WOOF! Newsletter

December 15, 2022

What's the Difference Between IT Support and Managed IT Services?

As more and more businesses look for ways to save money on IT, some consider outsourcing their IT support. A number of different service methods exist when it comes to network maintenance...but what’s the right one for you?


Let's say you have all of your IT infrastructure set up. Servers deployed. Wi-Fi's up. Backups running. Anti-virus in place on all workstations.

That's all you need right? Everything will keep running like this, without issue, forever.

Ha! We wish.

IT systems need regular maintenance. You might think this is where IT Support comes in. You're not wrong, but an even better option exists.

It's called Managed IT Services   Its cornerstone is proactive maintenance. It squashes problems before they happen. And it's what we're discussing in this WOOF.

What Does "Managed IT Services" Mean?

You've probably heard the term before. Its meaning varies, depending on who you ask.

PlanetMagpie defines it like this:  Regular, proactive maintenance on your IT infrastructure.

The goal—to reach & stay at maximum uptime for all team members, providing them with 24/7 network access and zero barriers to productivity.

This carries much more value than you might think. If you haven’t asked your accounting team to calculate the hourly or daily cost to operate your business, try it out. It's a great data point for business analysis.

Then think about what network downtime costs you. Your team can’t work. Productivity goes down the tubes.

With those two data points on hand, "eliminating network downtime" quickly becomes the goal!

Where & How IT Infrastructure Fails

Like we said earlier, nothing works without issue forever. Every piece of your network has failure points. Many of them, in fact.

Without IT professionals monitoring those failure points, and attending to them before they become problems, you could end up with serious network or computer downtime fast.

Here are some of the things that can happen when you don’t proactively maintain your network:

IT Component
Risks of No Maintenance
Benefits of Managed IT Services
Increased risk of cyberattack, OS failures, poor performance
Applies automated software updates to your workstations (plus zero-day patches), monitors workstation performance and regularly checks anti-virus status
Increased risk of cyberattack, hardware failures, data corruption, ransomware
Performs monthly server maintenance (including zero-day patches), takes care of user management (onboarding / offboarding / security permissions), sets up hardware monitoring, and regularly checks anti-virus status
Cloud Backups
Incomplete backups, locked files, stopped backups, backup file corruption
Monitors your backups, remediates issues as they arise, and performs monthly backup test restores to verify recoverability
Network Hardware (Firewalls, Switches, Wireless APs)
Increased risk of cyberattack due to lack of security updates; system failures because feature fixes in patches weren't applied
Handles software/firmware updates several times a year, including emergency zero-day patches


What's the Best Way to Address Failure Points: Through IT Support, or Through Managed IT Services?

You might ask, "Doesn't IT Support handle all of this?"

Not entirely.  Most IT Support is considered break/fix work.  A problem appears, and the support team resolves it.

That's essential for continued operations, of course! But this approach is reactive; it comes in after a problem develops.

Let's do a comparison of the two service types. These both come from our own customer experiences.


A customer called reporting that some of their remote workers couldn't access the internal network. Within the hour, everyone had lost access.

Our support engineers determined that the customer’s firewall had stopped communicating. Testing revealed that it had died entirely.  PlanetMagpie techs located a temporary firewall, drove out to the customer site, and installed it.  The customer’s network was down for 4 hours.

This example illustrates how IT support is:

  • Reactive; fix a problem after it appears
  • Project-based
  • Focused on restoring function
  • Disruptive to team members

Now let's shift gears and go through a Managed IT Services example.



A customer has a Managed IT Services contract with us.  One of our engineers did his monthly test restore of their cloud backups.

He found that one of the backups wouldn't restore. It reported as corrupt, and appeared much smaller than prior backups.

Curious, he contacted the workstation’s user and asked to remote onto their machine.  He found malware on the computer!

The malware had disrupted the latest backup. Quickly he checked around the company network, but found no other signs of malware.

He isolated the computer from the network and began cleaning the malware off the machine. Fortunately, he'd caught it before it could spread—potentially crippling the entire business.

This example shows how a Managed IT Service is:

  • Proactive; monthly maintenance tasks prevent problems from occurring
  • Ongoing
  • Maintaining existing capabilities
  • Working in the background; most tasks non-disruptive


Keep your IT Running (and Your Team Happy) with Managed IT Services

Having an IT expert install your network gear, set up your servers, start backups, install antivirus…and then walk away? That's a recipe for disaster.

Putting Managed IT Services in place following setup, performing a little maintenance each month, keeps major problems from arising. Your team can keep working, day after day, year after year.

It's proactive. It's critical.

Best of all, it doesn’t cost that much! For a small monthly cost, you could save your company from cyberattacks, lost productivity...even business collapse.


Ready to start 2023 with a stable network & secure data? Please contact us for Managed IT Services at .


Robert Douglas, IT Consulting Team Lead