Managed Services vs. Outsourcing: What’s the Difference?

IT Support LA

If you think of hardware like Jeff Pesis (i.e. hardware is the part of the computer that can be kicked) or computers in general like Steve Wozniak (i.e. never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window), then we’re willing to bet IT at your company is…colorful. Unfortunately, running a business without functional computers nowadays is a lot like trying to write a list without a pen. So if you can’t tell your IT from your elbow, outsourcing IT support LA services is less of a good idea and more of a lifeline.

Here’s the catch: while outsourced services and managed services are often used interchangeably, they actually represent a different suite of services–and choosing the wrong one can lead to a lot of frustration. Here’s a closer look at outsourcing vs. managed IT and how to find the right fit for your company.

What are Outsourced Services?

Technically, outsourced services cover a wide variety of tasks, including managed IT. And while the image of outsourcing involves a company firing a domestic employee so they can hire a remote overseas contractor to do the same work on the cheap, outsourcing services simply involve hiring an outside contractor to do what an in-house employee could. These could be simple or advanced tasks.

According to Gartner, IT outsourcing is the use of an external service provider to deliver IT business processes and support to enable business solutions. When organizations outsource, they typically choose specific functions and seek a partner to fulfill them.

Outsourced IT can operate anywhere in the world, so it’s not uncommon for them to work remotely, though there are local outsourced IT options as well. It depends on the type of outsourcing you use. Either way, these services typically run on a break-fix IT model (as in: once it breaks, we fix it).

What is Included in Outsourced IT Support Los Angeles

Outsourced IT support (Los Angeles or anywhere else in the world) can include almost anything you can think of. Some common examples of outsourced services include things like:

Either way, outsourced IT follows the same basic model: access to specialized IT skills with minimal supervision on the customer side.

Benefits of Outsourced IT Consulting Los Angeles

One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing IT is gaining access to skilled expertise–often at a reduced cost.

The rule of thumb in business is that it costs 1.25 to 1.4 times their salary to hire someone, so if you pay an IT technician $35,000 per year, you’re looking at a hiring cost of $43,750 to $49,000. That’s a lot for a small business to sink, especially if they don’t already have the IT knowledge necessary to understand what they need from a professional.

Hiring outsourced IT allows a company to access a much wider talent pool with more candidates than might be available in your area. Plus, outsourcing is highly scalable and for a better price–when you need more, you add to your plan, and when you need less, you scale back.

Plus, unlike in-person, in-house IT, outsourced IT support allows you to maintain 24/7 monitoring for stronger security. That way, you can rest easy at the end of each day.

Disadvantages of Outsourced IT Support Los Angeles

That said, there are a few disadvantages to outsourced IT.

The major disadvantage is that you give up a lot of control over your IT services. Unlike in-house IT, where you can completely customize services and expectations, outsourced IT companies only offer specific services in a certain way.

You also relinquish some control of your system to a third-party partner. However, those concerned about network security shouldn’t avoid outsourced IT at all costs–third-party IT providers prioritize communication and transparency, and doing your due diligence will allow you to find a partner that’s well-matched to your cybersecurity practices.

What is Managed IT Services Los Angeles?

Managed IT technically falls under the umbrella of outsourcing, though the focus is slightly different. As the name implies, managed IT services offer a suite of management tools.

Like outsourced services, managed IT services allow businesses to offload IT processes to a third-party partner. Managed IT offers a wide array of IT tools, ranging from IT training for in-house staff to IT monitoring and support. They take over part of your operation and offer specialized skills to help you achieve your business goals, which are defined at the start of the relationship.

The idea is simple: to gain access to specialists who can run an aspect of your business better than you can.

What is Included in Managed IT Support LA

Broadly speaking, managed IT support services are comparable to those seen in standard outsourcing. They take over certain elements from your in-house team, like technical support. They typically assist with things like:

  • Network security
  • Monitoring network activity
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Managing mobile devices

However, what sets managed IT apart is the ability to offer a more comprehensive, end-to-end approach. They also provide expert consulting services to help you improve upon the in-house IT team you already have, which allows you to keep (and improve) your in-house IT in certain functions while enlisting expert services in other areas.

Benefits of Managed IT Consulting Los Angeles

Managed IT consulting (Los Angeles or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) is a partnership, rather than a one-off service. This often means the benefits are harder to quantify.

One of the major benefits of managed IT consulting is that these services usually take a proactive approach, rather than a reactive approach. Rather than responding once something is already broken, managed IT providers can offer advice to keep your system operating at its full potential for longer. For example, they may offer advice on IT upgrades to save money in the long-run, or advice on how to make your in-house IT team more efficient.

