Managed service and self-hosted are words that get thrown around a lot when discussing procuring an IT solution. Deciding between the two can be daunting. How do you know if you are making the right decision, and what are the implications of both?

Organisational IT decisions are made based upon business goals, the choice to use a managed service or self-hosted solution will depend on this. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer, and ultimately whether you choose to self-host or get a managed service will depend on your business’ unique requirements.

This POV will help organisations understand the difference between self-hosted and managed service, whilst considering the benefits of both.

What is self-hosting?

Self-hosting software describes a type of hosting where organisations install and maintain part of or their entire software estate either on site or in their own cloud. Applications are owned and managed by the organisation instead of a shared service or a server run and managed by a third party.

Self-hosting means businesses have more control over their applications, allowing them to customise to their specific requirements.

With self-hosting, organisations install, administer, and manage software on infrastructure owned by themselves. This could be a server that is on premise, or with a cloud service provider with a ‘bring your own licence’ installation. Organisations are in control of keeping the platform maintained with infrastructure and hardware set up in-house.

Self-hosting can be implemented in multiple ways; on premise, where you do all implementation and maintenance, or on cloud, which is purchasing third party software and infrastructure but you operate this yourself as an organisation. With both cases of self-hosting, businesses are operating and managing the environment without third party intervention to conduct patches or upgrades (without paying extra for it).

Benefits of Self-hosting

Full data control: If your organisation has a skilled IT team doing everything in-house then self-hosting is a viable option. Because all your data is on premise or cloud, you will have full control over your data and no other party will have access to it.

Additionally, businesses will have control of both the front and back end, so they can manage software for your business needs. This lets you manage adapt software for your business growth and allows you to customise your solutions yourself.

Flexibility and customisation: As you are hosting everything in-house, there are no service level agreements or contracts. This means that if requirements change, with the right expertise, you can customise as necessary.

This results in complete control of data processing and storage, allowing methods to be in-line with business policy.

Cost: Although there may be higher upfront costs with self-hosted, the long-term costs are lower. This is because you aren’t paying a subscription to a third party.

Businesses pay for the resources they need when self-hosting, which allows them to be more cost effective. However, self-hosting on cloud requires payment to the cloud provider, even though maintaining the cloud environment is the business’ responsibility.

Managed Services

Managed services are described as the outsourcing of network, applications, security, and infrastructure services through a third party. The managed service providers, depending on the service level agreement, will look after the application hosting, whether that be cloud or on premise, and the associated server management.

Using third party providers allows you to focus on business efficiency as you are fully outsourcing your chosen software. Providers ensure that applications and infrastructure are maintained and kept up to date with patches, upgrades, or extended support.

This differentiates it from the self-hosted approach.

Focus on core business activities

If the goal of an organisation is business efficiency, this option may accelerate the outcome, as managed services take on all tasks and allows teams to focus on core business activities.

Benefits of Managed Services

Cost: Using managed services comes with a subscription-based cost. This cost is based on the business requirements instead of spending beyond what is essential, making your IT costs more predictable.

With managed services you do not need to utilise different teams in-house, as everything is included within the subscription cost, including maintenance and support.

Support: Working with a managed service provider gives you access to expertise and skills you may not have in-house. Vendors will have clear solutions to any issues that arise, give guidance, and provide maintenance.

You get the benefit of a team of experts ready to assist you with any queries so that any issues can be solved in a timely manner.

Avoid downtime: With a proactive approach, venders use remote monitoring and management to diagnose and troubleshoot potential problems before they occur. If this does happen, the managed service vendor will have skilled resources and incident response plans to solve the issue.

This means that uptime is more achievable using managed services.

Reliability: Managed services provide service level agreements that outlines what to expect. This means that using a managed service gives organisations the resources and skills to deliver the services needed.


If you are looking for more data control and flexibility, and have a dedicated IT team in-house, a self-hosted approach would be an option for you. However, if you your organisation is looking to outsource your hosting, want to reduce headcount, costs or have a skills shortage, managed services would be a great option.

When making this decision, consider factors like cost, maintenance, technical support, skills, and business needs. Ultimately the decision between self-hosted and managed service will depend on requirements, resources, and strategy.

Where Responsiv Come In

At Responsiv we host, secure, manage, and develop cloud native solutions to simplify how you deliver technology benefits to your business.

You can use and host the Responsiv Cloud platform through us and our provider, or we can support you on a larger provider like AWS or Azure. We can support you with your self-managed cloud using our team of experts.

Responsiv also provide self-hosted solutions using Responsiv Unity.


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