Difference between MSPs and IT Guys


Many confuse IT guys with Managed Service Providers (MSP), also known as Managed Computing Services, to the point that even some engineers mix up the two terms, using them synonymously. These two trades, although they are within the same sector, are quite distinct. Here’s how to distinguish between the two of them!

What is the difference between an IT guy and an MSP?

Many confuse IT guys with Managed Service Providers (MSP), also known as Managed Computing Services, to the point that even some engineers mix up the two terms, using them synonymously. These two trades, although they are within the same sector, are quite distinct. Here’s how to distinguish between the two of them!

The role of the IT person

An IT person can cover a wide range of missions in the field of IT. Specialized or versatile, they must resolve IT problems that a company would face, and deal with the challenges of adapting new technologies. However, an IT guy is usually a one man show who bases their day on their client’s emergencies. This means that they work under a reactive “Break Fix” model.

Using the “Break-Fix” model, both the client and the IT guy await for a problem to arise. These problems can impact efficiency and productivity within the workplace. In addition, an IT guy would likely be unable to resolve the issue right away, as they would likely be physically located elsewhere, working on other client accounts.

Contrastingly, an MSP will provide a proactive service by implementing an RMM (Remote Monitoring Management). The RMM is a tool used by MSPs that allow them to monitor and resolve issues that may arise.

Whether tackling a hardware or software project, IT people analyze the needs of their clients in order to offer them solutions that are best suited to their particular situation. To stay on the cutting edge, the IT specialist keeps up-to-date with new technologies, security, best practices, and innovations in his field.

They are responsible for the effective implementation of computers. In addition, they manage the physical maintenance, as well as the installation of software. They must also ensure that all licenses are up to date.

IT experts are also required to organize network infrastructure, to ensure accurate transmission of information, based on various types of permissions. In this respect, they play the role of administrator and distribute the use permissions according to the levels of authorization required for each user.

The IT guy trains a company’s staff on how to use their new tools, and (hopefully) creates a manual so that another technician can intervene in his absence.

The mission of an IT professional:

The computer scientist ensures the proper functioning of various devices and tools:

  • editing of technical specifications according to users’ needs
  • choice of physical material, and possibly assembly
  • establishment and administration of the network
  • software installation and staff training
  • digital security management
  • computer software and hardware maintenance

What are Managed Service Providers (MSP)?

A Managed Service Provider is a third-party company, primarily specializing in the area of computer services for businesses. Often referred to as ‘outsourced IT or Remote Help Desks’ or Virtual CIOs. Managed Service Providers allow for various complex tasks to be delegated to a team of experts, that have their own specialties, but together form a cohesive and highly effective team. This can reduce costs for companies, improve overall service quality or free up time for internal teams, within a company, allowing them to focus on their core activities, rather than working on IT tasks. Companies that provide this type of service are called MSPs or Managed Service Providers.

Benefits of using a Managed Service Provider in Montreal

Managed Service Providers can be just as beneficial to large, well-established companies, as they can be to small businesses or start-ups. They provide various benefits, including:

  • Filling in the skills gap
  • Saving money
  • Increased reliability

Filling in the skills gap

Managed Service Providers can be very useful to teams who lack the time, skills or internal experience needed to manage certain business functions, without outside assistance, or to those who choose to focus their efforts on other tasks. When an expert is in charge of providing a service, teams can favour innovation, since they are no longer bogged down by routine tasks.

Save money

Managed Service Providers generally offer cloud computing services. These services can lead to savings in terms of personnel and training expenses. The use of a managed service rather than an internal team can lead to lower and more predictable costs, which makes budgeting easier.

Increased reliability

Because the Managed Service Provider guarantees their availability at all times, outages are no longer a concern for the company that uses them. The terms of service and level of support are defined in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). So, the company knows exactly what to expect and when.

Unlike an internal team that often moves from one responsibility to another, a managed service provider has plenty of time to improve the services it provides. It can ensure the integrity and security of services, the application of patches and necessary upgrades.

Types of Managed Service Providers

Managed IT services may be used for general or more specialized needs. Often, these services include equipment monitoring and maintenance, systems management, remote server monitoring and management, and network monitoring.

Typically, MSPs operate on a problem-solving model, which is to monitor systems until a failure requires action. Today, many Managed Service Providers are taking a more proactive approach to managing and maintaining equipment, including patch management and predictive system maintenance.

Managed Services – A value added solution

Information technology is increasingly linked to the operational aspect of the enterprise, which means that information technology problems have a greater impact on the enterprise.

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) uses a proactive approach; they aim to mitigate problems before they arise. They do so through professional tools that they have mastered, allowing them to remotely connect to computers, which removes the need for transportation, and offers much faster response time.

MSPs are able to save companies time and money, by automating monitoring and management processes. By doing so, MSPs are sent trouble-tickets, which allows them to fix problems, before their clients even notice them.

Impact on operations

These problems are sometimes grotesque – as in the case of a cyber-attack or a server breakdown.

Calculate how much a server breakdown would cost you here.

But most of the time they are rather hidden. Out-of-sync databases, out-of-date applications, unused licenses, etc. are all aspects that may not seem like a threat to company’s operations in a visible way. However, they do create unnecessary and ever-increasing costs.

As a result of interdependence between IT and operations, and the complexity of information technology, Managed Service Providers allow companies to completely relax and focus on their core business tasks.

Managed services provide absolute added value for your business, and ensure that your IT systems are running smoothly, and are tailored to your business’ needs. MSPs are capable of handling a larger volume of tasks than an IT person, since MSPs consist of a team of specialized IT professionals.

Who should use an MSP?

What type of company can benefit from a managed services contract?


If your company can identify with these challenges, you could be a good candidate, if you are:

  • Experiencing too many service outages and excessive downtime.
  • Not getting the results you want due to a lack of support and service.
  • Spending too much on computers because small fees and hourly rates add up too quickly.
  • Losing data.
  • Exposing yourself to cyber-attacks and security risks.
  • Struggling with productivity due to the lack of computer resources and support, which could be provided by a subscription model.
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