Co-Managed IT Services

Outsourcing your IT to a managed services provider can be a great fit for businesses looking to hand everything over to an external group of experts. However, the fully outsourced model isn’t right for everyone. Co-managed IT services can be a perfect fit for a company that wants to keep their internal IT team, but wants to fill their identified gaps with services from an MSP.

IT teams are responsible for countless business-critical tasks, from maintaining the network to keeping servers up and running. And while IT teams have become more commonplace in recent years, the reality is that many businesses are still struggling to keep up with the pace of change. IT teams are often understaffed and overworked, leading to a slew of issues ranging from user support to data breaches needing immediate attention. As businesses increasingly rely on IT to stay competitive, many are turning to a co-managed model that helps internal IT teams supplement specific areas of need.


Co-managed IT services is a partnership between an internal IT team and an external IT provider (typically referred to as a Managed Services Provider or MSP).

Both parties develop and implement a customized plan on how they will best work together to manage and maintain the client’s IT infrastructure. This partnership allows businesses to fill gaps in their IT department by outsourcing specific complementary knowledge and services to an MSP.

This arrangement can benefit businesses that do not have the resources or experience to manage their IT infrastructure alone. By working with an MSP, they gain access to a larger pool of expertise and resources, which can quickly optimize the efficiency of their IT operations and ensure business continuity. In addition, the agreements are usually available on a monthly basis and include built-in flexibility, making it easy for organizations to budget for their IT needs.

How Do Co-Managed IT Services Work?

Co-managed IT services bring together the best of both in-house and outsourced IT management, providing your business with enhanced efficiency and improved productivity. If you decide to move forward with an MSP in a co-management relationship, you will:

  1. Audit your internal IT department and determine your strengths and weaknesses, including experience, knowledge, skill sets, tools, resources, and more.
  2. Set departmental goals and decide which services and resources you should outsource to meet those goals.
  3. Partner with a reputable IT provider that can best complement your in-house IT team.

Usually, an in-house IT team remains responsible for day-to-day tasks, and the provider overlays expertise, guidance, and IT support in various capacities. Because every IT team is unique, you can tailor your relationship with an MSP to your current and future business needs. The typical responsibilities that are split between the two parties include cybersecurity, monitoring, maintenance, patch management, updates and upgrades, cloud management, help desk support, application management, data backups and redundancy, firewall management, disaster recovery, training, project management, reporting, and more.

By sharing the workload, co-managed IT solutions can help lighten the load on your in-house team while ensuring that all of your IT needs are met.


Many businesses have adopted the co-managed model for their IT needs. Here are a few reasons IT teams turn to co-managed IT services:

  • Small or Overworked IT Teams: The challenges of running a successful IT department can be quite complex for businesses with a small or overworked IT team. That’s why many IT teams turn to MSPs for supplemental support.

  • New Projects: New projects assigned to an IT department can cause major internal issues, especially when the scope and complexity of the project are outside the typical purview of the current team. IT teams need both the time and the resources to take on a new project as they can’t afford to lose a foothold on any of their important daily tasks. The beauty of co-managed IT services is that they work with short-term new projects and IT departments that are constantly hit with new projects.

  • Needed Expertise: When businesses know that outside resources have the expertise and experience far exceeding their internal team, it makes sense to have an MSP compliment your staff. In a co-managed arrangement, a business can customize where and how that expertise is delivered, as every environment is different.


Meriplex’s co-managed IT services can help your business. Schedule an appointment to find out how!

Pros and Cons of Co-Managed IT Services

Managed services providers offer countless benefits businesses can pair with their internal IT staff. Still, there are considerations you want to think through before jumping into a co-managed model.

