What are the differences between in-house and managed IT services?

When it comes to managing IT, most businesses usually choose one of three strategies…

Some companies choose to keep their IT completely in-house. This is often the approach of large companies who have the budget and resource to manage everything in-house, and who can attract the talent needed to maintain the kind of IT infrastructure a national or even global company needs.

Other organisations choose to outsource their IT to a third-party provider. As we have previously discussed, this has many benefits, especially for smaller businesses who want high-quality IT infrastructure and support, but don’t have the budget to provide this internally.

Lots of other companies take a hybrid approach to IT and use a combination of managed IT services and an in-house team. This strategy is becoming more popular, as businesses enjoy the best of both worlds by using internal and external teams.

Because every company needs different things from their IT, it can be hard to know which approach is best for your business and the options available.

In our last blog, we looked at presenting a business case for using managed services. But let’s back up a little. If you’re still in the deliberation stage and are weighing up the pros and cons of self-managed versus externally-managed IT services, you need to first understand the differences between the two. Rather than repeat the pros and cons of each one, this blog looks at the differences between self and managed IT services and the factors that might influence your decision to outsource or not.

Self vs managed IT services – key differences


Pros and cons

As with most things, there are pros and cons to each of the above.

Keeping your IT in-house (self-managing) gives you complete control over it, which some companies prefer. You can maintain your data on-site, and you don’t have to share information with any third parties, which some organisations are uncomfortable with. An in-house IT team also has a vested interest in your company doing well. They know the nuances of your business better than any third-party and know that they benefit if the company does well, so there is added incentive for them to provide a good service.

Equally, by managing your IT yourself, you can raise any issues with your team face to face, and get an immediate response to any questions, which some businesses also prefer.

The flip side of this, is that there are a lot of costs associated with keeping IT exclusively in-house, not least, recruitment, hardware, software, licences, updates, energy bills and rent. Depending on which part of your IT you outsource, some or all of these costs can be reduced or eradicated entirely.

Outsourcing IT brings its own advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits to business include more space as your servers and other equipment can be offloaded to the service provider, less acquisition costs and the ability to scale in line with business growth.

The standard of infrastructure and support provided by MSPs is often of a better quality than businesses can achieve themselves. They usually have large teams made up of experts in various aspects of tech and IT, and the software they use is the most current. Plus, any updates that come out are performed by the provider and included in your monthly cost.

Drawbacks of outsourcing for some businesses include a perceived loss of control over their IT infrastructure, the varying performance and availability of MSPs and the longevity of the provider. Having an SLA in place with your IT service provider can help avoid the latter two problems.

Which approach is best for you?

How you choose to manage your IT will always come down to what you believe is the best approach for your business to work most efficiently and within budget. There may also be an element of cultural fit and personal preference when it comes to some aspect of handling your IT.

Maybe you’ve decided that keeping IT in-house is the way forward for your organisation. But if not, you can learn more about the ways in which outsourcing IT to a managed IT service can help your business, in our other blogs.

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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