Having IT support for your business is a no-brainer. IT services are essential for a successful business. But there are a lot of decisions that go into choosing which IT service is right for you. One of the most important is whether or not to choose co-managed IT services or managed IT services. To help you make that choice, let’s dig into the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of both co-managed and managed IT services. 

Co-Managed IT Services

The co-managed services model operates as an add-on to your existing IT department. It works by supplementing external providers with your internal staff to create a well-rounded team. In this model, a business has some of its own IT employees as well as access to external providers to help fill roles that the internal staff are unable to perform. In a co-managed model, the external provider supplements unavailable time or skill.

Managed IT Services

A managed services model comprises the whole of a business’ IT department. With this model, the business does not have its own internal IT staff. This model removes all of the pressure on a business to build and train its own IT department. Instead, all IT responsibility is handled by an external IT support provider like Tech Squared.


Both service models provide access to both basic and advanced IT services. These services include but are not limited to: network and security functions, data backups, cloud services, and remote access to computer systems; both managed and co-managed IT service models give a business access to services necessary to function effectively. The difference lies primarily in being either an add-on to your internal team or supplementing the need for an internal team all together.

Pros and Cons

Co-Managed Service Providers

Pros: Co-managed IT services can provide training and mentorship for internal IT staff. If your business has preferred tasks for internal IT, a co-managed service provider can take on the less desirable tasks. This model also provides support for where internal staff may not be as trained or knowledgeable. It can benefit a limited or strict budget when a business has personal staff in play and is in need of an efficiency boost.

Cons: Working with an external IT service provider does create the possibility of conflict between internal and external staff. Whether it’s disagreeing on how to provide certain services or the delegation of specific tasks, there are more moving parts in a co-managed system that neither the business nor the co-managed provider has full control over. Keeping internal IT staffed and trained can be costly, and a co-managed system can incur an expensive startup cost.

Managed Service Providers

Pros: In working with a fully managed IT service provider, all of your business’ IT support is run by the external staff. This takes all responsibility off of your business in handling IT problems, allowing you to be more effective in your field. Managed service providers often offer 24/7 availability to limit a business’ downtime. They are equipped with high levels of expertise and experience, which means there is no need for internal training or mentoring. It also provides a level of familiarity—the same team is there to help your business every time! 

Cons: In a managed IT services model, your business may have less control over IT decisions.. While less responsibility for their IT sounds ideal for one business, another may find the lack of input to be a negative. Outsourcing all IT services to an outside provider may be considered costly, depending on what your business needs from a service provider. This model also comes with the caveat that your business will have no internal expertise to handle IT problems should your relationship with the service provider dissolve. While most managed IT services offer 24/7 support, the lack of internal expertise could be considered a limitation.

Making the Decision

In deciding  whether to go with a co-managed service provider or a managed service provider, a business must be aware of its needs. To get to the root of what your business is looking for, here are some questions and things to consider:

  1. How effective is the current IT team or services? If your business already has the framework for an IT department, there may be some cost or convenience difference between choosing a co-managed model versus converting to a managed services model. However, if the current IT team is ineffective and costly, it may be more beneficial to outsource IT support completely.
  2. How flexible does your IT management need to be? It’s important to know what your business needs in regards to flexibility when it comes to IT services. A co-managed model may have the ideal flexibility for one business, but there may be conflict between internal and external staff. A managed services model’s availability to allow a business to choose the kind of support it needs may be the ideal flexibility for another business. 
  3. How accessible are the potential IT service partners? Not only is there the question of accessibility between having in-house versus outsourced staff, but the physical availability of the businesses around you. Your business may have to make decisions based on your location and availability of a provider.
  4. What kinds of services does your business need help with? This will help not only with what model to choose but also which provider to work with.

Keep your Business Supported

The most important thing in  choosing a co-managed service provider or a managed service provider for your business is making sure your  IT systems are supported. We recommend a trusted managed service provider who can streamline your processes and take your data security to the next level, but your business ultimately has to make the best decision for you and your clients or customers.