Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs About Managed IT Services

Since the Interplay team officially opened up shop in 2001, we’ve received a lot of IT questions from a lot of people, what you might call “frequently asked questions.”

This page is filled with the most common questions we hear. Most of them have to do with what we do, because
 it’s a little hard to understand sometimes.

Have a question we didn’t answer here? Think you’ve got an embarrassing tech question? Go ahead and ask. 
We’ve probably heard it before – and if we haven’t, we relish the challenge of answering.

The Basics

Managed services in IT, provided by a “Managed Services Provider” (MSP), are one of the leading ways modern businesses keep their IT systems secure from cyberthreats. Typically, managed services in IT include around-the-clock cyberthreat monitoring and prevention, after-hours security patching and updates, and detailed reporting on IT security over a specified timeframe (like a month). Beyond that, most MSPs provide additional services, such as on-site support, business continuity, or software licensing management, but all MSPs are different. It’s best to ask every MSP what they offer.

Check out a sample list of MSP services from one of Seattle’s top, award-winning MSPs.

There’s no such thing as “standardized pricing” for managed IT services because many MSPs intentionally make it hard to understand what they offer. In many cases, comparing MSPs in terms of price can feel like comparing apples and… orangutans. To find the right MSP at the right price for your needs, your best bet is to find the rare MSP that offers all-in, fixed-fee pricing with no hidden costs. When you find that combo, give yourself a high five for your awesome research skills.

…By the way, Interplay happens to offer exactly that combo (plus endless free high fives), so you know where to start looking.

Learn more about MSPs and get a detailed breakdown of how much you should expect to pay them.

The main benefits of managed IT services are peace of mind and lower overall technology costs. Peace of mind because you know that your data is secure from ~99% of cyberattacks (there’s no such thing as 100% security) and because you can call for IT support any time you need it. The lower overall costs often surprise business leaders who don’t realize that data breaches, non-compliance, and business downtime are costly. When it comes to managed IT services, an ounce of prevention is more cost-effective than a pound of cure.

Calculate how much business downtime would cost you if you were hit by a cyberattack or natural disaster.

How to choose

Simply put: most organizations use managed IT services because modern cybersecurity is a pain in the neck. Securing your networks and devices takes constant attention to the most minuscule details on a daily basis. Cybersecurity has high stakes too: even one single missed detail has the potential to let malicious hackers into your systems. Even if you have an in-house IT team to handle your business technology, they might not have the time to painstakingly focus on security day in and day out. Most in-house teams are too busy putting out fires to keep up with comprehensive cybersecurity.

Decide for yourself when you read about the pros and cons of hiring an MSP.

We’re not gonna lie: it takes time and hard work to choose a managed IT services provider – but there are ways you can speed up the process. Start by identifying which IT services you need (such as business continuity, software licensing, or mobile device management), compile a short list of MSPs that provide those services, and then start making calls and taking notes. Handy tips: (1) Call the MSPs that other business leaders recommend, (2) Don’t call the MSPs that other business leaders hate, and (3) start here.

Get the guide to choosing your MSP.

Managed IT services are so important in the fight against cybercrime that, even though we don’t know where your business is, we can assure you that there is indeed an IT company near you. Here in Seattle, where we’re located, there are hundreds of IT companies. As you can guess, this makes it hard to choose the right IT company or managed IT services provider near you – but going local is a smart choice! Local MSPs are often easier to work with than the nationwide providers, so check to see where a managed IT services provider is located before you add them to your list.

Learn more about nationwide vs. local MSPs, so you can decide which you’d prefer.


When comparing managed IT services vs. break/fix, the word you want to keep in mind is “proactive.” Break/fix companies provide traditional IT services: you break your technology, they come and fix it for you. But with the rise of cybercrime these days, malicious hackers make their money by breaking your tech – and it’s not always possible to fix what they destroy. Managed IT services proactively prevent ~99% of breakage and cyberattacks by keeping your systems up to date and secure around the clock. Of course, the best MSPs will also roll up their sleeves and get to work fixing your systems when you need them to, which means that managed IT services providers are often break/fix providers too.

Get the facts about hands-on proactive managed services that include break/fix.

When considering IT managed services vs. staff augmentation, keep in mind that managed IT services provide comprehensive support for all your technology, without you having to lift a finger. Staff augmentation provides an outsourced IT team that your in-house IT team can call in when they need additional help. Staff augmentation is handy when undertaking large, multifaceted IT projects, such as moving to Office 365 or installing a new VoIP (internet phone) system. IT managed services are best for business leaders who don’t have the resources to hire a full-time, 24/7, in-house staff plus additional contractors.

Learn more about outsourced IT in the eBook.

Trying to decide between managed services vs. consulting? Professionals in both focus areas will help you determine the best business technology to support your company’s future, and both will implement that technology for you. Here’s how they differ: Though a consultant typically walks away at the end of an implementation or other engagement, a managed services provider (MSP) will support your company’s IT for years to come, developing a long-term relationship that keeps your technology working well, worry-free.

Find out the 10 things a managed services provider does.

Managed IT infrastructure services provide managed IT services across an entire enterprise infrastructure, including management of communication systems, databases, packed data centers, and usually cloud storage and cloud infrastructure (IaaS) as well. Managed IT infrastructure services providers often employ programmers, enterprise architects, and other extremely specialized IT professionals.

Though Interplay doesn’t offer managed IT infrastructure services, we can recommend some great companies that do. Just set up a time to chat with us.

That Was Simply a Teaser…

Now that you know a bit about what MSPs do for a living and what managed IT services are, you probably have a good number of follow-up questions for us. You may as well get all your questions answered now while this page is fresh in your mind.

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