<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=352585001801011&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Lisa Carroll

By: Lisa Carroll on July 15, 2022

Print/Save as PDF

Need IT Support? 3 Options (Co- or Fully Managed & IT Project Support)

IT Support

Noticing that you need some help with your computers and the rest of your IT environment?

Whether you are growing faster than your current infrastructure can accommodate, too focused on fighting the daily IT maintenance fires (with less focus on proactively planning for the future), juggling limited resources, or something else entirely, the fact remains that you need help

Where do you start? How do you know what the right solution is? Who can you trust? 

If you are an IT person, you may know exactly what you are looking for. If you are a business owner or manager, you may just know that you need extra help to “handle IT things.” 

At Kelser, we provide a variety of IT services, so we can explain the different options. And, we promise that our goal in writing this article is not to push you to work with us. 

You see, at Kelser, we believe that we have an obligation to provide unbiased information so that business leaders like you can make the best IT decision for your organization. 

Refreshing honesty, right? Well, in our 40+ years of business, we’ve realized that there is room in this industry for different kinds of providers and that one provider doesn’t have the perfect solution for every client; including us!

So while we could provide a biased list of all of the reasons you should work with Kelser, we are going to assume that you’d rather not sit through a one-way presentation about how great we are. Instead, this article will highlight three options for IT support that you can use whether you work with Kelser or not. 

We hope you’ll agree that this is a more valuable approach

By the end of this article, you’ll know the difference between co-managed, fully managed IT project support. You’ll understand the pros and cons of each approach and will be fully confident in your ability to decide which is right for your organization. 

What Are The Options For Computer Support? 

When it comes to IT services, you have options. Some organizations decide on a co-managed partnership, others go fully managed, and still others use IT project support. What’s right for you will depend on a number of variables.  

1.Co-Managed Support  

As the name might imply, a co-managed IT support arrangement is a partnership with an external to manage IT infrastructure. 

This partnership can take many forms. 

For example, the organization’s internal staff may maintain responsibility for day-to-day issues, monitoring, patching, and upgrades to devices, while the external provider may handle long-term projects and strategic infrastructure recommendations for things like servers, switches, and firewalls

Or, the roles could be reversed. Or, there could be some other option that capitalizes on the advantages and skills of the on-site staff, while using external resources to fill the gaps. 


Many organizations feel that a co-managed arrangement provides the best of both worlds: the responsiveness of on-site staff and the strategic value and broad experience of an external support organization. Here are some other advantages:

    • Expertise

When you work with an outsourced IT company, you gain access to resources and specialized expertise that you might not have on staff. You can get the specific skills you need to fill in the gaps in your internal organization.

    • Cost

Because you pay monthly for a mutually agreed upon set of services, you know exactly what your IT expenses will be, making it easier to plan your annual budget. In addition, you don’t incur the ongoing cost burden of a full staff of in-house IT professionals.

    • Schedule 

Working with outside staff means they are likely able to focus their time on the services you need, as opposed to your in-house team that is likely pulled in different directions and juggling multiple internal demands each day. 

    • Efficiency

Using internal and external resources allows you to make the best use of the skills of your internal team, while ensuring that your IT infrastructure has the comprehensive care it needs, allowing you to focus on running your business. 


    • Time Investment

When you work with an outsourced IT team, the main issue is that you and your internal team have to invest time to bring the provider up to speed before you can realize efficiencies.  

    • Access To Sensitive Data

Depending on the responsibilities you delegate, the outside IT provider may have access to sensitive data.

Make sure you take every precaution (legally and contractually) to protect your data and understand who is responsible in the event of a breach.

    • Dependent On Internal Staff 

Co-managed IT services necessitate organizations having some type of internal IT staff to perform services.  

2.Fully Managed IT

Fully managed IT is an ongoing relationship with an IT provider that provides full care for your IT network. In return for a consistent monthly fee, the outside provider offers a clear set of services outlined in a contract. These services can vary depending on the provider. 


    • Strategic Expertise

As with co-managed IT, customers gain access to skills that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive for them.

Some managed IT providers offer the services of a virtual chief information officer (vCIO), technical alignment manager (TAM), service delivery manager (SDM), and technical solutions architect. Others offer cybersecurity experts and security awareness training for employees.

With extra sets of eyes on your IT infrastructure, problems are identified early and mitigated efficiently.  

    • Consistency

Most fully managed IT arrangements include regular site visits by engineers who perform ongoing maintenance and learn the unique characteristics of your infrastructure. This familiarity allows for more efficient and effective resolution of any issues that arise, meaning less downtime for your business.  

    • Long-Term

Because providers know they are in it for the long haul, they invest the time and attention required to get to know your IT environment as well as your business goals and industry requirements.

Among other things, this helps them understand which technology solutions will best suit your unique needs and ensures that they are aware of any compliance or regulatory concerns that might come into play. 

    • Proactive

Along with the long-term nature of the relationship and expanded knowledge of your environment comes the benefit of having a proactive partner providing care for your infrastructure. 

In addition to regular monitoring, upgrading, and patching, fully managed IT  means your external partner has the foresight necessary to recommend improvements before they negatively impact your business; minimizing downtime and surprises. 

    • Predictable Expense

When organizations contract with a managed IT provider, they know the cost per user up-front and they know exactly what they will pay every month because it doesn’t change (provided the number of users remains the same). This makes budgeting easier and much more precise.  

    • Flexibility

Fully managed IT has flexibility built-in to reflect your business needs. For example, if you have growth in your business, you can easily add users to your existing managed IT contract.

