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Pros and Cons: Co-managed IT vs. Managed IT Services

September 30th, 2022 | 6 min. read

By Marissa Olson


Co-managed IT vs. managed IT: which one best suits your business? Choosing between the two can be challenging, especially if you don't know the perks and downsides of each. Now, you are probably wondering:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of Co-managed and Managed IT Services?
  • How are they different? What's their impact on your business?
  • What should you consider to choose the right IT services?

We dive deep into the pros and cons of co-managed and managed IT to help you choose the right services for your business. 

What Is Co-managed IT?

Many business owners believe they have only two options when it comes to IT: having an in-house IT team on their payroll or outsourcing IT to a managed service provider (MSP). However, co-managed IT is the third option. 

Co-managed IT involves an in-house team managing some IT aspects in your business while a third party covers other IT elements.

For instance, your in-house staff might handle cabling, software installations, and updates while using an IT service provider to examine information security on your IT network to comply with legal obligations. 

In short, co-managed IT combines in-house and outsourced IT services. It's the ideal solution to an overwhelmed in-house IT team. 

What Are Managed IT Services?  

Managed IT services involve outsourcing everything IT-related to a third party, from network security assessment to hardware maintenance and cloud services and management. The managed service provider is your IT department—no in-house IT staff. 

The MSP proactively handles your information technology assets and provides employees with the IT tools necessary to do their jobs. 

Co-managed IT vs. Managed IT: How Are They Different? 

A managed IT service is a fully managed IT solution where you outsource everything IT-related. On the other hand, co-managed IT services only involve what your business needs. 

Co-managed IT usually fills the roles your in-house IT team can't handle, maybe because of inadequate resources, overwhelmed staff, or a lack of necessary skills. 

Co-managed IT vs. Managed IT: Pros and Cons

This section explores the good and the bad sides of co-managed and managed IT to help you choose the right IT services.

Pros of Co-managed IT

Using co-managed IT services benefits your business in various ways: 

Implementation Starts Immediately: With co-managed IT services, you won't invest in training IT employees to perform the tasks you want to be done. As soon as you schedule and pay for the IT service, the MSP starts the job immediately. 

Let's say you want to enhance email security in your business. Instead of training your in-house IT team (which costs money and consumes time) on how to enforce the latest email security measures, a co-managed IT provider can immediately implement strategies after getting hired. 

Co-managed IT is Cheaper than Managed IT: If your business is on a tight budget, co-managed IT services are more affordable than managed IT. After all, you will only pay for services your in-house team can't handle, unlike managed IT, where you pay for complete IT services. 

Keep Your In-House IT Team and Maintain Internal Control of IT Assets: If you want to maintain internal control over your IT assets and at the same time support your in-house staff, co-managed IT is a great fit. You get to keep your internal IT staff and help them when overwhelmed.

Use co-managed IT services to provide additional resources for an over-stretched IT team without losing complete control over your IT assets to a third party. 

Cons of Co-managed IT

As with everything else in life, co-managed IT services have their downsides: 

Potential Conflict Between the MSP Team and Your in-house IT Staff: Tension may exist when the MSP IT team interacts with your IT employees. This could be because of misconceptions that the co-managed IT team will take away their job, which is not the case. 

On the contrary, co-managed IT services complement your internal IT staff. Most businesses hire MSPs to support overworked IT employees or do tasks your internal team can't accomplish, maybe because of limited resources or a lack of necessary skills. 

You'll Need to Train the Internal Staff: You'll need to train your internal IT team whenever you introduce new workflows or tech processes, which can be costly and time-consuming. With fully managed IT solutions, no worrying about training employees because all IT-related tasks are outsourced to a third party.

Pros of Managed IT

Here are the perks of managed IT services:

Eliminates the Pressure of Handling Your IT Infrastructure: Fully managed IT services eliminate the responsibility of managing your own IT tasks. Focus on other core business activities and let your MSP worry about IT processes. With fewer management responsibilities, you get more time to improve your business.

No IT Staff Costs: Managed IT services eliminate the costs of hiring and training in-house IT employees. You will only pay a monthly fee.

Better Risk Evasion: Managed IT services can improve how you evade risks. Threats are constantly evolving. MSPs stay on top of the latest privacy regulations and current security trends. This ensures your IT network and infrastructure are up-to-date and well-maintained.

Leverage IT Resources and Experts: A managed IT provider has more technical resources and more qualified experts than a business would have in-house.

Related Article: Top 5 Benefits of Managed IT Services.

Cons of Managed IT

More Expensive than Co-managed IT: You pay for full IT services in your business, which is more expensive than paying for specific services with co-managed IT. 

Less Control Over the IT Team: The MSP has full control of your IT department, which can be difficult for some people. 

Not All MSPs Are Available Locally: Depending on the MSP you hire, onsite visits to fix hardware issues may or may not be feasible. 

Co-managed IT vs. Managed IT: Which One Is Right for You?

Here's how to determine the right IT services for your business: 

Hire co-managed IT services if: 

  • You already have an in-house IT team who is interested and available to learn more about managing your IT
  • You want to avoid training costs associated with a particular IT task
  • You want to support an overwhelmed in-house IT employees
  • You are looking for additional IT resources and more qualified experts to handle a task and mentor your IT staff

Hire fully managed IT services if: 

  • You want to outsource all IT-related tasks in your business and free more time to focus on other core activities
  • You don't have an in-house team, and your budget allows hiring fully managed IT services

The Final Say: Which IT Support is Best For Your Business?

As you can tell from above, there are many moving parts when deciding the best IT support your business will benefit most. But, you’re already taking the proper steps in exploring your options and weighing out the pros and cons of each option.

At AIS, we’re an office technology company dedicated to providing you with solutions and information on the best ways to ensure your business continues on its path of growth and success. We’re here to help you come up with an individualized plan that supports the needs of your company and employees. Schedule a consultation with an IT expert to identify whether co-managed IT or fully managed IT services are right for your business. We’re here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business. 

Marissa Olson

A true southerner from Atlanta, Georgia, Marissa has always had a strong passion for writing and storytelling. She moved out west in 2018 where she became an expert on all things business technology-related as the Content Producer at AIS. Coupled with her knowledge of SEO best practices, she's been integral in catapulting AIS to the digital forefront of the industry. In her free time, she enjoys sipping wine and hanging out with her rescue-dog, WIllow. Basically, she loves wine and dogs, but not whiny dogs.