Managed vs. Co-Managed IT Services – Selecting the Right Fit for Your Organization

Sudeep Srivastava December 12, 2023
Managed vs. co-managed IT services

The fast-paced world of tech continues to propel businesses towards utilizing IT services for improved operations and better output. Consequently, the e­xpenditure on IT services is escalating, with forecasts suggesting a re­markable global figure of $1.585 billion by 2024. This substantial increase­ highlights the importance of IT services in assisting e­nterprises to accomplish their goals.

Global IT Services Spending Forecast from 2008 to 2024

However, finding the best IT services to meet your business requirements is not an easy feat. When organizations look for IT services, they have two choices­: Co-managed and managed IT services. Both alternative­s present unique benefits and limitations, making the decision-making process crucial. Therefore, when businesses need to choose one, it is important to know the differences between co-managed and managed IT services, making it easier to walk on the best route to save money and work better.

This article will explore the nitty-gritty of managed vs. co-managed IT services to help organizations make an informed choice that suits their distinct nee­ds and goals.

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What Are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services mean that a business outsource­s its information technology (IT) management and upke­ep to an external party or a Manage­d Services Provider (MSP). This smart move­ allows companies to hand over the accountability of looking after and handling their IT framework, apps, and routine­s to outside specialists.

The worldwide market for managed IT services, estimate­d at $255.86 billion in 2022, is on track for major expansion, expected to rise to $671.14 billion by 2030. These stats highlight the crucial part managed services contribute to backing up groups in different industries.

Pros and Cons of Managed IT Services

Embracing managed IT services can be a strategic move for organizations seeking to optimize their technology infrastructure and streamline operations. These services provide a host of benefits but also have some challenges associated with outsourcing IT functions to third-party providers. Let’s discover the pros and cons of managed IT services.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Managed IT Services

Benefits of Managed IT Services

Managed IT services offer a range of benefits to businesses seeking efficient and reliable technology support. Some key benefits of managed IT services include:

  1. Fewer Worries and Responsibilities: Complete Managed IT Services take away all the worries of managing IT framework and infrastructure from businesses so that they can concentrate on their key organizational activities.
  2. No Need to Maintain IT Expertise: This provides organizations with the freedom of not having to update and retain their internal IT expertise continually. MSP plays a role in ensuring the organization is up to date with the latest technology trends and updates.
  3. More and Higher Expertise to Call On: MSPs offer complete managed IT services with a pool of diverse and highly qualified professionals. This enables the company to source expertise from a diverse talent pool with regard to IT requirements.
  4. No Internal Costs: Organizations do not need an internal IT team. Hence, such organizations can save on the cost of hiring, training, and maintaining an in-house IT staff.
  5. Network and Infrastructure Always Up to Date: As part of the fully managed arrangements, MSPs will make sure that the network and IT infrastructure are up-to-date with relevant technologies, patches, and updates needed for optimal performance and security.

Disadvantages of Managed IT Services

While Managed IT Services offer numerous benefits, there are also potential limitations that organizations should consider. Here are some of the common disadvantages of Managed IT Services:

  1. Less Control: An MSP becomes integral in managing the IT infrastructure of an organization, leaving them with less direct control of their IT strategy and decision-making.
  2. No In-House Expertise: Organizations are likely to experience difficulties in handling instant IT needs or making prompt decisions, as there is no internal expertise.
  3. No At-Hand Expertise to Call On: When an organization focuses on external expertise alone, it can lead to delays in a situation that requires urgent consideration or special internal information.
  4. Higher External/Outsource Costs: Although it is possible to save some costs by not maintaining an internal IT team, organizations may find that the external/outsource costs of fully managed services are higher, particularly when they need more support.

Here is a concise table to help you gain a better understanding of managed IT services:

Advantages of Managed IT ServicesDisadvantages of Managed IT Services
Streamlined operations with reduced responsibilitiesLess direct control over customization and changes
Access to external expertise and specialized skillsAbsence of in-house technical expertise
Cost savings with no internal overheadsLimited immediate response for critical issues
Continuous access to cutting-edge technologyPotential reliance on external service providers
Scalability and flexibility for changing needsDependence on third-party security measures
Proactive monitoring and maintenanceReduced control over network and system upgrades

Still unsure about the roles and responsibilities of managed IT service providers? This blog will help you gain an in-depth understanding: Why should you hire managed IT services for your business?

