Managed IT Services vs Traditional IT Support: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Jun 19

In this day and age, technology plays an integral role for businesses attempting to reach their goals. While the dependence on technology varies for each company, the situation is simple: each business needs to ensure their IT system is functioning at its best.


If you or your employees are competent with computers, you will have the know-how to complete standard IT-related tasks. This can include everything from managing updates to installing antivirus software.


Yet if you want your IT to be at the top of its game, you will typically have to search for outside help supplied by an expert IT Service Provider. When doing this, there are two common choices: managed services and traditional IT support.

So what’s the difference between the Managed IT Services and Traditional IT Support? Which one is better for your business?

Would you rather an IT Service Provider who is Reactive or Proactive?

The biggest difference between the two is how the support company typically reacts to the need for support.


Traditional IT Support is commonly referred to as “break-fix” support. This is due to the reactive nature of this support channel. This is because, while traditional IT Support gives you access to a team of experts who are ready to solve your IT woes, the customer has to be the one who would contact the IT support company when something goes wrong, or is not working as expected.


To be fair, there are often some proactive elements in place that will alert the IT Support company such as an alert for a failed backup or the fact that a server has gone down. However, these are normally picked up at the time the event happens or if overnight not responded to until the following morning.


The fix though is reactive in that it is not until it has happened that the IT support company will then attempt to resolve or fix the issue.

In contrast, Managed Services operate quite differently. This starts with managed services being proactive rather than reactive. What does this mean exactly? Essentially, a managed service provider is continually and proactively monitoring and making changes to your IT systems to ensure that things do not go wrong in the first place. So instead of waiting for an aspect of your IT system to break – like with traditional IT support – the MS team is continuously doing work in the background.


Round-the-clock monitoring assists with preventing IT issues from causing your business problems. As a result, your business won’t suddenly go offline – it will continue to run 24/7. Along with this, you also get to benefit from the expertise provided by managed services providers. Based on our features, you can enjoy everything from the latest antivirus software to a sophisticated backup and recovery system. Via the help desk, experts are also available at all times to supply support when needed.


This is the huge difference between the two types of IT support – Managed Services have dedicated resources for performance and reliability and do not just for responding to problems as they occur.

Would you rather a pay-per-use model or a recurring monthly fee?

When it comes to traditional IT support, this can be done in-house. Although if you want a professional IT engineer to do the work, hiring them could be especially expensive. This is why outsourcing is recommended for small-to-medium businesses.


Payments for outsourced IT support are usually either done by purchasing a block of operational hours or paying a one-off annual subscription fee. This is usually sold as all-or-nothing. In other words, regardless of whether you are using all aspects of the service, you are still paying for them.


On the other hand, one advantage of managed services is the payment structure. You typically pay a fixed monthly rate, which means there are no hidden expenses.

Is Managed IT Services or Traditional IT Support better for our business?

The answer is really quite straight forward.


How much does your business rely on your IT systems being operational?


Another way of looking at it is to ask how much money would your business lose if your systems were down for 1 day or even 2 or 3 days?


If your company really does require your IT systems to be up and running in order to serve your clients, then a Managed Service Provider may just be a better choice.


This is even more so if you require 24/7 365 support.


Another reason is that you like to control your costs and know you have that peace of mind support whatever happens.

Here is a summary:

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