By: Denice Ann Villegas on January 12th, 2023

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The Pros & Cons of Small and Large Managed Service Providers

Managed IT Services

Does MSP size matter? 

People have their preferences, naturally. Some companies like working with large managed service providers (MSPs), while others lean towards the small ones. 

If you have no experience working with an MSP and are still weighing out your options, we can help you decide. While we want to nudge you in the direction of large MSPs like us, Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS), the truth is we cannot deny that there are also benefits that come with working for smaller MSPs.  

We know this because we’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. We’ve been the small MSP trying to one-up our larger competitors. Now that our business has grown and we no longer consider ourselves small, we’ve recognized the difference in our services and how we deliver them. 

You can rest assured that we will be completely objective and unbiased throughout this article as we lay out the pros and cons of both small and large MSPs. Hopefully, this helps you in the process of looking for the right one for your business. 

Pros and Cons of a Large MSP 

Large MSP Pros and Cons

Pros

There’s a lot of relief that comes with partnering with large MSPs because of the following advantages: 

1. Abundant Resources

An abundance of resources paves the way for the best services, and this is something that large MSPs have. They can easily employ experts and procure the necessary equipment to support your business. With these at hand, you can count on their full support when it comes to achieving your goals. 

2. 24/7 Support

One benefit of having a lot of resources is the ability to provide 24/7 support. You will never have to worry about downtime because your MSP will ensure that someone is always available to assist you whenever you need it, guaranteeing smooth operations and secure networks. 

3. Up-to-date Services

Technology shifts fast, and keeping up with these changes is crucial to your business’ success. Luckily for you, this is something that a large MSP can do. They’ll ensure that your systems and networks comply with the latest policy changes and that they’re ready to counter the newest cyberattacks. 

Cons 

Now, with the pros out of the way, here are the cons: 

1. Customer Neglect

We did mention an abundance of resources as one of the benefits of large MSPs, and you would think that would equate to hands-on and client-focused service, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, these organizations are too big. They handle so many clients at a time that some concerns get lost in the cracks and are forgotten. 

2. Break-fix Approach

The break-fix approach is when your MSP steps in only when an issue needs to be resolved. Otherwise, you are left to maintain your IT services on your own. This is mainly due to their large clientele, which also relates to the previous point of customer neglect. And while a break-fix approach can work for some, it isn't ideal for many, as it leaves data and systems vulnerable. 

It’s important to note, though, that not all large MSPs adopt a break-fix approach; some large MSPs that have been in the business for a long time have systems in place to go the proactive route. 

20 Signs that your Business is Ready for Managed Services

Why Choose a Small MSP?

Pros 

Bigger isn’t always better. Small MSPs can also offer unique benefits to their clients, and such are: 

1. Personalized IT Support

One of the main reasons people decide to work with small MSPs is their ability to provide personalized services. This means they can create a program specifically designed to solve your IT needs, ensuring you only get services relevant to your business. In addition, small MSPs are usually local providers who have knowledge of your business environment and market base. 

2. Proactive Management

Small MSPs prioritize prevention, and that’s what proactive management is. They won’t just appear when there’s a problem to be resolved. They will monitor your business to ensure its health and security, mitigating threats and technical issues. Much like their ability to provide personalized support, this is possible because of their small clientele. 

3. Affordable Costs

The services of small MSPs are usually more affordable than their large business counterparts. We understand, however, that some people take this as a sign to be wary because of the assumption that low costs mean low service. That is not the case here. Costs are low because of the first advantage mentioned in this list: personalized support. When you get only the services you need, it only makes sense that costs are lower. 

Small MSP Pros and Cons

Cons 

Now, the cons. 

1. Fewer Resources

The lack of resources from your provider can affect you in different ways. They might not be prompt with their support or not have the service that you need. It is also possible for them to lag behind and not have the most advanced solutions. Moreover, you have to consider that their efforts could be divided once they start taking on more clients. Although this is a great cause for concern, remember that this is on a per-case basis, meaning it does not apply to all small SMPs. 

2. Low Scalability

If your business grows and expands, your MSP should be able to keep up, and this is one issue with partnering with small MSPs: they're easy to outgrow. While this isn’t something you have to worry about at the start, it’s important to keep this in mind, especially if you have great aspirations for your business. 

Ready to Work with an MSP for Your Business? 

So, yes, size does matter. Small and large MSPs have advantages and disadvantages that you should keep in mind when you're in the market for one. We've laid it out on a simple table for easier understanding: 

Large MSPs 

Small MSPs 

Pros 

Cons 

Pros 

Cons 

Abundant Resources 

Customer Neglect 

Personalized IT Support 

Fewer Resources 

24/7 Support 

Break-fix approach 

Proactive Management 

Low Scalability 

Up-to-date Services 

 

Affordable Costs 

 

Here's the thing, though. While size does matter, it's not the only thing that matters.  

There needs to be an account of your resources and IT needs, and the MSP you choose should be able to align with these. It would be best if you also looked for the important qualities that an MSP should have 

And if you want to learn more about hiring small and large MSPs, check out these other articles from our learning center: 

20 Signs that your Business is Ready for Managed Services