company might typically hire them to perform a particular task such as removing a virus, setting up new infrastructure, installing new security systems, or setting up a new infrastructure.

Which Are The Differences?

Now that we have defined what Managed IT services and IT Outsourcing is; let’s clearly outline their differences.

1. Business Model

The managed IT services business model varies from that of a third-party vendor that offers IT services.

The managed IT services business model is more of a partnership than a third-party vendor’s one-off service. Managed IT services typically put a lot of effort into building a long-lasting consultative relationship with clients while finding new ways to propel their business to new heights.

Instead of just implementing malware protection software as per their client’s request and finishing the job, they will work with their client to assess how their IT environment operates as a whole.

In comparison, IT outsourcing handles on-time tasks such as solving issues as they arise and not looking at the big picture to plan for future IT goals. Moreover, they won’t take a holistic approach to optimize your IT infrastructure, but rather tend to the particular problem you called about.

2. Maintenance & Preventative Measures

One of the most significant differences between managed IT services and IT outsourcing is that they are proactive.

When you partner with a provider for managed IT services, the provider will monitor and track your whole IT infrastructure to patch any vulnerabilities they find. An MSP will deal with security risks before malicious actors take advantage of them.

You, as the client, will also be able to receive advice on how to keep your IT infrastructure updated, running smoothly, and secure while also learning how to improve operations and take advantage of new technologies that allow you to serve your customers better.

Essentially, managed IT services often become an extension of your business, working as dedicated IT departments for companies that need their services.

IT outsourcing doesn’t typically involve being proactive nor preventative maintenance. IT outsourcing involves a reactive approach that essentially consists in waiting for an issue to arise before settling into action to resolve the problem.

3. Pricing

Managed IT services often run on a subscription-based model. In contrast, IT outsourcing usually runs on a task-by-task basis. Even if payment is hourly, the third-party vendor for IT outsourcing focuses on specific itemized IT tasks. 

Several companies may find that outsourcing small IT tasks is cheaper than hiring experts for long-term IT needs.  

Additionally, hiring a third-party vendor will involve a highly specialized IT technician to provide the exact help you need at the time is a big perk of IT outsourcing.


Which Is Right For Your Business? 

While there may be confusion about managed IT services and IT outsourcing, their differences are in the types of service you get.

IT outsourcing provides the services you need at the time, and managed IT services providers help to ensure your IT infrastructure performs optimally long-term.

Managed IT services may be the right fit for you if you’re looking to receive long-term maintenance of your IT environment. IT outsourcing may work better for your company if you rather not receive long-term IT assistance and rather a quick IT fix.

At LDI, our Managed IT division ensures that your IT needs and goals are met by recommending customized IT solutions after assessing your current infrastructure and understanding your business’s needs to conduct daily operations seamlessly.

If after reading this, you believe that Managed IT might be the better fit for your company, check out this article on five tips to help choose the right managed IT provider.


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