18 April 2024

Difference between IT Services and Managed Services (Image by Zagtech)


  • Managed services transform operational efficiency from reactive to proactive.
  • MSPs provide tailored cybersecurity solutions and ensure compliance with evolving regulations.
  • Your business benefits from predictable IT costs and access to a wide range of expertise.

What is the difference between IT service and managed service?? Because, as we know, both services are pivotal in steering modern businesses toward efficiency and innovation.

First of all, the core distinction lies in their operational approach and scope.

IT services, also known as traditional IT support, typically operate on a “break-fix” model. This means they react to issues as they arise, providing solutions to specific problems as needed.

IT services typically encompass a broad spectrum of technology solutions, including consultancy, implementation, and support, tailored to specific projects or short-term needs​​​​.

Such services can be offered in-house or outsourced and may not require 24/7 availability. 

Managed services imply a long-term partnership where a third-party provider takes on complete responsibility for a segment of IT operations.

This MSP environment is defined as 24/7 IT support,  proactive management, routine maintenance, network monitoring, cyber security, data backup, and more – all under a predictable pricing model. 

In the end, your company will focus more on the core competencies while leveraging the latest technologies and expertise​​​​.

Imagine a scenario where your business can seamlessly adapt to new technologies, mitigate risks promptly, and focus on strategic growth without the constant worry of IT infrastructure management.

That’s the promise of engaging with MSPs. Their significance lies in managing day-to-day IT operations and empowering businesses to innovate and thrive in the digital era.

Now, let’s discover how MSPs can transform your business landscape and ensure you’re always ahead.

Definition of Managed Services

Managed Services define the delegation of IT operations and functions to a third-party service provider known as a Managed Service Provider (MSP).

This model starkly contrasts with traditional IT support, which is often reactive, addressing issues as they arise, and is typically project-based or limited to specific IT tasks.

Managed services with an MSP company, continuously taking responsibility for your business’s IT systems.

This comprehensive stewardship can include 24/7 monitoring, cybersecurity, cloud services, and more under a contractual agreement that outlines services, performance metrics, and payment terms​​​​.

MSPs offer a solution for companies without investing heavily in their IT departments. 

A significant driver for the MSP market is the rise in cybersecurity threats, especially ransomware attacks targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

We all know that SMBs, often without a dedicated security team, are increasingly vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the cybersecurity landscape is continuously evolving, with regulations at both state and federal levels introducing new compliance challenges.

It is this reality for SMBs where the services offered by MSPs are essential. Yes, in current years, MSPs help businesses navigate these complexities.

MSPs that provide specialized cybersecurity services to meet the latest regulatory requirements and threat landscapes.

Another challenge for businesses is the shift toward cloud computing and the need for specialized cloud services.

And yes, MSPs provide essential support, ensuring these cloud environments are optimized, secure, and fully integrated with other IT systems. 

As businesses continue to evolve and the digital landscape becomes increasingly challenging, the role of MSPs has never been more critical. 

Common Types of Managed Services

Managed services in MSPs cover many IT functions crucial for businesses in today’s digital landscape. Here’s a deeper look into common types of managed services.

IT Infrastructure Management

IT infrastructure management is foundational to maintaining operational efficiency and minimizing downtime.

It involves overseeing hardware, software, and networking components to ensure they work seamlessly together.

This service encompasses systems, network, and storage management, optimizing asset lifecycle, capacity planning, energy consumption, and ensuring high availability and security.

Providers aim to reduce complexities by employing modern IT operations that integrate infrastructure, data, and applications, supporting the agility and flexibility businesses need​​​​​​.

Cybersecurity Services

Cybersecurity Services have become non-negotiable for protecting sensitive data from increasing cyber threats.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, including threat detection, audits, and response mechanisms.

These services are designed to fortify businesses’ digital defenses. They are tailored to meet specific needs rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach.

The goal is to shield the most vulnerable assets from cyberattacks effectively​​.

Cloud Services

Cloud Services management oversees cloud-based applications to ensure security compliance and efficient resource utilization.