Because of this focus on preventative maintenance (i.e. addressing maintenance before there’s a problem to reduce the risk of failure), this can significantly reduce your overall downtime and the cost of downtime when it arises.

Plus, managed IT often specializes based on industry, so you can find a service that understands the needs of your unique business.

Disadvantages of Managed IT Support LA

The disadvantages of managed IT are usually attached to control and finances.

Because managed IT is comprehensive, these models typically operate on a subscription basis, rather than paying to fix problems once they arise. This means managed IT appears to have a higher sticker price than outsourcing, which can drive some businesses away. Plus, it can be harder to scale a comprehensive service rather than a service that allows you to pay for what you need.

In addition, because managed IT providers focus more on consultation, they may not be able to offer the specialized services you could find if you hired an in-house technician or went with traditional outsourcing. That’s why it pays to think critically about the services you need before you hire a managed IT service so that you can find an option that works for your business no and in the future.

Outsourcing vs. Managed IT

With that in mind, let’s talk about the differences between outsourcing and managed IT services.

Again, managed IT is a branch of outsourcing (after all, you’re still paying a third-party partner to do a job that an in-house specialist could perform). Because of this, managed IT and outsourcing have more similarities than differences, though there are a few critical differences that can help you decide which one is the right fit.

What Do They Have in Common?

It’s easiest to think of managed IT as a style of support under the umbrella of outsourcing. Specifically, managed IT as a consulting-style service. However, on a basic level, outsourced IT and managed IT offer the same suite of services.

Both outsourced and managed IT can offer you basic IT services, including technical support, communications support, data management, data recovery, and network security, to name a few. If your computer breaks down, either service could fix it in place of an in-house IT technician.

They both do this through remote services, though some local IT services in your area may also offer an in-person component. They can be fully managed, 24/7 support services or more piecemeal depending on your arrangement with the provider.

What are the Differences?

When it comes to matters of scale, managed and outsourced IT have significant differences.

Outsourced IT is a short-term solution with a narrowly defined strategy and generic services. They operate on a break/fix model and only offer support for services explicitly outlined in the contract, making them ideal for project-based or event-based IT.

Managed IT is a long-term solution with an all-encompassing strategy and services tailored to meet the specific needs of the customer. Unlike outsourcing, which provides one-time support at the time of service, managed IT provides continuous service with real-time accountability, which means the relationship is ongoing and payment operates on a subscription basis.

Finding the Best IT Service Near Me

The best IT service for your business depends on your business needs and what you want from your IT. Outsourced IT and managed IT each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s mostly a question of your priorities.

Broadly speaking, the perfect IT service will grow alongside your business, offering solutions that continue to enable your success as your needs evolve over time. Again, this is strongly shaped by your preferences and needs.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Right Managed Service Provider

If you’re shopping for a managed service provider, you’re looking at a comprehensive, specialized solution. Providers customize their offerings based on your needs and goals, and continuity of service means that there’s a high level of accountability.

Because of this, a good managed provider should be highly customer-focused. The idea is to fit their services to your needs, not the other way around. They should also have a specialized understanding of your industry which allows them to tailor solutions based on your unique needs.

In addition, because managed IT services have continuous access to your system, you should only work with a partner who prioritizes security above all. They are responsible for your sensitive data and have access to your intellectual property, which means you cannot afford lax security measures. They should be up-to-date on all the latest data security regulations and techniques to ensure their access does not compromise your system.

The Right Outsourced Service Provider

If you’re shopping for an outsourced service provider, you’re looking for a solution that saves time and money with minimal input on your end. And because you pay for services as you need them, you’re looking for a scalable solution.

You should not expect outsourced services to tailor their services to you, but you should be able to cherry-pick the services you need to craft a contract that serves you.

If you’re employing outsourced IT on a project basis, such as strengthening network security or building your infrastructure, you should look for a third-party provider with access to the latest technology. The provider should regularly update their technology and offerings so that you know you’re always getting the best available solution for the money.

The IT Services You Need in Los Angeles

Hey, we get it. Finding the right IT support LA team is tricky. But the right experts make a world of difference for your organizational performance. That’s why we’re here to offer a wide array of IT expertise, all delivered with the same unmatched professionalism.

Looking for managed IT services? Our services empower you for success with excellent, dependable IT support that optimizes your business functions while allowing you to make the most of your resources.

Looking for outsourced IT services? We’re the leading outsourced technical support group in Los Angeles, with fewer overheads, high transparency, and round-the-clock service you can always count on.

So if you’re ready to take a smarter approach to your technology, get in touch to learn more about our available services and find the perfect fit for your team.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.