When Are Co-Managed IT Services a Good Fit?

By: Dustin Bonn
July 19, 2022

In this prolonged period of economic turbulence and IT recruiting challenges, more businesses are turning to managed IT providers to add enterprise-scale IT capabilities without additional staff. This blog will explore which organizations might benefit from co-managed IT and when another solution might be a better choice.

WHAT IS CO-MANAGED IT?  

Co-Managed IT is a service model where an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) supplements an organization's in-house staff. A trusted MSP can expand your team’s capabilities quickly and reduce their workload.

WHAT CO-MANAGED IT SERVICES CAN YOU GET?

No two providers or managed service contracts are exactly alike. Your services will depend entirely on what an MSP offers and where your internal IT team needs additional help. Cybersecurity assistance and help desk support are perhaps the most common co-managed service needs.

Marco’s co-managed IT solution is called UnifyIT; it allows clients to pick and choose from four different service menus. Help desk support and on-demand services are also available through UnifyIT and can be added to any service bundle.

If you decide to outsource some of your organization’s IT needs, the end-user experience can be surprisingly seamless. For example, Marco can design a custom platform for your organization that will route all support tickets through your internal IT department, allowing your staff to choose which tickets to service internally and which to outsource.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSIDER CO-MANAGED IT?

Project-based IT might be a better solution if you only need help with a specific project, like a large cloud migration, a detailed technology or cybersecurity assessment, or help with Microsoft 365 licensing. If you don’t currently have dedicated IT staff and rely on an employee with a few additional tech skills, fully-managed IT would likely be a better fit.

However, if you currently have an internal IT team that requires more long-term support, co-managed IT is often the best solution to boost your internal staff’s responsiveness and ensure their time is spent wisely.

This short quiz can help provide insight into your IT team's current demands. Many internal IT teams these days are overburdened with accommodating remote work and providing robust cybersecurity in addition to supporting regular operations. Stress and burnout statistics are alarmingly high industry-wide, so if any of the following is true, you should strongly consider partnering with an MSP:

1. YOU WANT TO MAINTAIN AN INTERNAL TEAM, BUT YOU NEED ADDITIONAL CAPABILITIES

If your business is relatively unique and relies on industry-specific software, it can be beneficial to have an internal IT staff. Many organizations also enjoy a team that’s on-site and familiar to the rest of your staff. However, by outsourcing some of your IT needs, you can reduce the burden on your staff and supplement their capabilities. An MSP offers the additional benefit of bringing new insights about the solutions that have worked well at other organizations like yours.

2. RECRUITING IS A SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE

If your organization has struggled to recruit IT talent lately, you’re not alone. Additionally, as the demands on internal IT teams keep growing, if you don’t find a way to reduce the burden on your internal team, eventually, you may struggle to retain the staff you have. Co-managed IT can be an elegant solution to persistent IT recruiting challenges.

3. YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT CYBERSECURITY

Is your organization in alignment with cybersecurity best practices? This checklist can reveal your current areas of strength and where you may have hidden weaknesses. Cybercrime is continuing to rise exponentially. In 2021 alone, 45% of U.S. companies experienced a data breach, and unfortunately, 60% of small businesses that experience a cyberattack will fold. It’s very difficult for any internal team to provide a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that can stand up to today’s sophisticated hackers. On the other hand, a skilled MSP has the dedicated staff and resources necessary to keep your organization well-protected at all times.

4. YOUR LONG TERM IT STAFFING NEEDS ARE UNCLEAR

If you haven’t found recruiting to be a challenge, but you’re still wondering if you should bring on additional staff during a period of economic volatility, with co-managed IT, you have more flexibility to scale services up or down as needed.

5. YOUR INTERNAL TEAM PUTS OFF IMPORTANT UPGRADES AND PATCHES

Keeping up with critical software updates is increasingly difficult for internal teams. It’s shockingly common for teams to put off patching known vulnerabilities, and many organizations are unaware of the risks that come with significant delays. Considering that 80% of data breaches can be prevented through timely patches and upgrades, if your team routinely delays patching in favor of, say, providing a responsive help desk, outsourcing such services could spare your organization from a costly breach.

6. YOUR INTERNAL TEAM DOESN’T HAVE THE BANDWIDTH TO HELP WITH STRATEGY

Are there more efficient tools that your staff could be using? Could new software expand your capabilities? Could you be serving more customers faster? If your IT department primarily spends their time putting out fires and fixing what’s broken, they can’t be proactive and help you find better solutions.

WHAT SERVICES SHOULD YOU CONSIDER OUTSOURCING?

If it’s likely that co-managed IT might be the best solution for your organization, you should consider what you’d like your internal team to focus on and where they might benefit from additional help. The following services can be outsourced easily with the help of an MSP:

  • Providing help desk support
  • Cybersecurity
  • Upgrading and patching software and systems
  • Data protection
  • Backup and recovery services
  • Maintaining cloud systems
  • Maintaining servers
  • Compliance issues
  • Management of additional locations

WHEN IS CO-MANAGED IT NOT THE BEST SOLUTION?

I touched upon this earlier, but co-managed IT isn't the best fit if you only need help with a specific project or don’t really have dedicated IT staff. Furthermore, if your organization’s IT needs are very simple (your staff uses three computers or fewer), one skilled in-house team member may be sufficient.

HOW TO PARTNER WITH AN MSP

Co-managed IT is a newer offering for many MSPs, and the services they offer will vary. Make sure your provider can offer everything you need without charging you for things your team is already handling well. Marco’s UnifyIT solution is fully customizable, and clients are free to pick and choose any service they need from any of our four service bundles. Discounted rates are available for clients that choose bundled services, and help desk support and on-demand services can be added to any service.

There are a lot of financial benefits that come with partnering with an excellent MSP. Still, depending on how many services you choose to outsource, co-managed IT can also be a significant investment. If you’re unsure of which services you should outsource and where you might reduce unnecessary costs, you can always talk with one of our managed IT specialists and get a custom recommendation.

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Topics: Managed IT Services