The service includes real-time monitoring and managing data, servers, and network operations across various cloud environments.

MSPs assist businesses in navigating the complexities of cloud infrastructure, offering strategies for improved efficiency, scalability, and cost savings.

These services are pivotal for businesses transitioning to or optimizing their cloud infrastructure​​​​.

Data Backup and Recovery

Data Backup and Recovery services are essential for safeguarding against data loss and ensuring business continuity during a disaster.

Regular backups and comprehensive recovery plans are implemented to protect vital data.

MSPs conduct backup testing to guarantee system readiness for quick recovery, minimizing the impact of potential data breaches or hardware failures​​.

What is Difference Between IT Services and Managed Services (Image by Spiceworks)

Help Desk and Technical Support

Help Desk and Technical Support services provide businesses with 24/7 access to IT assistance for resolving technical issues.

This includes everything from troubleshooting software problems to hardware malfunctions.

The aim is to resolve issues swiftly, ensuring minimal disruption to daily operations.

Remote support capabilities allow MSPs to offer timely assistance, maintaining high levels of productivity and user satisfaction​​.

Industry-Specific Managed Services

Industry-specific managed services have evolved to address unique challenges and regulatory requirements across various sectors such as healthcare, finance, legal, and government.

These specialized solutions help organizations comply with industry regulations and effectively use technology to improve operations.

Complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is critical in the healthcare industry.

Managed services in this sector focus on protecting patient information through cybersecurity measures tailored to healthcare organizations’ needs​​​​.

Similarly, for legal firms, maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive client information is paramount.

Compliance services help firms navigate the complex landscape of data privacy and cybersecurity.

The compliance helps firms meet American Bar Association standards and state-specific regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

On the other side, the finance sector is regulated by standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).

The regulations mandate stringent data security measures to prevent financial fraud and protect investors​​​​.

For government and law enforcement agencies, compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is necessary to protect sensitive information.

Managed IT services tailored for these industries offer a comprehensive suite of solutions to meet specific regulatory and operational requirements.

For instance, Omega Systems provides Compliance-as-a-Service to streamline and manage the compliance process for various sectors, leveraging technology and expert advisory to support governance, risk, and compliance programs​​.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers compliance guidance for healthcare providers.

This compliance supports the development of internal controls to monitor legal, regulatory and program requirements.

Benefits of Managed Services

The benefits of managed services for businesses extend across financial, operational, and strategic domains.

With a broad spectrum, MSPs offer a holistic suite of advantages to support your company’s optimizing IT operations and focus more on your core business objectives.

One key benefit of using MSPs is your business can transition your IT expenses to a more predictable model. 

The predictable low-cost model by MSPs avoids the frequent and unexpected costs of maintaining an in-house IT team.

Managed services empower your business by adapting your IT resources and capabilities to meet your current needs without the overhead of training or hiring new staff. 

This flexibility and scalability are designed for efficient expansion or adaptation to market changes.

Furthermore, managed services adopt a preventive approach to IT management. 

MSPs’ proactive approach focuses on monitoring and resolving issues before they escalate into serious problems.

MSPs are always available 24/7 to minimize downtime and the associated costs, thereby enhancing the reliability and performance of IT systems​​.

MSPs also bring access to specialized services and knowledge. Using MSPs, your business gains access to a team of proven experts with a wide range of skills and experiences.

And, of course, as we mentioned before, MSPs handle the complexities of compliance with regulations such as PCI DSS and HIPAA.

This capability ensures your business meets all necessary standards and avoids the potentially severe consequences of non-compliance​​.


On the whole, the difference between managed services and traditional IT support represents a strategic investment in a business’s future.

MSPs manage day-to-day IT operations and empower businesses to innovate and excel in the digital era.

By choosing managed services over traditional IT support, your business can ensure operational excellence, secure your digital assets, and focus on what your company does best: driving innovation and growth. 

So, let’s stop defining what is the difference between IT services and managed services. Let’s start using managed services today to transform your business landscape and stay ahead in the digital age.