Explore Fully Managed vs. Co-Managed IT Services. Discover responsibility, management, and cost differences for your ideal IT solution.

Demystifying IT Support: A Comprehensive Guide to Fully Managed vs. Co-Managed IT Services

In today’s rapidly advancing digital age, Information Technology (IT) is a foundation for successful businesses. It serves as the primary catalyst for enhancing adaptability and innovation within companies. The arrival of transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT), have presented companies with unparalleled opportunities to streamline operations and enhanced decision-making capabilities. Yet, within this landscape of opportunities, there are numerous challenges that require a profound understanding of Information Technology. The symbiotic relationship between IT and business transcends passing trends; instead, it is an absolute necessity for lasting success. As companies increasingly rely on technology to drive efficiency and innovation, the importance of selecting the right type of managed service provider for their company cannot be overstated. In this blog, we will explore the differences between fully managed and co-managed IT services to understand why these diverse types of partnerships are essential to the success of your business.

Fully Managed IT vs. Co-Managed IT Services

A fully managed IT services model encompasses a proactive and comprehensive approach to overseeing various IT services and solutions for businesses. The primary objective of a managed service provider (MSP) is to provide a proactive role in the management of various aspects of a client’s IT infrastructure, operations, security, and technological requirements. When businesses are under full management, they gain access to the most comprehensive support offered by the managed service provider. For example, if your company experiences a loss of access to critical files and information, an MSP can help by deploying automated data backup solutions and disaster recovery strategies, thereby safeguarding data integrity, and ensuring business continuity during unforeseen emergencies.

Co-Managed IT Services are a model that merges a company’s internal IT team with access to support, tools, and extensive expertise provided by a managed service provider. With Co-Managed IT, businesses have the flexibility to decide which tasks they want to handle internally and which ones to entrust to external partners. By creating a partnership between a Managed Services Provider and your company, you allow the internal support team to focus on high-impact areas while outsourcing repeatable support tasks or augmenting knowledge gaps. For example, in the event applications on an employee’s computer start to crash, they can contact your MSP to receive Service Desk assistance in resolving this problem instead of reaching out to your internal IT team.

Choosing the Ideal IT Service Model for Your Needs:

Fully Managed IT and Co-managed IT are two distinct approaches to handling a company’s information technology needs. They are distinct in terms of responsibility and management, and cost. Below, you will find an analysis of the primary differences between these two approaches:

