What is the difference between managed services and hardware as a service?

In today’s IT landscape, there are lots of ‘as a service’ solutions (where certain aspects of IT are provided as a service by a third party) that can help organisations work more efficiently and become more agile. These usually come under the bracket of managed services and are outsourced to a managed service provider.

But what about hardware as a service? Is that a managed service, too?

What is Hardware as a Service?

Hardware as a Service lets customers outsource the procurement, installation and support of their IT hardware, at a fixed and predictable monthly cost. Companies that use Hardware as a Service benefit from knowing any issues with their hardware will be diagnosed and fixed by the provider, and that this is included in their monthly fee. It’s a convenient way of getting the best hardware without having to spend much cash upfront. The service model is similar to leasing or licensing whereby a business obtains IT hardware from a company, and the terms are dictated by a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

In the case of hardware breakdown or any hardware becoming obsolete, the hiring company is responsible for repairing or changing it.

Hardware as a Service can be provided by a managed service company or as a stand-alone service provided to businesses who are looking to acquire IT hardware.

Do all managed service companies provide Hardware as a Service as part of managed IT services? 

Managed IT services is the name given to a group of IT services that are provided to an organisation by a third-party: the managed service provider, or ‘MSP’. Solutions which fall under the umbrella of managed services include:

  • Desktop as a service
  • Managed security
  • Managed network
  • Identity and access management
  • Managed hosting
  • Hardware as a service

Some MSP companies provide all of the above services while others focus on specific managed services. Hardware as a service is often left out by a large number of MSPs because of the nature of the service. Having to store, provide and manage IT hardware adds cost and complexity to a business. As many MSPs have clients in various location, they tend to focus on services where the need for hardware is limited.

Similarly, many companies buy their own IT hardware and only require specific managed services which help them work efficiently. Having their hardware makes it easy for them to be able to manage some of their IT needs internally.

Who would benefit from Hardware as a Service? 

The Hardware as a Service model is useful for businesses that want a cost-effective way to provide their employees with the latest hardware in a cost-effective way. The primary benefits are cost and support-related.

Because there are few upfront costs associated with Hardware as a Service, it is an ideal solution for any business that wants to reduce their CapEx in favour of an OpEx model.

Who would benefit from IT managed services?

Companies of every size and kind can benefit from using managed IT services to some degree. For small companies, managed IT services give them access to a high standard of infrastructure and support that they would not otherwise be able to achieve if they tried to provide this in-house. For large companies, using IT managed services can help them support hundreds of staff at multiple locations around the world: a tall order for most in-house IT teams.

Managed Services are a good way for businesses to get a high-quality IT service at a predictable monthly cost, instead of having to manage everything themselves, in-house. This can save a company money on everything from internal recruitment to hardware and even the cost of their premises.

Does anyone provide both?

Usually, MSPs will specialise either in managed services or hardware as a service, although there are some that provide both. The key thing when looking for a Managed Service Provider is to shop around. You can see questions to ask a potential managed service provider, here.

Lucy Wright
Lucy Wright

Lucy is Core's Senior Copywriter and is responsible for creating content within the Marketing team. She began her copywriting career in B2C ecommerce before moving to the IT sector. A journalism graduate, Lucy has written for publications in Spain, China and the UK.

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