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What is the difference between IT service and IT support?

Every day millions of companies rely on their network infrastructure to run efficiently for a business to work. Because of this, network infrastructures have to be fast, secure and reliable. Most businesses know this so they either build an IT team or look to outsource it to a company like us.

People can get confused however when they see terms such as IT support and IT services and they don’t know which one they should be looking at. In this article, we will describe each area and show the main differences between them.

We will first start by looking at what an IT service is.

IT Services explained

IT Services are the design, implementation and monitoring of a network. You can think of IT services as a proactive method that is used to keep your network running efficiently without having to worry about a problem occurring.

This is often referred to as managed IT services where systems are put into place so your network can be monitored and fixed behind the scenes without you even knowing there was a problem in the first place.

Managed services can be more expensive initially as you have to pay for dedicated resources to monitor and fix these problems before they occur. However, with that said, the initial cost of hiring a managed service provider is often cheaper than the costs of having an entire network down for a few hours.

Depending on the size of your business will depend on the level of service that you need. The benefits of investing in IT services will include having less downtime.

IT Support explained

If IT services are proactive then IT Support is reactive.

IT Support involved you looking for help when something goes wrong within your business. For example, you may not be able to access your server, your files, or your email could stop working.

In this instance, you would get in touch with your IT support company and let them know you have a problem. Your IT Support company will then look at ways of fixing your problem.

IT Support is often cheaper in terms of the initial investment needed and can be paid for in different ways. Some companies will charge a fee per machine connected to a network while others will charge a fee depending on the number of hours used per month.

The disadvantage of being reactive in your support needs is that your network could be down four hours costing you money.

With that said being reactive can be an affordable option for small businesses who don’t have the resources or the need to monitor their network 24/7.

What is the difference between IT service and IT support?

With both definitions above it’s now clear that the biggest difference between IT support and IT services is how problems are dealt with. In a managed service environment resources are needed so that problems can be eliminated beforehand. Whereas IT support covers what happens after a problem occurs.  

Think of IT Support being reactive and managed IT Services being proactive.

IT Support and Services Pricing

Companies that provide IT support and managed IT services will price their services differently. Some companies will hire out their time in block bookings of hours. This is especially useful for those companies who are operating on a small budget because they never have to worry about overpaying.

Other companies will charge per workstation and others offer a pay as you go service but the rates are much more than they would have been if you chose to block book hours instead.

There are benefits and disadvantages to all of these pricing options so be sure to think about and choose the option which suits you best.

Which type of support should you use for your business?

The level of support that you choose will come down to your current situation. If for example your business would be ruined if it went down for a few days then investing in something that could prevent problems from occurring in the first place would make sense to have.  

For some businesses, their network being down for a few hours could cost them hundreds of thousands in profits. If this describes you then a proactive method of cutting down on downtime would be suitable for your business.

If however, you are a small business that doesn’t rely on its computing systems as much and you just need general help here and there you may want to invest in a block of IT Support hours which can be used any time you have problems with your system. This could be worth it to you if you have problems with your hardware or software but they aren’t business-critical or won’t cost you thousands if you can’t use them for a few hours.

If you are still confused as to what option you should take then give us a call or send us a message. We have helped many businesses in the Ottawa area with their IT services and support and we can help you too.

Our IT Consultants have years of experience and can go through your current business setup and recommend the best services to help your business become more efficient and profitable. Call us or send us a message via this website and one of our IT Experts will help.


IT Services and IT Support are terms that are often used interchangeably and when someone mentions support they may be on about managed services and the opposite is also true. However, you now know the exact terminology used within the industry as well as what you should be looking out for when hiring a company to provide you with IT Support and IT Services.