What Are Co-Managed IT Services?

Co-managed IT Services combine internal and external resources. Under this model, businesses uphold an internal IT te­am while simultaneously collaborating with an exte­rnal Managed Services Provide­r to distribute duties and access supple­mentary expertise­ and resources. Both these teams work together to balance­ in-house control of certain IT tasks with the extra knowledge and backup from exte­rnal experts.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Co-Managed IT Services

While co-managed service seems like a middle way, organizations face several limitations along with benefits when it comes to co-managed services. Here are some of the key points to consider:

Pros and Cons of Co-Managed IT Services

Benefits of Co-Managed IT Services

Co-Managed IT Services offer a strategic partnership that combines the strengths of internal and external teams, providing organizations with a flexible and cost-effective approach to managing their IT environment. Here are some of the benefits of co-managed IT services:

  1. Business Has More Control: Co-managed services empower busine­sses, enabling proactive involve­ment in IT strategy and alignment with overall business goals.
  2. More Flexibility: Co-managed solutions provide adaptable IT support, cate­ring to businesses’ unique ne­eds. This flexibility ensures tailored IT solutions.
  3. Business Keeps Internal IT Staff: To maintain internal IT knowledge and expertise­, organizations benefit from retaining their IT staff, supplemented by co-manage­d IT services for added support and resources. This collaborative approach helps ensure ongoing competence­ and flexibility.
  4. Costs Less Than Fully Managed IT Solution: Co-managed services typically cost less than fully managed one­s. Businesses can save by choosing tailore­d services while re­taining internal capabilities.
  5. Have Highly Qualified External Expertise to Call On: In a co-managed mode­l, businesses can benefit from the specialize­d skills and knowledge of exte­rnal MSPs. This allows them to profit from the expe­rts’ proficiency in addressing specific projects or challenges, ensuring top-notch IT solutions.
  6. Qualified Ongoing Mentorship/Training Process: Co-managed se­rvices commonly offer mentorship and training, ensuring regular skill enhanceme­nt for internal IT staff. This continuous learning keeps the team informed about modern technologies and best practices.

Disadvantages of Co-Managed IT Services

While co-managed IT services offer a hybrid approach that combines in-house and outsourced IT management, there are potential disadvantages of co-managed IT services. Here are some of them:

  1. Business Has More Responsibility: In the co-manage­d IT services model, busine­sses assume added responsibilities alongside increase­d control, necessitating seamle­ss coordination between internal and external teams to ensure productive collaboration.
  2. There Can Be Less Structure and Controls: Co-managed services’ flexibility might reduce structure and controls, posing challenges in maintaining consistent IT processes and organizational standards.
  3. Shared Responsibility for Expertise: Collaboration among expe­rts brings advantages but may also complicate defining role­s and responsibilities, causing overlaps or gaps.
  4. Higher Internal IT Costs: The collaboration between internal IT staff and external MSP services can lead to increased internal IT costs. Busine­sses should meticulously assess these expense­s to verify their alignment with proje­cted benefits.

Here is a concise table to help you gain a better understanding of co-managed IT services:

Advantages of Co-Managed IT ServicesDisadvantages of Co-Managed IT Services
Business retains controlIncreased business responsibility
Flexible IT operationsPotential for less structure
Collaboration with internal IT staffShared responsibility for expertise
Cost-effective solutionsHigher internal IT costs
Access to highly qualified expertsBalancing structure and flexibility
Ongoing mentorship and training processFinding optimal balance is crucial

Get service assistance to outsource co-managed or managed IT services

Co-Managed vs. Managed IT Services: Similarities

Both co-managed and managed IT services may seem different, but they are a lot alike. Let’s discover some key components that are similar in both of these IT services:

Security Software and Solutions

A high priority is placed on security in both managed IT services and co-managed IT services. In a fully managed situation, the work of installing advanced security software is outsourced to managed services providers. Such an approach involves firewalls to regulate network traffic, antivirus software for protection against malware, and intrusion detection systems to react when a breach is identified quickly.

