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By: LDI Connect on December 19, 2022

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

IT Outsourcing | IT Professional Services | Managed IT

Who can you turn to for help with your IT environment? Two main options are working with a Managed IT provider or outsourcing your IT needs to a third-party vendor.

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 so that you can be confident in your decision to move forward with either depending on your needs.

What Are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services are offered by Managed IT providers, also known as Managed Services Providers (MSPs). 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. 

Depending on your company’s particular needs, 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 usually has the expertise and resources to handle certain aspects of your business better than an organization with little to no IT experience. They can also integrate with your existing team while providing consultative advice and assistance.

What Is IT Outsourcing?

Outsourcing IT

When an organization enlists a third party to perform an IT-related task, it’s considered IT outsourcing. Third-party IT providers offer many forms of IT assistance and can be located anywhere worldwide, often working 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 specific task, such as removing a virus, setting up new infrastructure, installing new security systems, or setting up a new infrastructure.


READ THE CASE STUDY: Managed IT Jumpstarts Fashion Brand IT Department 


Key Differences Between Managed IT and IT Outsourcing

Now that we’ve defined Managed IT services and IT Outsourcing, let’s outline their differences.

Business Model

The Managed IT services business model differs from the outsourcing IT services model in that one entails a partnership approach versus a one-off service. MSPs typically put a lot of effort into building long-lasting consultative relationships with clients while finding new ways to propel their businesses to new heights.

In comparison, IT outsourcing handles one-time tasks such as solving issues as they arise versus implementing big-picture plans for future IT goals. Moreover, they won’t take a holistic approach to optimize your IT infrastructure but rather tend to the specific problem.

Maintenance & Preventative Measures

Another difference between Managed IT services and IT outsourcing is that MSPs offer a proactive approach to maintenance and updates. When you partner with a provider for Managed IT services, the provider will monitor and track your whole IT infrastructure to patch vulnerabilities and security risks before malicious actors take advantage of them. They will also keep IT infrastructure updated, running smoothly, and securely while learning to improve operations and take advantage of new technologies.

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 proactive or preventative maintenance, however. IT outsourcing involves a reactive approach that consists of waiting for an issue to arise before settling into action to resolve the problem.


Costs for 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. 

For some companies, outsourcing small IT tasks is cheaper than hiring experts for long-term IT needs. Hiring a third-party vendor will also involve a highly specialized IT technician to provide the exact help you need.

The Best Solution 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 one-time IT services as needed 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 for long-term maintenance of your IT environment. IT outsourcing may work better for your company if you do not receive long-term IT assistance or require a quick IT fix.

At LDI Connect, 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.

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