7 Advantages of Co-Managed IT Services

Using an MSP to complement your existing IT team can be an excellent match for your business. You can reap the benefits of a third-party provider’s expertise and resources while keeping control and ownership of your IT operations. Here are a few benefits a co-managed model can provide:

  1. Operations Control: Co-management of IT services with an external provider can be a complex relationship for an internal IT team as it takes work and communication from both parties. By taking an active role in co-management, you can ensure that your internal IT department continues to “call the shots.”
  2. Less Management Responsibility:  For many organizations, the best way to manage the responsibilities of keeping systems up and running and ensuring data security is to partner with a co-managed IT services provider.
  3. Keeping Current With Trends: The landscape of IT and cybersecurity is constantly changing, making it hard to stay ahead of the curve to keep systems running smoothly and data safe from attacks. Managed service providers can bear the burden of staying up to speed on everything happening in the IT world so their clients don’t have to.
  4. 24/7 Support: By being available 24/7, your MSP can quickly respond to and resolve any IT issues. This ensures that businesses can continue operating smoothly without the worry of downtime.
  5. Built-In Flexibility and Scalability Standing By: In a co-managed IT relationship, MSPs are on “stand by,” waiting to be called in to deliver any of their flexible and scalable solutions to help businesses keep up with changing needs as they grow.
  6. Save and Reallocate Hiring Costs: The constant cycle of hiring and training new staff can be costly and time-consuming. MSPs can help businesses avoid hiring headaches by providing them with the flexibility to scale their workforce up or down as needed.
  7. Increased Security: Managed security providers allow organizations to focus on their core competencies while leaving their data security in the hands of experts.

3 Potential Disadvantages of Co-Managed IT Services

While there are clearly some fantastic benefits that MSPs can provide in a co-managed IT partnership, there are still some obstacles to overcome if you are looking into this model for your business. Here are some challenges you might face:

  1. Choosing the Right Partner: With so many options out there, it’s important to take the time to research your options and find the company that has the tools, experience, flexibility, and scalability that best fits your needs.
  2. Culture: Any business looking to partner with an MSP should ensure that they find a good cultural fit. Here are a few questions to consider and answer:
    • Does the MSP have similar core values to your business? 
    • What is the MSP‘s communication style? Do they send regular updates? Are they responsive to questions and concerns? 
    • What is the MSP‘s approach to problem-solving? Do they take a collaborative approach, or do they go it alone?
  3. Compatibility: It is always a good idea to make sure the potential partner understands additional technologies you may adopt in the future to ensure the MSP can keep your systems running smoothly down the line.

How To Choose the Right Co-Managed IT Partner

If you’ve decided co-managed IT is right for your enterprise, you’ll want to assess your current operations to help pick the right partner. This internal audit includes assessing strengths and weaknesses, setting departmental goals, and deciding what to outsource. With this knowledge in mind, you can better assess your MSP options based on the following criteria.

  1. Partnership Clarity – While your in-house IT team shares the responsibility of managing the IT systems, processes, and strategies, there are many different service models in the co-management space. Therefore, it is crucial to pick a partner that can genuinely complement your internal team.
  2. Experience – When deciding on a co-managed IT provider, it is critical to thoroughly research their experience to make sure they are the right MSP for your business. It is a good idea to consider not just their experience, but also their referrals, testimonials, and online reviews.
  3. Flexibility, Scalability, and Adaptability – Flexibility, scalability, and adaptability are three essential qualities of an MSP.  After all, you want a partner that can grow with you as your business expands!
  4. Local or National? – Choosing between a local and national MSP has its advantages and disadvantages, from size, flexibility, resources, and customizability of service.
  5. Cost – When selecting a partner to co-manage your IT infrastructure, you should find a provider that can work within your budget.

Co-Managed IT Services Can Be a Great Option

Working with an MSP in a co-managed IT services relationship is a great way to take your business to the next level, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Co-managed IT services relationships offer a versatile way for in-house IT teams to share management responsibility with a provider and lighten the workload for stretched-thin IT departments. It can also help organizations tap into new technologies and processes more quickly and efficiently. And because providers are typically more adept at managing change, a co-managed services relationship can help in-house teams stay ahead of the curve. By following our guidance in this article, you should be able to find a provider that is a good fit for both your needs and your budget. A co-managed IT services relationship ultimately offers many benefits for in-house teams and providers. When done right, it can help organizations improve efficiency, stay agile, and better manage change.