Breaking Down the Differences: Professional Services vs Managed Services


Understanding IT: Managed vs Professional?

Businesses looking to cover their day-to-day IT needs or overcome specific challenges often break down managed services vs. professional services and their core service offerings.

With so many similarities between managed and professional services, it can be challenging to find the IT services that are best suited for your company. 

Considering this fact, we’ve structured this article to help you understand the differences between managed and professional services by covering:

  • What are Managed Services?
  • What are Professional Services?
  • Managed Services vs. Professional Services: The Differences
  • How to Find the Right IT Services for Your Business With AT-NET

What are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services are IT-related tasks and services that are handled by a third party.

For example, the three most commonly outsourced managed services include

  • Managed IT security
  • Infrastructure support
  • Cloud migration and computing services

As businesses grow more reliant on technology, more are turning to managed service providers (MSPs) to cover not only their current but future IT needs too. As a result, the managed service market is expected to almost double, increasing from $161.37 billion in 2021 to $311.32 billion in 2027

While managed services provide the ability to reduce costs, improve data backup, and ensure long-term business continuity, sometimes organizations are better suited to a professional service depending on the business goals and the scope of work required.


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What are Professional Services? 

Professional services often involve a one-time services offer or are structured as on-demand. While managed services help organizations improve the management of their business processes and infrastructure for a fixed monthly fee, professional services are a more project-based IT service.

Some examples of professional services include:

  • Business continuity planning 
  • Advanced IT troubleshooting
  • Digital transformation services
  • Cybersecurity awareness training
  • IT consulting and strategy development

Depending on the size, budget, and IT capabilities of an organization, professional services may prove more worthwhile than managed services. This is especially true when it comes to the implementation, adoption, and deployment of new digital technology and business processes

The Differences Between Managed Services vs. Professional Services

The required scope of work and time are the two biggest differences between managed and professional services. 

For small businesses with a limited in-house IT team, managed services offer a high level of appeal for covering an organization’s needs, whereas a business with a full-fledged IT team may seek professional services for unique, one-time projects.

Some of the key differences between managed services vs. professional services include: 


The Differences Between Managed Services vs. Professional Services
Differentiator Managed IT Services Professional Services
Services Customizable, generalized, scalable Business-specific, one-and-done
Use Case Round-the-clock IT support/services For one-off projects with deadlines
Service Length Suitable for long-term usage Employed engagement length
Responsibilities Provides a wide range of services, solutions, and support based on your needs, budget, structure, and goals You are responsible for maintaining your project IT’s needs and available resources


Additional factors to weigh when considering managed or professional services include:

  • Business Focus: If your business focus is dependent on minimizing IT disruptions and maintaining peak performance then a managed service model is better suited for you as professional services are reactive, not proactive.
  • Responsiveness: Managed services provide exceptional responsiveness and help ensure your infrastructure, processes, and systems remain in optimal condition. Unless a professional service provider offers rapid IT issue remediations, then your uptime may be at risk as the average minute of downtime costs businesses $5,600.
  • Service Improvements: Both managed and professional services offer organizations the ability to make drastic improvements to their infrastructure, but only managed services offer businesses the ability to gap-fill roles cost-effectively for the long haul.
  • New Emerging Technologies: If you can’t maintain an evolving infrastructure, then managed services are the clear-cut option. Otherwise, it’s not uncommon for businesses to outsource their IT procurement and vendor management to professional services, especially those that have unique business-specific customizations to request.


Interested in learning more about managed and professional IT services? Check out these blogs:


Choosing the Right IT Services for Your Business: Managed vs. Professional Solutions with AT-NET

Determining whether managed services vs. professional services are the best choice for your business can be addressed by examining your infrastructure, needs, budget, goals, and existing capabilities. 

For businesses seeking more hands-off support, professional services pave the way, whereas organizations in need of more round-the-clock support tend to lean on managed services. If you still need help choosing between managed and professional services, the experts at AT-NET are ready to assist you.

Since 1999, we’ve been providing IT services to local businesses. We’ll help you find the IT services that are best suited for your business not just today, but all the days the follow. 

With our IT project success rate of 100% and our average response times of less than 60 seconds, you’ll always get better results whether you choose our managed or professional IT services.

For more information about the managed and professional services we offer, contact us today.

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