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Co-managed vs. Outsourced IT

Co-managed vs. Outsourced IT

When you are putting together an IT plan for your company, the process will start with one important decision. Do you build an in-house IT department using hand-picked employees, or do you outsource those IT services to a third-party company? This is a choice that requires careful consideration, but you don’t always have to choose at all. You can choose to go with a “co-managed” approach, which means that your IT responsibilities will be split between internal employees and third-party workers. Let’s look more closely at the differences between a co-managed structure and outsourcing.


If you know anything about IT, you probably know that downtimes are your worst enemy. When the network goes down, and business is brought to a standstill, you can stand to lose entire days or even weeks worth of income. Depending on the size of your company, this can add up to literal fortunes. That’s why availability is such an important issue.

An in-house IT department will usually be superior in this regard, simply because they are always on-location. With a third-party company, you will probably have to deal with them remotely, and that will probably lessen response time. Thus, when using a co-managed setup, it might be a good idea to use your in-house team as a “quick response unit,” acting as the first line of defense. Then, if they cannot adequately solve the problem, it is turned over to the second line of defense, which is your outsourced IT company.

Initial Investment

When starting an IT setup, you can bet that some expenses will be involved. However, these expenses are not very consistent. There are some big differences between the amount of money you need for these two options. To put it simply, managed IT is much cheaper to set up in the short-term. Thus, companies that are starting with a tight budget will often find this to be a more cost-effective option.

The main reason for this difference is the high cost of the equipment. You will, of course, need desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices to provide all of your employees with access. However, you will also need the tools and extra parts to fix these things when they go down. IT technicians may also require special software to perform certain tasks, and that software also tends to be expensive.


Not every business owner is fluent in technological matters, and not all of them should have to be. After all, there are many skills in the world, and no one can be expected to master them all. That’s where the guidance factor comes into play. One of the services for which you pay your IT department is good advice.

In-house IT technicians do not normally have a strong motivation to educate others. They may be worried about job security, thinking that they might be helping the competition. If you end up with an IT professional who isn’t that good, they may try to use silence and vague answers to cover that lack of expertise.

With a third-party provider, there is no real motivation to withhold information from you. They are employed as a company rather than being employed as individuals, so there is no need for them to compete with each other or your in-house employees. Not only that, but these employees have also probably been vetted more thoroughly than the average in-house IT worker.

When you go with a co-managed approach, you will probably get the best results in terms of guidance. This may not always be the case, but we think it is usually better to get more than one expert opinion. If nothing else, it provides you with more viable options.


Most industries have regulations that must be followed. These rules might come from the government or from private trade organizations. Either way, a lack of compliance can cost you a fortune in fines. So, how do compliance issues differ between our two IT approaches? To be honest, they only differ a little on this one.

Both an in-house team and an outsourced team should be educated on the laws and rules of their business. If not, you might want to consider re-training them or hiring someone new. However, a co-managed approach allows for a certain amount of redundancy. With two different teams on the job, there is a greater chance that compliance issues will be detected early. When you go with a purely managed approach, you are putting all your eggs in one basket.

Cost Of Service

If your company operates on a tight budget, you are certainly going to be thinking about this factor. Some companies may have no choice but to go with the cheaper option, and the cheaper option is usually a third-party managed service provider. The actual amount of money you save will vary, but that path does tend to be the cheapest because you are paying one bill for everything.

When you go with a co-managed setup, you will have to pay two different companies and make two different arrangements. In other words, it’s two deals instead of one, and that makes it more complex and expensive. Of course, you might be able to negotiate a more modest rate if your MSP is willing. This is where you have to shop around and find a business partner that offers fair terms and reasonable costs.


There are many differences between a co-managed IT approach and an outsourced approach. When you choose between the two, you have to think about all the circumstances of your business and put your money where it will do the most good. It is not our purpose to tell you which of these methods is “better,” but merely to make you more familiar with the differences between them. If we have done a good job of that, we ask that you fill out the contact form.