Managed services vs. professional services: What’s the difference, and which one does your SMB need?

Managed services vs. professional services: What’s the difference, and which one does your SMB need?

It’s rare for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Toronto to have the resources to run a full-scale IT department. Usually, these SMBs have only one or two employees designated to deal with day-to-day IT concerns, such as resetting passwords or fixing the Wi-Fi connection. Having someone looking over their business IT allows SMBs to operate smoothly and efficiently from day to day. But to truly reach their goals, save on costs, and maintain operational efficiency, SMBs should outsource their IT needs.

One of the most important decisions an SMB leader will have to make in outsourcing IT is choosing between managed services and professional services. Both of these options bring a trove of benefits and can help a company stay ahead of problems that can cause downtime or revenue loss. Learn the difference between the two so you can select the right IT outsourcing solution for your SMB.

Managed services

Managed services involve handling typical IT department tasks. If you need help with routine system maintenance, managed services may be what you’re looking for. While service offerings vary from one managed IT services provider (MSP) to another, all MSPs should be able to provide the following:

  • Regular maintenance – This includes updating apps, software, and operating systems, as well as tuning up computers and other devices so that your SMB doesn’t become vulnerable to performance or security problems due to outdated technology.
  • Network monitoring – One typical limitation of in-house IT departments is that they don’t have personnel to monitor networks 24/7. MSPs don’t have this limitation, so they can immediately and efficiently respond to tech issues, even if these happen on holidays or in the wee hours.
  • Troubleshooting – MSPs provide basic troubleshooting, such as those related to logins or hardware. Most MSPs also offer 24/7 remote support, so they’re reachable whenever you have an issue.
  • Cybersecurity – Due to limited resources, most SMBs are ill-equipped to deal with cyberattacks on their own. And with 28% of data breaches in 2020 involving small businesses, SMBs are sure to benefit from the security offering of MSPs. At XBASE Technologies, for instance, we implement Exponentially Better™ cybersecurity measures that enable you to safeguard your most valuable assets.
  • Data recovery – MSPs can help mitigate the damage of a breach by keeping data redundant, distributed, and encrypted. This will make critical information difficult to obtain for hackers but easily retrievable for authorized users.
  • Unified communications – Unified communications is the integration of every communication solution the company uses into a single interface. This is to streamline processes, enhance productivity, and improve user experience. If your SMB needs a unified communications solution, an MSP can set it up and maintain it for you.
  • Administration – For SMBs with limited knowledge of data systems, MSPs can set up an entire network and act as its administrator. This doesn’t mean that you lose control over your data. At XBASE, we’ll conduct regular operations meetings with you to make sure that we’re running your networks according to your specifications.

Professional services

While managed services are for day-to-day IT tasks, professional services are generally for one-off projects. MSPs typically charge a flat fee per month, but professional services providers compute expenses based on the duration and complexity of the project.

If you need help with any of the following, your SMB can benefit from professional services:

  • Consulting – By consulting with professionals, you can make informed IT purchase decisions and strategies that will prevent you from taking expensive losses. Professional services also often work closely with organizations and vendors that can give you discounts for bulk purchases or offer more lenient payment terms.
  • Cloud migration – Cloud migration is a highly meticulous process wherein any mistake can result in data loss. Professional services can assist small organizations that lack the capabilities of moving an entire system to the cloud; this is also generally cheaper and has a higher success rate than attempting migration in-house.
  • Deployment – Professional services can lend a hand in new hardware or software deployment to ensure that every piece of the technology is working as it should. This prevents misconfigurations that can lead to unnecessary snags or, worse, downtime.
  • Advanced troubleshooting – If a specific tech issue exceeds your IT personnel’s capabilities, professional services can step in and resolve it for you. Note, though, that regular or recurring advanced troubleshooting can get prohibitively expensive because charges are on a per-project basis.

XBASE Technologies is your comprehensive business IT solutions partner in Toronto. Keep your systems well-maintained, optimized, and secure with our wide range of managed services solutions, or focus on a particular project with our professional services offerings. Book a FREE consultation with our experts today.