By Rustom Hiramaneck, General Manager (India, South Asia) at Acronis
The initial rapid shift to a WFH and hybrid workforce generated a number of new business opportunities for MSPs.
The rapid shift in how people work since the pandemic could be considered one of the most critical societal changes in America since the end of World War II. Foundry’s ‘Future of Work’ study of U.S. IT decision-makers found that 94% of organizations adopted remote and hybrid environments during the pandemic. Many businesses continue to experiment and explore their options nearly three years after the general success of those initial moves.
The numbers emphasize that, despite COVID-19 workplace safety efforts winding downward, remote and hybrid workplaces are here to stay. An estimated 36.2 million American employees will operate in those ecosystems by 2025.
The initial rapid shift to a WFH and hybrid workforce generated a number of new business opportunities for MSPs. From creating different and more efficient workflows and processes to scores of remote work-enabling technologies, the move continues to spark greater investment in IT security, risk management and collaboration tools.
However, the move to new work models also brings new security challenges. Those companies must ensure their mission-critical data is safe from cyberattacks, which can be a tall order with threats on the rise. Ransomware purveyors and hackers are also stepping up their games since the pandemic. The average number of cyberattacks and data breaches rose 15.1% in 2021. Security experts expect phishing, social engineering, and ransomware attacks to escalate in the next two years as cybercriminals grow in sophistication and conviction.
In addition, expanded attack surfaces, a shortage of skilled IT security workers, vulnerable networks, cloud-based infrastructures, and employee work habits will play an increasingly more significant role. Those growing cybersecurity concerns must be a focal point for managed services providers.
The MSP Advantage
Considering all the risk factors mentioned above, security-oriented partners are in the perfect position to address the concerns associated with the new workforce. The staffing shifts, along with the shortage of skilled IT professionals, are forcing businesses of every size to outsource that support.
Most organizations simply don’t have the resources to deploy various technologies across potentially large geographies to support a surge of off-site employees. Because of this shift, many decision-makers are looking more favorably at outsourcing.
Of course, MSPs are more than hired guns – many SMBs consider them strategic partners and trusted technology advisors that guide their IT buying decisions and strategies. Furthermore, effectively implementing and supporting complex cybersecurity technologies while helping those companies meet other critical business objectives takes a lot of time and effort. Leveraging a solution provider’s expertise, infrastructure, systems, operational processes, tools, and staff eases their own investment needs.
Reducing Costs is a Priority in the Current Economic Environment
A study by Spiceworks Ziff Davis revealed that amid the difficulties of finding skilled IT talent, companies will devote 18% of their IT budgets to managed services in 2023, up from 15% in 2020. The complexity of remote and hybrid workforce technologies combined with increasing cybersecurity requirements are driving that demand.
In addition, recruiting experienced talent is expensive and time-consuming, with no guarantee of finding the right people at the right time. However, a managed security solutions firm can provide SMBs with those critical skills with a more predictable cost model to make it easier to plan and budget.
Even businesses with an internal IT team can benefit from an MSSP. Those firms can co-manage the technology and security needs, freeing staff members to focus on the organization’s other critical initiatives. IT service providers also typically offer 24/7 support, meaning that if a system goes down in the middle of the night, managers won’t need to wake up employees to address the issue immediately.
Fast response time is especially critical in the event of a data breach. Hackers can get into a network quickly, so having a cybersecurity partner readily available to minimize information loss can save business owners a lot of headaches and money.
When MSPs handle the heavy lifting with IT infrastructure and cybersecurity, SMBs can focus on their core goals with negligible disruption. In addition, experienced cybersecurity providers allow internal IT staff to focus on projects that contribute to sales and profit growth rather than putting out small fires and handling more routine tasks.
An outsourced solution provider will help their SMB clients set up and secure their cloud infrastructure so WFH employees can easily access their resources remotely. MSPs can also assist with technical difficulties and IT-related needs from virtually anywhere.
Many skilled cybersecurity providers train remote workers on the proper protocols and help them understand the technologies, risks, and phishing schemes that could jeopardize their company and personal data.
Future-Proofing Clients Systems
A managed service provider is not simply a “break/fix” repair depot companies call when computers, networks and other IT components fail. MSPs are now a business asset that proactively ensures the clients’ ecosystems are online, secure and performing at peak performance.
Since the pandemic began, the increase in the WFH and hybrid workforce gave MSSPs and managed services providers more opportunities to grow and scale their businesses. Adding new product and service offerings − including cybersecurity-related solutions – drives more monthly recurring revenue and profits.
Leading with data defenses is a smart and lucrative approach. MSSPs and cybersecurity-minded MSPs that protect today’s remote workforce and mission-critical information are also future-proofing their own businesses. The more value they deliver, the greater the opportunities they will come across in 2023 and beyond.
Rustom Hiramaneck, General Manager (India, South Asia) at Acronis
Rustom Hiramaneck has been working as a General Manager (India, South Asia) at Acronis for 4 years. A strong advocate of cybersecurity, Rustom believes in the power of cybersecurity solutions in bringing about digital transformation in businesses.