Co-Managed IT Vs Managed IT Services – What is the Difference?

Every day, businesses around the world rely on IT systems for a wide range of tasks. They have become such a fundamental support pillar that any downtime can severely impact how a company operates. With so much at stake, it’s only logical to explore what IT management solutions are available, and more importantly, to determine what one is best for your business.

What is co-managed IT support?

Co-managed IT services are seen as the “best of both worlds.” The approach combines the company’s internal IT team with specialists from a partnered IT firm. Together they work to complete specific projects or run daily tasks and share domain expertise. 

As the name suggests, the responsibility of management falls to both parties. There are many basic and advanced tasks that co-managed IT services can assist businesses with. For instance, 24/7 maintenance and monitoring and IT project management. 

Overall, co-managed IT provides much-needed flexibility to businesses, specifically to their IT teams that are overwhelmed with current responsibilities. Furthermore, it gives the company access to field experts that can help streamline processes, allowing the internal team to become more efficient.

What are managed IT services? 

Businesses that see an internal IT team as an overwhelming expense will opt for a fully managed IT solution. This is done to cover the whole IT infrastructure—from ensuring the network is healthy to performing maintenance when required.

The majority of IT providers that offer managed services will provide a large variety of services. This includes but is not limited to cybersecurity, monitoring, maintenance, consulting, and many more.

With the absence of an internal IT team, the usual expenses of hiring, training, and managing are obsolete. 

Associated costs of both services 

One company reported that a three-employee IT team costs their business around $400k each year. This is a significant amount just for a small team. However, managed IT services and co-managed solutions greatly reduce internal costs.

As you might expect, managed IT services will cost more than co-management solutions. On average, co-managed IT services will be roughly two-thirds the cost of managed IT support. 

To put this into real monetary value, if you receive a quote of $500 per user for fully managed IT support, then the co-managed price would be around $333. 

Keep in mind that co-managed IT support requires the business to have in-house teams. Therefore, the cost of hiring, training, and continuing to manage the team must be paid alongside the costs for the outsourced services too. Managed IT providers take care of everything on your behalf. 

Which one is best for your business?

There is no right choice because every business has different IT requirements and budgets. Therefore, the specific needs of the company will ultimately affect which path is best to take.  

To determine which one will be the most effective for your business, these factors must be taken into consideration:

How involved do you want to be?

Co-managed IT services allow the company to have more control, which is recommended if the business likes a hands-on approach. Although, if the current team has other responsibilities that are better suited for their talents, then managed IT is the ideal choice.

A good starting point is to review current projects. If you’re happy for them to be completed by outside help, then you have your answer. And vice versa if not. 

There’s also the option of trying out co-managed services first, and if you’re satisfied with their performance, you could swap to fully managed IT solutions.

If you’re still unsure and want a professional’s opinion, contact MyTek to learn more.

Current resources and time available

The amount of time and resources a company has will greatly impact the optimal choice. Some IT networks are simple and don’t require a huge amount of oversight, so small internal teams can handle the day-to-day tasks. When this is the case, it’s better to opt for co-managed IT support.

On the contrary, businesses that decide to outsource all of their IT services will benefit from an extensive pool of experienced professionals. This means that even if the network is relatively simple, new ways to make processes more efficient can be identified without delay. In some cases, there are communication issues between the internal and outsourced teams, so a fully outsourced team will remove this issue.

Furthermore, if current IT systems are outdated and require a complete overhaul, such as cybersecurity, software, and more, then a significant amount of resources will be necessary to implement change. When this is the case, it makes more sense to explore managed IT options, especially if your business doesn’t have the resources to make the changes happen. 

How important are cybersecurity and compliance in your industry?

There are two major IT elements: cybersecurity and compliance. However, their importance can change (to some extent) depending on what industry your business is in. 

IT providers typically include seasoned specialists that have many years of experience in cybersecurity and compliance. As a result, they are completely capable of running these elements entirely or offering assistance through co-management. 

If you decide to go down the route of co-managed IT support, clear goals must be set, along with giving the outsourcing company crystal clear responsibilities to prevent any costly problems from arising. 

To reduce the chance of any communication breakdowns, some businesses prefer to use a fully managed IT service. This way, there’s no confusion between the internal and outsourced teams when it comes to understanding who’s in charge of compliance and cybersecurity requirements. 

Pros and cons of co-managed IT services

Here are the advantages of using co-managed IT services:

  • Considerably cheaper than managed IT at the beginning
  • The internal team can still be utilized, avoiding redundancies 
  • Allows for clear escalations points to be set between the internal and outsourced teams

 And here are the cons:

  • Communication breakdown and tension between both teams 
  • Contrasting views on how some processes should be handled 

Pros and cons of managed IT services

The noticeable advantages of using managed IT include:

  • The burden of looking after IT infrastructure is completely left to the outsourcing company. 
  • The costs that come with hiring, training, and managing internal staff are completely gone. 

The disadvantages of using this include:

  • Higher price than co-managed support, at least initially 
  • The company has a lower amount of control
  • There isn’t much of an integrated workforce management strategy

Case Studies in numbers

A recent report identified that there has been an upward trend of companies using co-managed support during the “age of remote working.” So, case studies just like the one we discussed are likely to become more frequent. 

Other surveys confirm this too, with up to 60% of IT channel respondents saying that the adoption of co-managed IT solutions had increased throughout covid-19. 

According to an IBM-IDC study, companies that implemented managed IT, not only recovered the investment within six months but also saw an overall ROI of 224% in a three-year segment. They also ended up saving $146,801 per 100 users each year on IT infrastructure alone. 


The main takeaway should be that there isn’t a “one style fits all” option. The best way to identify which IT support will benefit your company the most is to weigh up the advantages of both. 

Do you want more control? Is the business looking to save money? These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to examine to find out what’s right. 

To talk things over, feel free to contact us today. We offer transparent advice that will hopefully point you in the right direction. 

Table of Contents


Our goal is to reinvent the managed IT experience for growing Arizona businesses through a partnership with no long-term commitments, technology options that are flexible to meet your needs and infrastructure and strategy that position your technology as a competitive advantage.

Download Our Price Sheet