    • Fully Independent

Fully managed IT can eliminate the need to have an IT professional on your internal staff. While many organizations maintain some sort of internal IT staff, in most cases it isn’t essential.


    • Cost

While the cost of partnering with a managed IT provider is significantly less than trying to support a full complement of trained IT professionals internally, it is not free. 

Read this article for an unbiased cost comparison: In-House IT Staff Vs. Managed IT: Cost. 

For most fully managed services, you can expect to pay an average cost per user per month of $120-140. 

Learn how managed IT providers calculate fees in this article: How Is The Rate For A Managed IT Provider Determined

Depending on the state of their infrastructure, customers also may incur one-time fees in the set-up phase. And, projects that fall outside the scope of the managed agreement will incur additional fees.  

    • Long-Term

Most fully managed IT support contracts require a commitment of 1-3 years. While this can be good if the arrangement is solid, it can be a disadvantage if you aren’t partnered with the right provider for your organization. 

The contract can make it difficult to leave if you are unhappy. Make sure you understand the contract termination requirements and that you spend the necessary time to find the right partner before you sign on the dotted line. 

    • Due Diligence Required!

The time invested upfront to select the right provider is time well-spent, but it requires putting in the time and effort to get to know your prospective partners, especially given that you are committing to a long-term partnership. 

    • Relationship Management

Depending on your contract, partnering with a managed IT provider may require that someone on-site serves as a point person for IT. If you have a staff member that can handle this on a part-time liaison basis, that may be all that’s required. 

Make sure to understand how much responsibility and time will be required of your staff. 

3.IT Project Support

IT project support is a one-time, contract-based solution that many organizations use to complete a particular project with a definite goal and deadline. For example, you may want to use an outside provider to install a server or perform some type of upgrade. 


    • Parameters

These arrangements come with a definite start and end date and cover a specific task. The organization knows what services to expect, how long the project will take, and how much it will cost.

    • Expertise

These kinds of arrangements offer the organization the opportunity to shop around to find the right experts to handle the job. 

    • Cost

Unless the project is urgent, organizations will be able to compare options and can often negotiate a price that meets their budget. 

    • Short-term 

This can be an effective way for organizations to meet an urgent, short-term need without the added cost burden and long-term commitment of adding specialized staff.


    • Short-Term Solution

Although this can be a benefit, it can also be a disadvantage. Most relationships with outsourced IT providers are temporary, given that they are project-based.

In some cases, that could mean that the provider might not be fully invested in providing the best solution for you, but in their own best interest (i.e. making money). 

    • Unpredictable Costs

The fees for one-time services can be unpredictable, which could make budgeting a crap shoot. 

    • Quality Of Service

We’ve all dealt with organizations that promise the moon, only to leave you covered in stardust. You must do your homework and make sure the provider can deliver what it promises.

Understand your options for restitution and compensation if the service doesn’t turn out as you expect. 

Which IT Support Option Is Better? 

As we’ve mentioned, each approach has pros and cons. Each could provide a solid option depending on the circumstances and your specific needs.  

When May Co-Managed Support Be A Better Solution? 

Co-managed support may be best when you have an internal IT staff, but begin to see gaps in service. For example, maybe your staff is great at fighting the daily fires, but you really need help with long-term planning or the rest of your “stuff.” 

Maybe you have strong relationships with your users, but need someone to care for your infrastructure. 

Or you might have some other situation in which you’d like the support of an external IT partner that offers the expertise you don’t have internally. These are the times when co-managed support might be a better solution. 

When May Managed IT Support Be A Better Solution? 

Managed IT support is best for companies who are looking for a long-term partner who will become an extension of their organization

Whether the relationship is designed to augment on-site staff or to provide full care for the IT infrastructure, managed IT offers a second set of knowledgeable eyes keeping track of your network. 

It also can be a good solution for an organization that is looking for a more reliable, predictable IT spend year over year. Customers pay one monthly cost … no more wondering how much the latest computer fix will cost (not to mention the cost of users being unable to work optimally).

When May IT Project Support Be A Better Option? 

IT project work may be a good idea when you are looking for support with a one-time project that has a definite beginning and end, and that requires a specific set of skills.  

If for example, you anticipate a merger or acquisition, you may want to free your internal staff to focus on that.

In this case, it might make sense to hand off routine daily activities to an outsourced provider to free up your internal staff to focus on the special IT needs that will emerge as the business changes shape and size. 

Or maybe you want your staff to continue providing the daily service and want external resources to handle all of the “other stuff” related to the change in your organization. 

You may want IT project support to handle the installation of new hardware or switches or perimeter security. The possibilities are endless.  

Which IT Support Is Right For You?

After reading this article, you have a better understanding of the different kinds of IT support available. We’ve highlighted the pros and cons of each option and explored scenarios in which each solution could be the best option.

Sometimes the best solution is clear. 

Other times, the best solution may be a combination of services. Some organizations find that a partnership with a managed IT support provider who also has the depth and breadth of staff and expertise to handle project work provides a better option for providing consistent service and the fastest resolution time. 

If you are considering external IT support, we recommend that you consider which option would work best for you. Then, explore several providers. 

To learn more about Kelser and the services we provide, click the button below.

Managed IT Support Page Link CTA [BANNER]

About Lisa Carroll

Lisa is Kelser's VP of Revenue who works at the intersection of business and technology to help Kelser’s clients jump on growth opportunities.

Suggested Posts

Visit Our Learning Center