Do you need professional services or managed IT services?

If you’re looking for an IT services solution for your business, you might be at a crossroads trying to decide between professional services and managed IT services. Both services offer unique benefits, but the latter has distinct advantages that make it the superior choice for most businesses.

Let’s take a look at what these service models are and what makes them different.

What are professional services?

Professional IT services typically involve hiring specialists or consultants on an as-needed basis. They lend their expertise on specific projects, such as network infrastructure implementation and cloud migrations. The engagement is usually short term, and they focus on achieving a limited set of your goals within the timeframe you give them.

The key characteristics of professional services include:

  • Project-based engagements: Professional services are often contracted for specific projects or one-time needs.
  • Expertise on demand: Businesses can access high-level expertise without a long-term commitment.
  • Cost variability: Costs can vary significantly depending on the project's scope and complexity.
  • Defined scope: The focus is on completing the designated project, whether it be a network installation, hardware upgrade, security configuration, or digital transformation initiative.

What are managed IT services?

Managed IT services involves a partnership with an external IT services provider that handles the ongoing management, maintenance, and support of your entire IT infrastructure. This model is subscription-based, with services provided continuously under a service level agreement.

These managed services providers (MSPs) act as an extension of your company, and typically offer the following:

  • Continuous support: MSPs provide ongoing monitoring and support, ensuring that IT systems run smoothly at all times.
  • Predictable costs: You get unlimited support for a flat monthly rate, offering predictable budgeting.
  • Proactive management: MSPs routinely monitor and maintain systems to prevent small issues from becoming major disruptions.
  • Comprehensive solutions: MSPs deliver the whole spectrum of IT services, including network monitoring, cybersecurity, data backup, IT support, and strategic planning.

Why should businesses opt for managed IT services?

While professional services provide distinct advantages, most businesses will want to opt for managed IT services for the following reasons:

Enhanced cybersecurity

MSPs go to great lengths to keep cybercriminals at bay. They continuously monitor networks for anything indicative of a threat (e.g., unusual login attempts or file transfers), regularly patch software, and install multiple cybersecurity solutions to cover all angles. They’ll even assist with data backups and incident response on the off chance of a data breach so your business can quickly get back on its feet.

In contrast, professional services only address security on a project basis, which may be suboptimal for long-term protection.

24/7 support

Most MSPs offer 24/7 support, ensuring that your problems are resolved swiftly whenever they occur. This round-the-clock service minimizes costly downtime and keeps your business running smoothly. Professional services, on the other hand, are typically limited to business hours or the duration and scope of the project.

Strategic IT planning

MSPs work closely with your business to develop effective IT strategies. They assess your operational bottlenecks, identify your needs, and provide professional recommendations on how IT can drive your business forward. For instance, if your business is struggling with hybrid work arrangements, MSPs may advise you to implement cloud collaboration software and centralized management systems. With their strategic expertise, MSPs can help you stay ahead of the curve, remain competitive, and achieve your goals.

Comprehensive IT management

Managed IT services cover all aspects of IT, from infrastructure management to user support. This comprehensive approach ensures that all your IT needs are met and there are no gaps in your IT environment.

Professional services, by contrast, focus on one project at a time. The focus is on implementing advanced IT solutions and strategies, not toward the continuous maintenance and management that goes into keeping your business operational.

Improved productivity

By ensuring that IT systems are always operational and efficient, managed IT services enhance your overall productivity. Your employees can work without interruption and are free from stressful technology problems.

If you're ready to see what managed IT services can do for your Toronto area business, contact XBASE today. We’ve been a leading provider of managed IT services for over 35 years, helping businesses of all industries and sizes achieve greater success. Talk to our experienced IT experts and we’ll be happy to show you how your business can thrive through efficient and comprehensive IT services.