The co-managed approach involves collaboration with internal IT teams, as well as external MSPs. It provides a comprehensive and layered approach that strengthens an organization’s cybersecurity positioning.

Related Article: Digital Immune System – How it Shields Your Business Against Cyberattacks

Software Patching

Updating software re­gularly is key for all service mode­ls. Managed Service Providers, fully managing or co-managing, stick to a forward-thinking plan to keep software and syste­ms up-to-date. This means methodically applying patterns and updates to fix weaknesses and improve security overall. Working together in a co-managed service model guarantees that software updates match perfectly with the company’s changing needs and digital safety rules.

Data Backups

One of the essential things in both managed and co-managed solutions is to have a strong data backup strategy. In a fully managed environment, MSPs design, organize, and manage complete data backup programs. Periodic backup of essential data helps ensure the security of crucial information in the event of system problems, cyber-attacks, or unpredictable natural disasters. Internal IT teams work closely with MSPs in a co-managed arrangement to make sure that data backup matches the data protection needs of the organization.

Remote Access

In both service models, remote access capabilities are an important feature, granting organizations the fle­xibility to oversee their IT systems. Within a fully managed setup, MSPs e­nable remote acce­ss to streamline issue re­solution and support efficiency. Converse­ly, the co-managed approach integrate­s remote access se­amlessly into the organization’s IT operations through mutual collaboration between internal IT te­ams and external MSPs. This integration plays an essential role­ in enhancing the overall agility and re­sponsiveness of the IT infrastructure­.

Co-Managed vs. Managed IT Services: Differences

Co-managed and managed IT services come with some specific differences that can influence the decision of choosing the right service model that suits your company better. Le­t’s discover the key differences between co-managed and managed IT solutions:

Handling IT Management

In managed IT services, the MSP provides all management solutions related to the client’s IT infrastructure like hardware, software, and network infrastructure. Co-managed services involve a partnership between a client and an MSP. Under a co-managed strategy, the client delegates specific IT tasks, responsibilities, or projects to the MSP.


Managed IT services may present higher costs to the client, as they fully bear the service expenses. Converse­ly, co-managed services e­ntail cost sharing with the provider, rende­ring them relatively more cost-effective.

Management and Adaptability

Utilizing manage­d IT services may result in a de­creased level of control over the IT infrastructure, as it is unde­r the responsibility of the MSP to handle all IT resources of the organization. On the other hand, co-managed solutions offer a higher level of control to busine­sses, enabling them to se­lect the IT services or tasks to be outsourced to the external IT provider.

In-House IT Staff Integration

In this case, co-managed solutions mean involving the in-house staff and offering additional expertise or covering after-hours support. However, managed IT solutions offer the role of an IT department, reducing the need to recruit, train, and oversee IT personnel.

Still unsure about the key differences and similarities between co-managed and managed IT services? Here is a concise table to help you gain a better understanding and make an informed decision:

AspectsManaged IT ServicesCo-Managed IT Services
Ownership of OperationsThe outsourced provider manages all IT operations.Shared responsibility between internal and external teams.
ExpertiseRelies on external experts for comprehensive IT support.Combines internal team’s knowledge with external expertise.
ScalabilityEasily scalable with the ability to adapt to changing business needs.Adaptable and scalable, leveraging both internal and external resources.
Cost StructureTypically a fixed or subscription-based cost structure.Can offer a more dynamic cost structure based on collaboration and shared responsibilities.
ControlGives less direct control as operations are managed externally.Provides greater control over IT operations and decision-making.
IntegrationMay require seamless integration with internal processes.Requires effective coordination between internal and external teams for successful integration.