  1. Responsibility:
    1. In a fully managed IT approach, a managed service provider takes full responsibility for the company’s IT infrastructure and operations. The MSP owns and manages all IT infrastructure including hardware, software, and network infrastructure. Additionally, they are responsible for all monitoring, maintenance, security, and troubleshooting. In this fully managed IT approach, the company can navigate the IT landscape with confidence, knowing that a skilled and specialized partner is guiding them in the right direction. Furthermore, this approach has a particular appeal for companies seeking to enhance their IT capabilities without the complexities of ownership and day-to-day management. A partnership with an MSP provides the advantages of expertise, efficiency, and scalability, ensuring that the organization’s IT infrastructure remains robust, secure, and agile.
    2. Within the framework of a co-managed IT approach, the company’s in-house IT team maintains a significant amount of influence and accountability over their IT infrastructure. This entails preserving ownership of key hardware assets and crucial aspects of IT operations, thus ensuring that strategic control remains firmly within the company’s grasp. Furthermore, it fosters a collaborative partnership between the company and the managed service provider in the interest of the company’s IT assets. By embracing this co-managed approach, companies can achieve a harmonious balance, resulting in the benefits of both their internal IT knowledge and the specialized skills offered by the MSP. Moreover, this approach empowers the company to play an active role in decision-making regarding technology investments, strategic IT planning, and overall IT governance, while leveraging the MSP’s ability to ensure the efficient functioning and security of their IT assets
  1. Management:
    1. Fully Managed IT services offers a streamlined approach to technology management, but it comes with a trade-off: a reduced amount of control for the company. When a company chooses to entrust its IT infrastructure to a managed service provider, it obligates the experts to take responsibility. This means that day-to-day IT decisions and operations fall under the purview of the MSP, aligning with agreed-upon service-level agreements (SLAs). While this approach fosters efficiency and expertise in IT management, companies must be aware of the level of control they are granting to external partners. By choosing Fully Managed IT services, businesses can leverage the expertise and resources of MSPs to optimize their technology operations. This decision should be taken strategically, considering factors such as the company’s specific needs, long-term objectives, and risk tolerance. While Fully Managed IT might reduce control, it can lead to increased productivity, cost savings, and enhanced security when executed correctly.
    2. Co-managed IT empowers the company with a greater amount of control. It plays out as a partnership, with the company participating actively in decision-making processes pertaining to technology investments, strategic IT planning, and overarching IT policies. The MSP serves as a trusted advisor, providing their expertise to inform these decisions, but the company has the authority to make the final decision. This input is invaluable in ensuring that technology decisions align with best practices, industry trends, and security standards. This approach enables businesses to tailor their IT strategies to their unique needs and objectives, all while benefiting from the MSP’s knowledge and support. Co-managed IT ensures that technology solutions align closely with the organization’s vision and goals, offering a robust, customized, and collaborative IT management strategy that drives success.
  1. Cost:  
    1. Fully Managed IT services have become increasingly popular among businesses due to their association with predictable costs, typically structured as monthly subscriptions or service fees. This predictability is a key selling point, especially for companies looking to optimize their budgeting processes and avoid unexpected IT expenses. With Fully Managed IT, companies can accurately forecast their technology-related expenditures, allowing for better financial planning and resource allocation. This budgetary transparency is particularly crucial in today’s dynamic business landscape, where unexpected IT disruptions can lead to significant financial setbacks. This proactive approach not only minimizes the risk of budgetary constraints but also empowers companies to focus on their core operations with the confidence that their IT infrastructure is in capable hands.
    2. Co-managed IT services present a compelling option for businesses seeking to optimize their IT operations. It is essential to recognize that the cost implications of co-managed IT can vary significantly, depending on the level of service utilization and support needed. For companies with well-established IT infrastructure and in-house capabilities, co-managed IT can lead to substantial cost savings. By partnering with an MSP for supplemental support, they can efficiently allocate resources, avoiding the need for substantial investments in additional staff or infrastructure. These cost savings are especially beneficial for businesses aiming to maintain a competitive edge while keeping their IT budgets in check. As companies tailor their co-managed IT arrangements to meet their unique needs, they can achieve a balance between cost-efficiency and service excellence.

The choice between Fully Managed IT and Co-managed IT hinges on a company’s specific requirements, budgetary considerations, existing IT infrastructure, and the level of control and personalization desired. Each model provides a distinct approach, encompassing a variety of organizational IT needs and preferences.

Optimizing Your Business with PSM Partners Comprehensive Managed Services

PSM Partners delivers managed IT solutions aimed at assisting companies in overseeing their IT infrastructure. Our expert team ensures the ongoing security and regular updates of your IT systems, providing constant vigilance to maintain seamless operations. Through our comprehensive IT management services, we effectively serve as your dedicated IT department, allowing your company to focus on core business objectives. Furthermore, partnering with PSM offers you the opportunity to outsource specific IT support functions, granting us the authority to manage those aspects of your IT setup. We offer round-the-clock, 24/7/365 remote monitoring of your systems, enabling us to proactively identify and address issues or potential outages before they have an impact on your operations. This proactive approach ensures the safeguarding and continuous availability of your system, with detailed maintenance reports provided to keep you informed about its status. To learn more, call PSM at (312) 940-7830.

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About the Author

Taylor Friend
Taylor Friend

I am a dynamic and results-focused Marketing Coordinator at PSM Partners, recognized for my unwavering motivation, meticulous attention to detail, and unwavering commitment to achieving business objectives. Throughout my time at PSM, I have demonstrated remarkable expertise as the primary liaison for Microsoft and NetDocuments, rapidly establishing myself as a proficient point of contact. Additionally, by harnessing my inherent organizational skills, I have effectively elevated the quality of both our internal and external events.

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