Nearly all businesses today run on technology. When you need support for that technology, who do you turn to? That’s where IT services come in, but they aren’t all created equal. You have a lot of options for IT support; many businesses like to outsource this work to save on costs without sacrificing the expertise. Whether you call it IT support, IT services, help desk, managed services, or something else, they can all be considered versions of outsourced IT service companies.

Getting your outsourced IT support from a traditional IT Services company may seem like the obvious choice. You  can call when things go sideways to help get your technology back up and running. An MSP, or managed services provider, is a type of outsourced IT, but like we mentioned in a previous article, not all outsourced IT companies are MSPs. We’re going to break down the differences even further this round.

While an MSP can perform the same tasks as an IT Services company, a traditional IT Services company doesn’t cover all the things an MSP can do. They may be similar, but they are certainly not the same. Let’s look at why.

The IT Services Relationship

Using a traditional IT Services company could mean you never speak to or see the same technician twice, which doesn’t go far in building trust in the relationship. An MSP is different. When you connect with a managed services provider, you’re actually finding a partner. MSPs become an extension of your business. They provide day-to-day IT support, as well as long-term strategic planning to help keep your business ahead of the curve. Even more—if they’re like StepUP IT—they also utilize TAP (technology alignment process), which adds a significant advantage. Plus, you consistently work with the same IT experts. Over time, they get know your technology inside and out.

A not-so-commonly talked about difference between the traditional IT Service companies and MSPs, is that MSPs must have your best interest in mind. The better they can proactively support your business through technology, the more profitable you both are. That’s a great thing! Your MSP is only successful if you are.

It’s a powerful part of the relationship you have with your MSP. It’s a win-win because it’s a partnership.

Availability of Services

Everyone who works with technology knows that it can be nothing short of moody. Machines, devices, networks, software, and servers can find new ways to frustrate us every day, and there are times when it’s not just a quick fix. While you’re perfectly capable of rebooting your laptop, you’re probably not as qualified to mess around with your company’s fancy new servers; that’s why you outsource your IT.

Now, when that fancy new server has an issue and your operations are halted, what happens? If you’re not working with an MSP, you have to make the call to your IT services company and just hope they have the time and resources available to help. You’re also held hostage by that emergency support bill. You don’t have a choice but to pay, regardless of budget, because your business is losing money every second that server is down. An MSP’s primary objective is to keep your technology running as intended and when it isn’t, they jump into action to get you back up—and it’s part of the service you’re already paying them for.

Cost of Doing Business

No matter your industry, doing business in the 21st century means having an IT budget to ensure your technology stays up and running. And no matter the size of that budget, you still don’t want to go over or spend more than you have to for quality IT support. Traditional IT Service companies that assist with your IT—but don’t manage it—generally operate on a Time and Materials basis only. They will likely have variable, task-specific pricing or may charge you hourly rates to provide services. That can really pile up if you have a lot of IT tasks or need several service calls, making your IT expenses budget disappear before you know it.

Scope of Services

With an MSP, the scope of services is defined before onboarding. In almost every case, you’ll pay the same amount from month-to-month for managed services, depending on the number of devices, users, or complexity of the technology environment. Because the relationship is considered on-going, managed services may feel similar to a subscription when it comes to invoicing and payments. Managed IT Services enable you to stay in budget and have predictable IT spending each period. Each MSP chooses their own method for pricing their services.


An MSP is a business and businesses need to make money to pay their employees and support their own infrastructure. So while the model is focused on value and scalability for its clientele, it also encourages the MSP to be as efficient as possible because you pay them the same amount regardless of the time they spend. Think of it like a certified mechanic. They have a manual they use to price their services; the more time it takes them to provide the service, the less money they make and the longer you have to wait to get back on the road. MSPs are in the same boat when it comes to Managed Services.

So, What’s Best for You?

It’s up to you to decide as a business owner what type of IT services are best for your company. You want to find services that align with your technology needs, which a traditional IT Services company might, but also one that aligns with your values. An MSP can give you that because they partner with you on strategy and by keeping all of your technology needs met. Your business goals are part of the MSP’s focus. It’s their job to do what’s best for your company.

The greatest potential is when you find an MSP that aligns with your company’s values.

If you need more than managed IT, most MSPs provide professional services, cloud-based subscriptions, and more for their clients. You can also feel secure knowing that your MSP is the liaison between your technology and any outside vendors. They’ll work in your best interest to get you the necessary technology while staying within your company’s budget.

When it comes to your IT needs, you can clearly see the difference between traditional IT Services companies and  MSPs. While both provide technology support for your business, they are not the same. Making the choice is up to you, but if you’d like to learn more about how a local MSP can transform the way your business handles IT, get in touch today! Technology experts are available to assist with all your questions.