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Managed vs Professional IT Services: Key Differences

Managed Services vs Professional Services: Understanding the Key Differences Technology plays an increasingly vital role in driving business success, but many companies struggle to effectively […]

Managed Services vs Professional Services: Understanding the Key Differences

Technology plays an increasingly vital role in driving business success, but many companies struggle to effectively manage their complex tech stacks. As a result, IT outsourcing has become a popular option to bridge internal resource gaps. Two common outsourcing models are managed services and professional services. While related, there are some notable differences between  managed services vs professional services approaches that companies should understand before deciding which is the best fit.

Managed Services vs Professional Services: Key Differences

Managed Services vs Professional Services: Key Differences

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What are Managed IT Services?

Managed services provide ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and support for an organization's IT infrastructure and operations. A managed service provider (MSP) takes responsibility for managing, supporting, and optimizing specified IT systems and functions on behalf of their client. This typically includes:

  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Help desk services
  • Network maintenance
  • Security
  • Backups
  • System updates

Benefits of Managed Services

The main benefits of managed services include:

  • Reduced IT workload for internal staff: The MSP handles day-to-day IT management tasks, allowing your team to focus on core business objectives.
  • Access to expertise: MSPs have specialized skills and best practices for managing complex IT environments, which can be challenging for businesses to build and maintain in-house.
  • Predictable costs: Managed services are provided for a fixed monthly fee, making IT costs predictable and easy to budget.
  • Improved performance and security: Continuous monitoring and management from an MSP proactively optimizes infrastructure performance and enhances security.

Managed services are ideal for SMBs that lack in-house IT skills and resources. However, they also enable enterprise IT teams to offload certain functions in order to better support business priorities. For example, an enterprise may leverage managed services for routine tasks like help desk, monitoring, backups, and endpoint management, freeing up their internal team to focus on higher-value initiatives like application development, digital transformation projects, and strategic tech planning.

Scope of Managed Services

The scope of managed services is customized to meet each client's needs and may include services like:

  • Help Desk: Providing remote tech support and troubleshooting for end users.
  • Desktop/Endpoint Management: Installing OS and software updates, security patching, antivirus/malware protection, and configuration management.
  • Network Monitoring: Tracking network performance, availability, and devices; identifying and troubleshooting issues.
  • Server Management: Monitoring, patching, troubleshooting, and optimization of servers.
  • Backup & Disaster Recovery: Performing and managing backups, as well as maintaining business continuity plans.
  • Security: Managing firewalls, VPNs, antivirus software, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and access controls.

The exact portfolio of managed services is tailored to address each client's environment, challenges, and goals.

What are Professional IT Services?

Professional services provide project-based IT consulting and staff augmentation. Companies utilize professional services for specific IT initiatives such as:

  • New software or infrastructure deployments
  • Cloud migrations
  • Security audits and assessments
  • Opening a new office location
  • Temporary staff to fill an IT skills gap

Models of Professional Services

Professional services help address short-term IT needs or projects without having to hire permanent in-house staff. Models include:

  • Contracted temporary staff augmentation
  • Project consulting
  • Managed professional services where the provider handles resource management

Examples of Professional Services Engagements

Some examples of professional services engagements include:

  • Cloud Migration: Planning and executing a migration of systems and data to the cloud.
  • New Software Implementation: Installing, configuring, integrating, testing, and training for new software rollouts like ERP or CRM.
  • IT Project Management: Bringing in temporary project managers to oversee major IT initiatives.
  • Security Audit: Performing a detailed security assessment and analysis with remediation recommendations.
  • Office IT Setup: Procuring, installing, and configuring networks, servers, workstations, phones, etc., for a new office location.

Professional services provide targeted expertise and resources to supplement internal teams for specific projects. They are a flexible way to fill skills gaps without taking on permanent headcount.

Key Differences: Managed vs Professional Services

Managed Services Professional Services
Ongoing to provide continuous support and optimization Project-based
Proactive monitoring and maintenance Focused on executing specific initiatives
Full-service model Staff or expertise for targeted needs
Predictable monthly costs One-time project fees

Summary of Differences

  • Managed services are ongoing to provide continuous IT support, while professional services are hired for temporary, project-based work.
  • Managed services take a full-service approach focused on proactive maintenance and monitoring, whereas professional services provide staff and expertise for specific needs and initiatives.
  • Pricing models also differ. Managed services have a predictable monthly fee structure, while professional services pricing is based on one-time project costs.

Evaluating Managed vs Professional Services for Your Business

When evaluating whether to adopt managed services and/or professional services, it's important to consider factors like:

  • Current in-house skills and staffing: Do you have technology expertise in-house for daily operations as well as special projects? Are there any gaps?
  • IT budget: What is your current IT spending? How much can be allocated for outsourcing services?
  • Business priorities and roadmap: What are your short and long-term business objectives? Do you have any major IT projects or initiatives planned?
  • Appetite and capacity for IT management: How much time do you want your team spending on IT management versus focusing on core business activities?
  • Security and compliance needs: Do you have regulatory compliance requirements to meet? What are your data protection and cybersecurity needs?


  • An SMB with limited internal IT may choose to outsource the majority of their infrastructure management and support through a managed services provider.
  • A growing midsize company may leverage managed services for needs like help desk, monitoring, and endpoint management, and bring in professional services for special projects involving new technologies or office expansions.
  • An enterprise with a large in-house IT team may utilize managed services for specialized functions like security operations or backup management, and professional services for temporary staff augmentation on strategic initiatives.

The ideal blend delivers the right level of outsourced support to optimize costs, maximize internal team productivity, and further business goals.

Get Expert Guidance Choosing IT Services

Outsourcing through managed and professional IT services enables businesses to bridge skill gaps, reduce workloads, and leverage enterprise-grade solutions. LK  Technologies provides both managed services and professional staffing support for organizations across industries. Their certified experts and 30+ years of experience equip them to design tailored solutions that best fit your needs.

LK Technologies offers a full suite of managed IT services, including help desk, network operations, endpoint management, infrastructure monitoring, backup and disaster recovery, security, and more. For professional services, they provide skilled IT staff augmentation and project-based expertise for initiatives like cloud adoption, ERP implementation, DevOps automation, cybersecurity, and IT project management.

Their hybrid approach gives clients the flexibility to outsource critical IT functions for enhanced performance, compliance, and security while also leveraging targeted professional services to launch strategic projects. This enables organizations to get the most value from internal teams while still benefiting from enterprise-class infrastructure managed by seasoned experts.

Contact LK today to discuss the right IT services and outsourcing models for your unique business goals. Their team can assess your environment and needs to propose a solution that allows you to reduce costs, improve agility, and drive better business outcomes. With robust managed services and professional staffing support, they become an extension of your team - ensuring technology empowers your organization instead of impeding it.


  • Managed IT services deliver continuous support and optimization of technology environments through ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and management.
  • Professional IT services supply skilled staff and expertise to supplement internal teams for temporary, project-based initiatives and needs.

The optimal approach depends on your business requirements. Many organizations utilize both models - leveraging managed services for core infrastructure support and professional services to augment skills for projects. Finding a provider who offers both enables seamless delivery and integration.


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