What’s the Difference Between a Shared Services Model and a Managed Services Model?

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Exploring Your IT Options: What’s the Difference Between a Shared Services Model and a Managed Services Model?

How do the two models—shared services and managed services—compare? And which service model is right for your business?

If you’re a business owner, you know how crucial IT and cybersecurity can be to your success—even if it isn’t directly related to your core objectives. So what’s the best way to keep your sensitive data safe from hackers without bogging down your daily operations? How can you stay up-to-date with important backups and updates? Can you handle a crisis before your privacy is invaded?

Here, we help you determine whether your business is in good hands with Shared Services, or if you could continue to grow your business while saving time, money, and peace-of-mind with F12’s Managed IT Services.

What Are Shared Services?

The Shared Services model keeps your IT processes internal. It involves consolidating key users across departments like IT, finance, HR, and procurement to create a centralized unit. This unit becomes somewhat of a business within your business, sharing IT services between all departments.

Perks of a Shared Services Model 

With a Shared Services model, knowledge and expertise are better distributed. IT services are delivered more effectively and efficiently. Resources can be easily reallocated as needed, and you have more control over company processes. Not to mention, you’ll spend less when you have one central IT team that works with the entire company, rather than each department having its own IT team and unique processes.

But it’s not always easy to make this transition for your business. Shared Services can involve several different moving parts and require in-depth cybersecurity training. If your staff is already operating close to their max capacity, you’ll need to ensure they have the time and expertise to collaborate efficiently, navigate each service properly, and to be on the lookout for security threats that could make or break your success.

What Are Managed Services?

The Managed Services model is for businesses looking to offload their mission-critical business technology to a third-party MSP (Managed Service Provider). With F12’s Managed IT Services, your business gets:

  • Administration of systems with F12 Connect
  • Responsive IT Support
  • Proactive management
  • Reporting & 24/7 Monitoring
  • Backup management with F12’s Canadian certified sovereign cloud
  • Systems support & deployment
  • Built-in cybersecurity
  • IT compliance with an SOC 2 Type 2 annual auditing of our services

Perks of a Managed Services Model

Businesses thrive when they focus on their core business drivers, not infrastructure. Managed Services reduces distractions and maximizes focus because it takes on the risk and complexity of the technologies that make your business tick. It gives you access to specialized expertise and skills that might not be available in-house. Managed Services is offered in bundles that are covered under one monthly fee, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. 

Most of all, Managed Services lets you focus on the growth and success of your business without worrying about hackers, breaches, backups, or whichever IT emergency keeps you up at night. 

Shared Services vs Managed Services

Now that we’ve introduced both models, let’s delve into the key differences between Shared Services and Managed Services, and how the different models can impact your business:

Nature of Your Business

The choice between Shared Services and Managed Services largely depends on YOU. Shared Services is typically more suitable for large organizations with multiple departments and an established service standardization process. Managed Services, on the other hand, is often preferred by organizations looking to entirely outsource specific functions. Managed Services is also a smart choice for companies that don’t yet have the expertise to tackle the evolving technology that keeps the business running and secure.


Shared Services offers potential cost savings through resource consolidation, making it ideal for organizations with larger budgets. While Managed Services may appear costlier initially, outsourcing IT to F12 experts eliminates the burden of maintaining the salaries and training of an in-house IT department. Working with an MSP can actually end up becoming more cost effective in the long run. F12’s Subscription IT and Device-as-a-Service options allow you to flatten IT expenses and smooth capital costs to improve cash flow. 

Response Time

Shared Services operates in-house, so they’ll respond as quickly as your existing team is able to. While most Managed Services may vary in response time, F12’s dedicated teams provide continuous oversight of network operations, while others stand ready to handle reactive issues. Not to mention the Emergency Support we provide 24/7, so your services keep working even while you’re not.

Level of Control

Shared Services provides a high degree of control since they are in-house departments. However, this leaves the responsibility of your company’s cybersecurity in your (already-full) hands. Managed Services takes on all the risk, while still allowing you to fully customize your IT bundle.


Shared Services can be scaled up or down by adjusting the size of the shared unit to match the organization’s growth. Keep in mind that as your business grows, your IT needs will diversify. It becomes essential that your Shared Services team is prepared to tackle new services as they are needed. F12’s Managed IT Services is designed to align with your expansion plans from the get-go. We stay a step ahead of your needs, whether you are increasing headcount, launching new products, or changing internal business processes.


Expertise should be a significant factor in your decision-making process. Shared Services relies on the expertise of internal staff, who will likely require ongoing training and development. With Managed Services, you get access to a wealth of specialists who focus on different areas. We have dedicated teams focused on cybersecurity, IT strategy, data center services, compliance, cloud operations, proactive monitoring, and project management. Rather than generalists, you gain experts at the forefront of industry trends and best practices.


Your choice between Shared Services or Managed Services should align with your organization’s core focus. If you want to maximize control over IT functions and you have the resources to manage them effectively, Shared Services can be a good fit. If IT services and functions distract you and your staff from your primary business objectives, Managed Services can free up your resources. 

How to Choose the Right IT Business Model for Your Needs

So which IT support model is right for your business? Take stock of your company’s specific needs, goals, and resources. Then follow these steps to help you make an informed choice:

Assess your business nature.

Consider your need for control and scalability. Shared Services are for companies that need full control over all support functions, with a firm grasp on plans to grow and the services that come with that growth. Managed Services leaves room for IT to take the backseat in your business’s main objectives and gives you a dedicated team to guide you through your growth.

Consider your budget and financial strategy. 

Shared Services may offer cost savings but require initial investment. Managed Services can provide cost predictability, with options to adjust the bundle and the fee as you go.

Evaluate response time. 

How fast can your existing team take action? If your team requires extra support or experience to tackle IT emergencies, Managed IT Services is the safer, more secure choice that incorporates disaster recovery services to keep your tech ahead of the breach.

Weigh expertise.

How much specialized expertise does your business need to keep it running smoothly, while still ensuring that your cybersecurity remains tight? Managed Services offers 24/7 access to expert support, while Shared Services relies on internal staff (even when they’re not at work!).

Regardless of your company’s size, nature, and objectives, a security breach or data leak could shut you down for good. While it might suffice to rely on your existing team to implement the Shared Services model, a Managed Services model is the sound choice for a sound mind, and for state-of-the-art support from Canada’s most responsive and secure managed IT services provider.

Want to learn more about the difference between Shared Services vs. Managed Services? Still not sure which IT model is right for your business? At F12, we love talking tech. Contact us today.

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