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Managed service providers (MSPs) fill a valuable role in the business ecosystem. They provide SMBs with a variety of different IT-related services, from infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to network security.
Many of our readers will already appreciate the value of MSPs – running an in-house IT department can be costly, and outsourcing can be done efficiently as most IT problems can be handled remotely. Let’s highlight some of the changes we expect to see in the world of managed IT services.
An increased focus on security
Remote and hybrid work solutions are here to stay. A remote workforce brings with it a number of security concerns that don’t exist in a highly controlled office environment. Users may inadvertently connect using less-secure networks, like their home networks, or improperly configure their networks or VPNs.
As such, our networks have all become more vulnerable – and these vulnerabilities are reinforced by the dramatic uptick in phishing and ransomware attacks we’ve seen lately.
MSPs can address these security concerns in a number of different ways. One MSP, Constant C Technology Group in Winnipeg, has started offering remote work setup packages with comprehensive documents detailing everything a team needs to do to ensure their network is secure.
More MSPs are also offering managed detection and response (MDR) as a part of their cybersecurity suite. Expect more SMBs to contract network security to MSPs as time goes on.
A more diverse suite of managed services
Traditionally, MSPs have been contracted to handle network security, infrastructure procurement, backups, and network efficiency. Essentially, they’ve been a way for SMBs to outsource IT and avoid break-fix models, but their focus has been on network upkeep above all else.
We expect this is going to change in the coming years as more and more SMBs gain experience with the managed service model, and as our reliance on technology continues to grow. One trend we expect to see is customer data being handled by MSPs. This can be as simple as MSPs handling things like GDPR requests, and as complex as using data to improve customer relations and product development.
A focus on MSPs as a green solution
The pressure to provide green technologies and environmentally friendly business practices is growing every day. MSPs can be a valuable ally in achieving climate-conscious business goals.
First, think of MSPs as having economies of scale in networking and other infrastructure. A company that offers IT support in Houston might also offer server space to its clients in and around Houston. This is possible because the company will already have the technical expertise needed to run and secure networks efficiently on hand, and they’ll be able to leverage their space to host servers for multiple companies (whether through virtualization or an abundance of hardware).
Instead of needing to own their own space for servers (and the associated upkeep costs), companies can take advantage of the co-locating and IaaS solutions that MSPs provide. Keeping equipment cool enough is one of the most significant environmental costs most businesses face – by using the infrastructure MSPs have already established, companies will be able to lower their environmental footprint.
More automation from MSPs
We can also expect a push toward automation – and this push will chiefly come from MSPs themselves. The three biggest barriers to automation are often upfront cost, technical expertise, and employee buy-in.
MSPs can address these barriers by finding automation that suits the budget of a business, providing the expertise to implement the automation, and creating guides for employees to make the transition simpler.
These same MSPs are also incentivized to automate elements of network usage and security, both to reduce the chance of user error and to free up time to focus on problems that cannot be automated. In other words, by finding useful automations, MSPs become more profitable – they have to work less when automated systems are doing work for them.
The trends we’ve laid out above are just a few changes we can expect as the scope of Managed service providers (MSPs) continues to grow. We’re excited to see the future of these businesses – growth in this sector seems all but inevitable.