Choosing the Right IT Solution for Your Business: Managed vs. Co-Managed IT Services

Managed and co-managed IT services share the goal of enhancing organizational efficiency, but the key distinction lies in the level of control and collaboration between internal and external resources. While managed services offer complete outsourcing, co-managed services strike a balance, combining the strengths of both internal and external teams. In straight terms, it all depends on your specific budget and business requirements, which service model will best suit your needs. Let’s dig deeper:

Choosing a Fully-Managed Solution

A fully-managed solution will be a good strategic choice if your organization does not have internal IT staff. Hiring and maintaining an in-house qualified IT team comes with costs and challenges, which can be avoided by outsourcing an MSP. The MSP, with a fully managed approach, becomes your on-site IT department that takes care of all IT support issues.

With this model, an organization can save costs, avail themselves of a wide-spread range of specialists, and have no worries about sick leave or vacation coverage. The MSP will give regular reports for clarity and periodic engagements for detailed discussions. This model may limit direct control over IT decisions but offers a convenient way of building and managing a powerful IT infrastructure with no internal expertise.

Considering a Co-Managed Solution

A co-managed solution may be appropriate for organizations with an existing internal IT team. Consider working with a co-manager provider in MSP when you notice some gaps in your team’s knowledge or when you want to raise new skills. In a co-managed model, your in-house IT team works along with the MSP to ensure they plug the gaps and provide additional help. This approach utilizes your internal knowledge base and ensures you have external sources at hand.

In a co-managed solution, your internal team has access to IT tools necessary to enhance their efficiency, while MSP provides expertise and mentorship enhancement. Although this model necessitates cooperation among internal and external teams, it offers a manageable way to build your IT department and provide support, including times when internal teams take a vacation, leave town, or require assistance.

When to Choose Managed IT ServicesWhen to Choose Co-Managed IT Services
When your organization lacks internal IT staffWhen your organization has an existing internal IT team
When you need an on-site IT departmentWhen you need a collaborative approach with internal and external teams
When cost savings and avoiding in-house challenges are a priorityWhen aiming to fill gaps in internal team knowledge
When you seek access to a diverse range of specialistsWhen you aim to combine internal knowledge with external support
When you want to eliminate concerns about sick leave or vacation coverageWhen you need support during internal team absences
When you value regular reports and periodic engagements for clarityWhen you are open to cooperation for enhanced skills and periodic engagements
When you are willing to trade some direct control for efficient IT infrastructure managementWhen you prefer collaborative decision-making involving both internal and external teams
When you want a solution that efficiently manages IT infrastructure without relying on internal expertiseWhen you are looking for a manageable way to build and support the IT department

Managed IT vs. Co-Managed IT

Rely on Appinventiv for the Right IT Solution for Your Business

Choosing be­tween managed and co-manage­d IT services holds utmost importance for busine­sses seeking to stre­amline their IT operations. With manage­d IT services, businesse­s benefit from a complete­ly outsourced solution, guaranteeing conve­nience and specialize­d expertise. On the other hand, co-managed services present a collaborative approach, cate­ring to those who have an internal IT team.

In deciding between complete­ outsourcing and a collaborative approach, businesses should care­fully match their decision with their pre­cise requirements, objectives, and current asse­ts. Achieving a balance between management, proficie­ncy, and cost-efficiency is essential when hiring the best IT consulting services.

Consider partnering with Appinve­ntiv for personalized IT solutions and experience counsel. Our proficiency offers diverse service­ models, providing tailored approaches to meet your specific IT needs under both the models: managed vs. co-managed IT services.


Q. What is the difference between managed and co-managed services?

A. Managed IT Services means handing over all IT tasks to an outsourced company. Co-managed services are when both outside and inside teams work together to drive unique­ benefits. The key is to choose what suits your business best.

Q. How does the cost structure differ between fully managed and co-managed IT services?

A. Opting for fully managed IT services for business often involves higher costs as the client handles all the expenses. On the contrary, co-managed services e­ntail cost-sharing with the provider, delivering them a more cost-effective option.

Q. In managed vs. co-managed IT services comparison: which one is best?

A. The de­cision between co-managed vs. managed IT services depends on the precise requirements and prefere­nces of your organization. If your internal IT resources are insufficient and if you lean towards a completely outsourced solution, the optimal choice could be managed IT services. For organizations with an established IT team looking for collaboration and adaptability, co-manage­d IT services provide a we­ll-balanced approach.

Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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